Saint Michael's Psychology

Oh, what the mind can reveal!

The psychology major at Saint Michael's will expose you to psychology in its many forms, from neuroscience, to cognitive, to clinical. As a result, you will find yourself studying a diverse array of subjects like addiction, hunger and eating, media's effect on children, sports psychology, or psychology and the law. Our students are frequently out in the field working in alternative school classrooms, mental health agencies, and crisis centers, or back in campus labs researching issues such as the effects of stress on health, or of video-game playing on thinking skills.

Psychology is concerned with the scientific discovery of principles underlying human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The major at St. Mike's emphasizes a thorough development of psychology's critical and analytical tools so that you will become adept at formulating meaningful questions about behavior and at devising valid strategies for answering those questions.

Majoring in psychology will introduce you to a wide variety of specialty areas within the field. Our faculty includes experts on sports psychology, developmental psychology, substance dependence, psychotherapy, and virtual reality. By the time you reach your junior and senior year, you'll have opportunities to apply what you've learned to internships and to research projects. Our Practicum program offers a two-semester internship experience that combines classroom work with in-depth service work at a local community agency.

Psychology Learning Outcomes:

Students should be aware of enduring and contemporary issues in psychology.

Students should be able to integrate the natural science, social science and humanities aspects of psychology and be able to place psychology in the context of their larger, liberal studies curriculum.

Students should be familiar with research design, methodology, statistics, and psychometrics.

Students should be able to think critically about psychological issues.

Students should be able to speak and write effectively in the discourse of the discipline.

Students should be familiar with ethical considerations in research and in the practice of psychology.

Interested students should have opportunities to experience the practice of psychology, either in research or services forms.

Students should be prepared to pursue a variety of post-baccalaureate alternatives in psychology, including employment, graduate or professional school.

Jeffrey Adams, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology

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Saint Edmund's Hall 202B
Box 244
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M.A., Ph.D. University at Buffalo
A.B. Gordon College

Areas of Expertise:

Social psychology of the self, the psychology of religion, and hunger & eating.

Courses I Teach:

  • General Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology of Religion
  • History & Issues: Hunger & Eating
  • Advanced Research Methods (graduate)

My Saint Michael's:

Saint Michael's students are curious, active, thinking students who come to college to learn. I like the opportunities the size of my classes affords me: to have conversations and to get to know my students personally. Among the courses I teach, Social Psychology is a nice balance of theory and application. Students are attracted to the issues we cover, and I get to teach topics of great interest to me, such as social influence and liking and loving.

David Boynton, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology
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B.A., Ph.D. in Psychology, University of Maine
Postdoctoral Training in Quantitative Methods, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Areas of Expertise:

Cognitive psychology, with a specialization in judgment and decision making

Courses I Teach:

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology and Law
  • History and Issues
  • Research Methods
  • Positive Psychology

My Saint Michael's:

There is an unusual quality about Saint Michael's College students, faculty, and staff that was evident the day I stepped on campus for the first time: respect for others and care. Saint Michael's students are smart, engaging, and interesting to teach, and our instructors are devoted to providing quality education and, most important, to getting to know and understand our students. Such reciprocity produces a very special learning environment for students and faculty alike. It's a great place to be.

Renee Carrico, Ph. D

Psychology Department Chair, Associate Professor of Psychology
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M.S., Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst
B.S. Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Areas of Expertise:

Cognitive and perceptual-motor development
Development of representation and attention
Children’s media literacy and interactions with media devices
Developmental resilience in contexts of adverse life circumstances

Courses I Teach:

  • Child Development
  • Children and Media
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • The Thinking Child

My Saint Michael's:

One of the aspects I appreciate most about teaching at Saint Michael's is that its small size and community atmosphere support making meaningful personal connections with students, both in and out of the classroom.

Ari Kirshenbaum, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology, Krikstone Laboratory for the Behavioral Sciences, Pre-Pharmacy Degree Coordinator

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Saint Edmund's Hall 218
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Ph.D. University of Montana, Missoula
B.A. University of Colorado, Boulder

Post-Doctoral Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center
Post-Doctoral Scientist, University of Vermont, College of Medicine

Areas of Expertise:

Animal behavior and psychopharmacology

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Research Methods II
  • Animal Learning and Behavior
  • Drugs and Behavior

Susan Kuntz, PhD

Professor of Psychology
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Ph.D. Syracuse University
M.A. University of Vermont
B.A. Albion College

Areas of Expertise:

Adolescent Development; Adult Development and Aging; Educational Psychology; History and Issues in Psychology

My Saint Michael's:

Saint Michael's students are warm and caring individuals who genuinely care about learning and figuring out ways to make the world a better place. Examining behaviors as psychologists do gives them a critical perspective from which to do this.

