All faculty in the Psychology Department hold doctoral degrees from a variety of respected institutions. The faculty's primary commitment is to teaching, spending countless hours preparing for classes, running in-class activities and lectures, grading tests and papers, providing other feedback to students, and working with students in office hours. But most faculty are also active in research and community service, and they welcome student partners in these endeavors.
Faculty areas of specialization include behavior disorders of childhood and adulthood, cognitive development, violence prevention in the schools, physiological bases of motivation, cognition, and perception, the use of computers in psychological research, and many topics in social psychology. Within these areas, faculty conduct their own studies, give talks and presentations, and write articles, book chapters, and books. Some faculty are also leaders in different areas of community or public service. Below are some of their recent accomplishments and activities outside the classroom.
Dr. Heather Niemeier gave a talk titled “Evidence-Based Approaches to Improving Long-Term Weight Loss Maintenance” at the Stoughton Area Senior Center in Stoughton, Wisconsin, as part of UW-Whitewater’s Scholarly Scoop (Fall 2019 Lecture Series) on September 20, 2019.
Dr. Tracey Scherr testified on the issue of gun violence and suicide prevention at a public hearing of the Speaker’s Task Force on Suicide Prevention at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on September 9, 2019.
Dr. Naomi Aguiar gave a talk titled “Virtual Characters vs. Inanimate Toys: How Children and Adults Conceptualize Opportunities for Imaginary Friendships in the Digital Age” at the annual Creativity Conference in Ashland, Oregon (July, 2019).
Dr. Barbara Beaver co-authored the article “Faculty and Staff Perceptions of Undergraduate Mentoring” in the journal Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning (August 7, 2019).
Dr. Chris Neddenriep, as academic partner on a Wisconsin Partnership Program Grant ($1,000,000 over 2019-2023), facilitated training of 15 infant mental health consultants who will be working to support early educators in preventing the expulsion of young children from early childcare programs in Wisconsin.
Dr. Tracey Scherr was interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio on June 24, 2019, to discuss adoption and her contribution to the book Adoption Matters. The broadcast can be heard here. Dr. Scherr also served as a panelist in consulting with directors of UW System children’s centers about adoption issues, including developing inclusive information forms.
Dr. Brandon Thomas co-presented “Does Avatar Presence Facilitate Affordance Judgments from Different Perspectives?” at the annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society in St. Pete Beach, Florida (May, 2019) for which he received an Early Career Scientist Travel Grant. Dr. Thomas also published a chapter titled “Information and Its Detection: The Consequences of Gibson’s Theory of Information Pickup” in the book Perception as Information Detection (July 31, 2019).
Dr. Naomi Aguiar (Assistant Professor)
Dr. Aguiar joined the faculty of UW-Whitewater in 2018, after completing her post-doctoral training in the Children's Digital Media Center at Georgetown University. She has a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Oregon, and has a background in children's pretend play, creativity, and media use. She teaches undergraduate courses in Developmental Psychology, as well as general education courses. She also teaches a course in Advanced Child Development at the graduate level. In her research, Dr. Aguiar examines children's concepts of real and imaginary others, including real peers, imaginary companions, and media characters.
Dr. Matthew Andrzejewski (Lecturer)
Dr. Andrzejewski completed his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and received his Master's and Ph.D. from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. His primary interests are in neural plasticity and learning, especially the interaction of dopamine and glutamate. He is also interested in the neurobehavioral actions of drugs, applied behavior analysis, data analysis, and the philosophy of science. He teaches Statistics, Research Methods, and Learning & Conditioning.
Dr. Barbara Beaver (Professor)
Dr. Beaver came to UW-Whitewater in 1993. She earned a B.A. in Early Childhood studies from St. Xavier University in Chicago and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Northern Illinois University. She is a licensed psychologist in Wisconsin and has practiced both individual and family therapy. Dr. Beaver teaches Abnormal Psychology, Psychology of Personality, Field Training, Interview and Psychotherapy Techniques, Family Therapy, and Introductory Psychology in the undergraduate program. At the graduate level, she teaches Psychopathology of Childhood and Adolescence. Dr. Beaver received the UW-W WP Roseman Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011. Her research interests focus on emotion regulation and mindfulness.
