Professor Andrea Olson

Professor Andrea Olson has been with us at St. Kate’s for some time now, and she has not only lent her brilliant mind to the psychology department but has been doing some amazing work in the CATIE center. This month we’re featuring Andrea Olson on our blog to celebrate her great work!
Andrea was born in Champaign, IL on December 31st, but grew up in Bloomington, MN! She earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in music at Luther College, and went on to get her Master’s degree and Ph.D at the University of Minnesota. Her Ph.D includes a specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which she describes as “psychology applied to work”. She also completed a supporting program for her Ph.D, which is similar to a minor at the Bachelor’s level, in Counseling Psychology.
The CATIE center, or Collaborative for the Advancement of Teaching Interpreting Excellence, focuses mainly on advanced training and development for American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. Professor Olson has been working with the CATIE center since 2005, as an evaluator of grants awarded to the center. The CATIE center just received two new grants to continue their work for the next 5 years!
Professor Olson will continue to lead efforts of the CATIE center team to design and implement the evaluation, identify key criteria that should be evaluated, create methods to collect data, analyze this data, and then present the results while working with key partners across the U.S., along with their grant foundation: The Rehabilitation Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Education.
Here are a few of the other questions we asked Professor Olson beyond her life as a professor here at St. Kate’s:

Why did you choose St. Kate’s?

Sometimes I feel like St. Kate’s chose me. I did quite a bit of background research before I applied, but after my interview, I just knew this was the place I wanted to be. People at many other universities talked about how they were student-centered, how faculty collaborated with one another, and how faculty are engaged in both teaching and research, but St. Kate’s embodied and demonstrated those key values I was seeking in a different & unique way.

What is your favorite part of St. Kate’s?

The students, my colleagues, collaboration, the St. Kate’s Mission, and the gardens.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy yoga, spending time with family and friends, and being outside (especially at lakes, parks, and up north). I also play in a flute choir with 5 other flautists. We have been playing together for more than 20 years and have recorded 3 CDs.

What is your favorite part of being a professor?

Having the opportunity to be a teacher, mentor and guide for women claiming their educations! I enjoy the variety, challenge, continual learning, and creativity this work demands.

What classes are you teaching/ will you teach here?

I currently teach Statistics, Research Methods, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Sometime in the next few years, I hope to teach Psychology of Leadership.

Where/ what is your favorite place to eat out in the twin cities area?

Indochin on Grand Avenue and Dominguez Family Restaurant in Minneapolis.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

At first, I considered superpowers like flying, being invisible, manipulating time, or power-grading at lightening speed. Those would be pretty cool. But if I could actually have one superpower, I would want the power to ease suffering.
Lauren M. Crepeau ’16
English, Communication Studies, and Women’s Studies

Don’t Miss Out: Summer Counseling Class

Professor Williams-Wengerd will be teaching PSYC 2994: Basic Counseling Skills this summer. The course’s duration will be July 6 through August 8, and will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00-9:30 PM.

The course will introduce core skills of counseling. Such skills include attending, empathy, building rapport, effective responding, goal setting, and action planning. By the end of the course skill strengths and areas for improvement will be identified for future exploration.

The course will be interactive and have triad practice sessions in and outside of class. Alongside readings from the required text and journal articles, students will keep a journal to record their experiences. Students will be graded through two practice videos and one transcribed video.

If a student has any interest in or questions about the course, contact Professor Anne Williams-Wengerd at or (651) 690-6625.

Look for these flyers!

Lauren M. Crepeau ’16
English, Communication Studies, and Women’s Studies

Flipping the Classroom

Associate Professor Jamie Peterson and Amelia Ruedy ’16 recently conducted a study at St. Kate’s in one of the upper division Psychology courses, looking at the impact a flipped classroom had on student learning and rapport.

The study used two classes, one a traditional classroom setting where the professor lectured for 20-25 minutes with PowerPoint slides, followed by a brief learning application activity. The other classroom was a flipped classroom. In this setting the professor turned the PowerPoint slides into online lecture videos, and engaged the students in more lengthy learning application activities during class and lab time.The students self-reported their first two exam scores and completed the Professor Student Rapport Scale (Wilson, Ryan, & Pugh, 2010).

This particular study found contrasting results to previous research. The study found that there was no significant difference in student learning and exam scores between the two different classroom settings. There was also no significant difference in student rapport.

The results suggest that using technology to enhance student learning outside of class time does not detract from forming positive relationships between the professor and the students or student learning.

Ruedy enjoyed collaborating side by side with a professor for this research. She plans on entering graduate school within the next year and believes this research has taught her to look at things from a different perspective. “I also enjoy it because it’s really fun and interesting analyzing the results and gaining new knowledge,” Ruedy says. She looks forward to future opportunities for research in graduate school.


Lauren M. Crepeau ’16
English, Communication Studies, and Women’s Studies

Faculty & Student Proposal Accepted by the APA

Dr. Arturo Sesma, assistant professor in the Psychology Department at St. Catherine University, has submitted a proposal regarding non-cognitive skills (NCS) and academic outcomes. Sesma is collaborating with Paige Embertson ’15, Kelsey Olson ’19, and Dr. Jamie Peterson, associate professor. They will be presenting at the American Psychological Association’s National Convention in August.

The proposal attempts “to explain why some students fare poorly in college despite strong high school and college entrance exam, researchers have identified a number of non-cognitive skills (NCS) that may be as important to student academic outcomes as cognitive ability.” The NCS that Sesma et al. are investigating are growth mindset, belongingness, and grit.

Sesma et al. are attempting to: “1) replicate growth-mindset findings on academic outcomes using an intervention design with students from an all women’s university; and 2) examine whether belongingness and grit moderate any putative differences between the control and experimental groups on academic outcomes.”

They are currently collecting data from the 2015-2016 cohort of first-year students at St. Catherine University.

Stay tuned for photos, and the results will be posted here after the convention in August.


Lauren M. Crepeau ’16
English, Communication Studies, and Women’s Studies