While I love all the classes I teach, the one that excites me the most is Educational Psychology because the status of the educational system is such a relevant issue. Everyone has a common experience of school and in this course we examine the learning and teaching that happens in these settings from several different perspectives, including social class, gender, ethnicity, and history.

David Landers, PhD

Instructor of Psychology and Gender Studies

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Saint Edmund's Hall 217D
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Ph.D. Educational Counseling, Wayne State University
M.A., Guidance and Counseling, Michigan State
B.A., English and Secondary Education, Alma College
A.A. English, Auburn Community College

Areas of Expertise:

Bullying, LGBTQ issues, Academic Achievement and Gender, Transition from High School to College, Sexual Assault/Date Rape issues, Alcohol/Drug issues

Courses I Teach:

  • Practicum
  • Men & Masculinities
  • Sports Psychology
  • Theories of Counseling

Other Campus Roles:

  • NCAA - Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR)
  • Chair Athletic Advisory Council
  • Faculty Adviser for the Student Association
  • Faculty Adviser for the Psychology Club
  • Member of the Sports Council

My Saint Michael's:

I have worked here for almost 30 years and love the sense of community and working with so many students both in and outside of the classroom.  I have been so lucky to have formed strong relationships with so many people here over the years and enjoy staying in touch with former students from even 30 years ago.

Ronald Miller, PhD

Professor of Psychology

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Saint Edmund's Hall 202A
Box 244
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Ph.D. University of Vermont
B.A., Oberlin College

Areas of Expertise:

Theoretical and philosophical psychology; psychological suffering (psychopathology);  intensive psychotherapy.

Courses I Teach:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Personality Theories
  • Senior Seminar in History and Issues
  • Introduction to Clinical Interventions I & II (graduate)
  • The Practice of Intensive Psychotherapy  (graduate)

My Saint Michael's:

Saint Michael’s College has been a wonderful academic home for me these past 30 years. From the moment I joined the full-time faculty in the mid 1980’s I was struck by the great intellectual vitality of the campus. The campus was brimming with interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary discussions of the important questions of our time. I was particularly struck by how these conversations often turned to the implicit or explicit moral issues that were at the foundation of whatever topic was at hand- literary criticism, history of W.W.II, lowering the drinking age, or the wars in Central America and ultimately the Arabian Peninsula. Particularly impressive to me as a person who is not a member of the Catholic Church was the wonderful climate of civil discourse that the Edmundite Order had nurtured at the College, and this continues today.  To me these are the key elements of what make for a quality liberal arts education.

Molly Millwood, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology

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Saint Edmund's Hall 210
Box 122
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M.A., Ph.D., University of Montana
B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz
Postdoctoral fellowship, Stanford University Medical Center
Predoctoral internship, San Francisco VA Medical Center 

Areas of Expertise:

As a clinical psychologist, I have expertise in the origins, manifestations, and treatments of psychological distress in human beings.  My particular focus has been in the area of intimate relationships and the ways in which we encounter challenges and struggles as we navigate the rich interpersonal territory of marriage and parenthood.

Courses I Teach:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Advanced Topics in Psychology: The Psychology of Parenthood
  • Personality Theories
  • Practicum I & II
  • The Psychology of Marriage and Relationships
  • Research Methods II

Anthony Richardson, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology

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Saint Edmund's Hall 206
Box 365
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M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara
B.A. University of California, San Diego

Areas of Expertise:

Spatial cognition and human navigation

Courses I Teach:

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Perception
  • Statistics
  • Spatial Perception and Cognition

My Saint Michael's:

At Saint Michael's, the class sizes allow me to tailor the class to the particular group and spend a substantial amount of time discussing projects with each student on a daily basis. I teach a course called Spatial Perception and Cognition. This class is primarily based on discussing previous research and designing and conducting new experiments to build on previous work. We get to tackle problems that have never been addressed before and make new discoveries. This is immensely rewarding for my students and me. Students are able to use my state of the art immersive virtual reality (VR) lab. The immersive VR system allows users to experience 3D environmental simulations through a Head Mounted Display, and the system also incorporates head orientation and body tracking. Movement is natural and the sense of being inside another world compelling. Such systems are typically found only in larger research institutions.

