Gretchen Sue Lovas, Ph.D.
Associate Professor | Psychology
The kinds of relationships we build with students here are exceptional. It really gives students a better sense of what it’s like in the field. Psychology is, after all, about relationships and collaboration and discovering things together.
I welcomed the opportunity to come to Susquehanna because it’s a small yet dynamic learning community. Since arriving here, I have felt a special connection with my students, and I find real joy in engaging with them, whether it’s in the classroom or in a research setting.
Every undergraduate student here does a group research project. They come up with their own research question, find measures, recruit subjects, collect and analyze their data, and write up their findings. They often present their work at professional conferences. It’s a remarkable experience for the students. They learn firsthand about the collaborative nature of research and have the opportunity to see a project from start to finish.
As a development psychologist, my current research focuses on early gender development in the context of parent-toddler relationships. I’ve published in this area and have presented my work at annual conferences of the Society for Research in Child Development, the American Psychological Association, and, with student co-authors, the Eastern Psychological Association.
I also teach courses on the psychology of gender and on psychology, culture, and ethnicity. Discussions about the impact of gender, culture, ethnicity, race and socioeconomic status on both individuals and groups within our society and around the world spark tremendous engagement in my students. We are all aware of these issues and want to think the best of ourselves. But through exploration of research and thoughtful discussion, we find that most of us still hold many assumptions and biases that have the power to affect both our own experience and that of the people around us. Sometimes our perspectives change and our eyes are opened, and we begin to see the world in new ways. It’s a wonderful thing to behold—and to facilitate!
I love watching my students grow, year after year. That’s what drives me, every day—the growth of my students into interesting, caring and concerned citizens of the world.
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