Dr. David Havas (Associate Professor)
Dr. Havas came to UW-Whitewater in 2012 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Psychology in Cognitive and Perceptual Sciences. He specializes in language processing and affective neuroscience, and his area of research is in developing embodied theories of emotional language comprehension and of the role of emotions in interpersonal understanding. In his role as the director of the Laboratory for Language and Emotion at UW-Whitewater, he engages undergraduate students in applying behavioral and psychophysiological research methods and tools to a range of research questions in cognitive, affective, and social psychology. David teaches courses in cognitive psychology, the biology of emotion, and research methods.
Dr. Sasha Karnes (Assistant Professor)
Dr. Karnes completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, a Master's degree in Health Psychology, and a Doctorate in Health Science at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee prior to joining the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2013. Her research interests are in disease prevention and health promotion. Specific research activities include the development and testing of web-based programming to increase health behaviors such as physical activity. Dr. Karnes teaches general coursework in psychology, and plans to assist with development of courses emphasizing health psychology.
Dr. Kimberly Knesting-Lund (Associate Professor)
Dr. Knesting-Lund came to UW-Whitewater in 2011. She has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in School Psychology from Indiana University. Dr. Knesting-Lund teaches undergraduate courses in introductory psychology, field training in psychology, and psychology of women. She teaches graduate courses in the foundations of school psychology, behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Her research focuses on supporting students, school completion through the prevention of high school dropout and school-based supports for sexual minority youth.
Dr. Roger Knight (Lecturer)
Dr. Knight is a graduate of the University of Washington, earning a Bachelor's degree in Zoology and a Ph.D. in Psychology. He came to UW-Whitewater in 2006. Dr. Knight's research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms that mediate human color perception. In particular, the focus is on using psychophysical methods to isolate and characterize cone and rod photoreceptor contributions to surface color appearance. A current project uses the Munsell color system to characterize how signals originating from rod photoreceptors affect the perception of surface color. Additional interests include: sensory adaptation, visual ecology, and night vision. Dr. Knight has taught Individual & Society, Research Methods, Undergraduate Research, and is currently teaching Introductory Psychology and Psychology of Perception as online courses.
Dr. Elizabeth Kraemer (Lecturer)
Dr. Kraemer is a graduate of the doctoral program in School Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is also a practicing School Psychologist in Verona, WI. Dr. Kraemer lectures, advises on thesis projects, and is also one of our practicum field supervisors. In 2004, Dr. Kraemer was honored as Wisconsin School Psychologist of the Year.
Dr. James Larson (Professor Emeritus)
Dr. James Larson is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology and teaches part-time. Prior to his retirement in 2011, he was the Coordinator of the School Psychology Program for 21 years. His area of scholarship is school violence prevention. He currently resides in Milwaukee.
Dr. Anna Lindell (Assistant Professor)
Dr. Lindell joined the faculty of UW-Whitewater in 2017 after receiving her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Missouri. Dr. Lindell’s research interests include adolescent and emerging adult development, as well as the transition to adulthood, with a particular focus on the role of parents and siblings in promoting healthy development during these transitions. Dr. Lindell teaches undergraduate courses in developmental psychology and general education, as well as graduate courses on learning in educational contexts.
Dr. Carolyn Morgan (Chair, Professor)
Dr. Morgan came to UW-Whitewater in 1996 after receiving her doctoral degree in Social-Personality Psychology from the University of Utah. She teaches undergraduate courses in personality, research methods, and social psychology and a graduate course in the social bases of behavior for the School Psychology program. Dr. Morgan received the Everett Long Award for the Advancement of General Education from UW-W and a Psi Chi Chapter Award for outstanding teaching in 2010. Dr. Morgan has long-standing interests in intrinsic motivation and achievement motivation. Her current research focuses on identifying the distinct motivational and emotional characteristics of reactance and oppositionality and the roles reactance and oppositionality play in cognitive flexibility and creativity. She is currently serving as chairperson of the Psychology Department.
Dr. Christine Neddenriep (Professor)
Dr. Neddenriep came to UW-Whitewater in 2005 after practicing as a school psychologist in Omaha (NE) Public Schools, where she specialized in the needs of children with behavioral disorders and autism. Dr. Neddenriep earned her doctoral degree in School Psychology at the University of Tennessee. Her research interests include the implementation and evaluation of academic and behavioral interventions in educational settings. Dr. Neddenriep teaches course work in the assessment of behavior and personality, academic interventions, school-based consultation, and research methods.