Melissa VanderKaay Tomasulo, PhD

Director of the Neuroscience Program, Associate Professor of Psychology

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Saint Edmund's Hall 216
Box 381
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Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, Specialization in Health Psychology, The Ohio University
M.S., Experimental Psychology, Specialization in Health Psychology, The Ohio University
B. A. Psychology, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio

Areas of Expertise: 

Psychology of health and illness, in particular the acute and chronic effects of stress on the brain and body; behavioral medicine including the biological, psychological, social, and behavioral moderators of disease pathogenesis.

Courses I Teach:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychology of Health and Illness
  • Statistics and Research Methods II

Grant-funded research opportunities are available to our students during the academic year or over the summer. Many of our students are invited to national academic and professional conferences to present their work. For one recent project, two students and a faculty member used virtual reality simulations to examine how people learn and remember new places. Their work was published in the prestigious journal, Computers in Human Behavior. Another project analyzed how stress may affect the immune response in occasional cigarette smokers.

Practice through Practicum

Our Practicum program is a unique internship opportunity spanning the fall and spring semesters.  Practicum combines classroom work with 8-10 hours of work a week at a local community agency.  The two-semester commitment affords the agencies the ability to give students greater client responsibility and a more in-depth service experience. Some of the sites our students intern at include:

  • Rockpoint (an alternative high school)
  • Day One (an outpatient alcohol/drug treatment program)
  • The Howard Center (Comprehensive Care Program)
  • Winooski School District (High School)
  • Woodside (a juvenile correctional institution)
  • Department of Children and Families
  • Outright Vermont (support services for LGBTQA youth
  • Women Helping Battered Women

Conduct Research

Research experiences are available in a variety of forms and settings.  Opportunities are available to work with faculty on projects in areas such as pro-social/helping behavior, marriage and relationships, cognitive illusions and biases, behavioral neuroscience, health, psychology of religion, impulsivity, geographic navigation, and cross-cultural studies.

Work in Multiple Lab Facilities

We have three different laboratories:

  • Observational Lab
  • Animal Lab
  • Psychophysiology/Virtual Reality Lab

Present Your Research

Saint Michael’s psychology students present their research at professional meetings and conferences such as the American Psychological Association’s national meeting, regional meetings of the Eastern Psychological Association and the New England Psychological Association, and to scientists at NASA facilities.

Become Inducted as a Member of Psi Chi

Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology, has a chapter at Saint Michael’s. Membership is open to graduate and undergraduate students who have completed at least 4 semesters and 16 credits in psychology with a 3.5 GPA overall, and a 3.6 GPA in psychology.

Participate in the Psychology Club

Our Psychology Club was formed in 2005 to provide all students with opportunities to learn more about psychology.  The club sponsors educational workshops which cover a wide variety of topics ranging from “what do school counselors do and how do you become one?” to “NGI – not guilty by reason of insanity - who determines this?” The student-run club raises money to support causes in areas such as autism research.

After graduation, our majors go on to careers like:

  • School Psychologist
  • College Counselor
  • Health Psychologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Living Skills Specialist
  • Police Officer
  • Addictions Counselor
  • Youth Worker

Our psychology program builds a foundation of useful knowledge and thinking skills that will prepare you to pursue a wide variety of positions, such as case managers, crisis counselors, research assistants, probation officers, resource counselors, and many more.

Our major also prepares you to enter diverse psychology graduate programs that train individuals for careers from licensed psychologists to university researchers. Many of our graduates enter into various psychology fields including:

  • clinical
  • cognitive or experimental
  • counseling
  • developmental
  • educational or school
  • industrial or organizational
  • physiological
  • social
  • health
  • behavioral neuroscience

Go for a Master's in Clinical Psychology

In addition to the undergraduate psychology program, Saint Michael's offers a master's degree in Clinical Psychology. Opportunities are available for advanced undergraduate students to take courses in the graduate program and to earn credits toward their graduate studies.

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