Dr. Heather Niemeier (Associate Professor)
Dr. Niemeier came to UW-Whitewater in 2008. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She completed both her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral training in Behavioral Medicine at Brown Medical School. Her research focuses on the prevention and treatment of obesity and eating disorders. Her most recent work applies acceptance based treatment approaches to behavioral weight loss. At UW-W, Dr. Niemeier teaches Individual & Society, Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to Scientist-Practitioner Disciplines in Psychology, and Field Training in Psychology.
Dr. Clifford O'Beirne (Associate Professor Emeritus)
Dr. O'Beirne is the founder of UW-Whitewater's Nursing Home Visitation Program in which students may volunteer at nursing homes and senior living communities in Whitewater. He teaches Psychology of Human Adjustment and Field Training in Psychology.
Dr. Elizabeth Olson (Associate Professor)
Dr. Olson is a social psychologist (she earned her B.A. from Winona State University in 1999 and Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 2004), and she teaches Individual & Society, Social Psychology, History of Psychology, and Research Methods here at UW-Whitewater. Her areas of research interest reside largely in legal psychology, especially examining how innocent individuals create alibis, how investigators use alibi information in their decisions of guilt and innocence, and how to reduce mistaken eyewitness identifications.
Dr. Tracey Scherr (Professor)
Dr. Scherr earned her doctoral degree in School Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado, although she is originally a native of Wisconsin. She joined the faculty of UW-Whitewater in 2004 after practicing school psychology in Northwestern Illinois. Her research interests include the needs of children in foster home placements and working with other marginalized populations of students. She also studies the use of Critical Incident Reporting as a pedagogical tool to help university students reflect on their field experiences effectively. Dr. Scherr is active in the international school psychology community. She teaches Introductory Psychology, school psychology courses in both academic and intellectual assessment, and she also supervises school psychology practicum students and interns.
Dr. Dan Stalder (Professor)
Dr. Stalder came to UW-Whitewater in 2004. He has a Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology from the University of Iowa and an M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Stalder currently teaches Social Psychology, statistics, and general education courses. His recent research and talks cover cognitive dissonance theory, need for closure, group-centrism, and social-cognitive biases, in arenas including close relationships and politics. He also conducts research and presents on aspects of teaching, including exam writing and the use of humor, mnemonics, and popular culture in the classroom. Dr. Stalder has a social psychology blog at http://parbsanonymous.wordpress.com/.
Dr. Sandra Street (Lecturer)
Dr. Brandon Thomas (Assistant Professor)
Dr. Thomas holds a BA in psychology from Purdue University Calumet, a MS in cognitive and behavioral sciences from Illinois State University, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Cincinnati. Before arriving at the University of Whitewater-Wisconsin in 2018, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Utah. Dr. Thomas teaches Introductory Psychology (PSYCH 211), Research Methods (PSYCH 216), and Introduction to the Psychology Major (PSYCH 101). Dr. Thomas is the head of the Remembering, Acting, and Perceiving (RAP) lab. He does research on perception, action, and memory with the goal of understanding how people control their actions, the relationship between perception and memory, and how people remember to do things in the future.
Dr. Meg Waraczynski (Professor)
Dr. Waraczynski came to UW-Whitewater in 1992 where she teaches Basic Statistical Methods, Learning and Conditioning, and Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and earned her Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology from Harvard University. She also received post-doctoral training at the Department of Psychology of the University of Pennsylvania and in the Centre for Studies in Behavioural Neurobiology at Concordia University in Montreal. Dr. Waraczynski is very much involved in the Undergraduate Research Program. Up to a dozen students majoring in both psychology and biological sciences work in her lab each semester. Several of her thesis students have published their work in neuroscience journals and presented it at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Dr. Waraczynski's research centers on understanding the neural circuitry of reward mechanisms in the mammalian brain. Her lab is focused on discovering how a structure called the extended amygdala plays a key role in the phenomenon of brain stimulation reward.
Dr. Shen Zhang (Associate Professor)
Dr. Zhang received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and came to UW-Whitewater in 2009 after working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona. She teaches undergraduate psychology coursework such as Cross-Cultural Psychology and the general education core course Individual and Society. Her research examines how socio-cultural factors influence people's attitude and behavior. She is also interested in studying the implicit processing of social information.