Archives

Allen M. Omoto ’82, Ph.D.

Allen was awarded an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation for his passionate dedication to social justice and to bringing psychological science to bear on social policy. Throughout his career, Allen has demonstrated a strong and lasting commitment to social justice and inclusion through his research, publications, teaching, mentorship and leadership. He was APA’s inaugural William A. Bailey AIDS Policy Congressional Fellow. He served on the Committee on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns, chaired the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest, has served on the APA Council of Representatives and has been elected president of Div. 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues) and Div. 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues). Allen has received awards for distinction in education and training (Div. 44) and service (Div. 9), as well as the Western Psychological Association’s Social Responsibility Award. Through his passion, dedication, sense of humor, and the example he sets for integrating his values into his personal and professional life, Allen inspires and leads his students and his colleagues to affect social justice through the science of psychology. He is currently a professor in the Claremont Colleges in California.

Katherine Schantz ’70

Katherine was a featured speaker at WORKTECH 15 New York, part of the international conference series exploring the latest thinking on the future of work and the workplace. Katherine is Head of School at The Lab School of Washington, a private Washington, D.C., school focusing on elementary, middle school, and high school students with dyslexia, ADHD, and other language-based learning differences. Katherine earned her B.A. in economics from K and studied education with a concentration in counseling and consulting psychology at Harvard University. She currently belongs to a consortium of heads of independent schools across the country working to develop the most effective practices and environments for students with specific learning disabilities and ADHD. Her interest and expertise is in learning from neuroscience to develop effective educational practices for students with learning disabilities and ADHD, and fostering an arts-infused educational model. She has spoken at educational and mental health conferences on topics including neuropsychology, learning strategies, executive functioning, and preparing students with learning disabilities for college.

Douglas Behrend ’81

Douglas has been appointed chair of the Department of Psychological Science at Fulbright College, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. He has been a professor at the university since 1989. His research interests include children’s word-learning, learning and sharing of privileged information, and accent preferences. He is head of the WordPlay Lab, the department’s child language and cognition laboratory, and he is the author or co-author of many scholarly articles. He has collaborated with and mentored many students and has been involved in interdisciplinary projects with colleagues in a variety of fields. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and French from Kalamazoo College and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Brandon Faber ’07

Brandon is the new director of community engagement at the Grosse Pointe (Mich.) War Memorial Association. Prior to taking this new position, Brandon was executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra. He earned a bachelor of arts in music and psychology from Kalamazoo College and a master of music in instrumental conducting from the Cole Conservatory of the California State University Long Beach.

Mary Sauer-Games ’83

The American Psychological Association (APA) has appointed Mary to the position of senior director, PsycINFO. She manages the development and growth of APA research databases, while expanding their coverage and uncovering new product opportunities. She also is responsible for the ongoing development of APA PsycNET, the organization’s search platform that seeks new ways of strengthening the connections for students, researchers, and psychologists between the questions that they need to answer and the most relevant information available to meet that need. The APA is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States.

Michael Winkelman ’91

Michael has published a new book: A Cognitive Approach to John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets, part of publisher Palgrave Macmillan’s series titled “Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance.” Investigations into brain function have led to recent remarkable discoveries with profound implications for interpreting literature. Donne, who wrote in the 17th century, was a contemporary of Shakespeare and one of the first Metaphysical poets. He later became a famous cleric many of whose meditations are cited today. For example, “Meditation XVII” from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions includes the famous prose passage that begins “No man is an island” and concludes with “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” Donne’s probing insights, expressed in his unique Metaphysical style, make his amorous verse a ripe subject for cognitive analysis. Winkelman’s study applies recent breakthroughs from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology in order to deepen the understanding of Donne’s songs and sonnets. By applying findings from neurolinguistics to Donne’s work, Winkelman presents a test case for the cognitive interpretation of verse and, more broadly, advances the case of New Humanism.

Siu-Lan Tan, Professor of Psychology

Siu-Lan is a co-author of the paper,”The Influence of Literacy on Representation of Time in Music: An Exploratory Cross-Cultural Study in the UK, Japan, and Papua New Guinea,” published in the November 2015 issue of the journal Psychology of Music. The research was funded by the Onasssis Foundation in Greece and involved fieldwork in various sites in the United Kingdom, Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto), and Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby and a remote region in the Eastern Highlands). The origin of this 2015 study has a distinct Kalamazoo College root–a 2004 study titled “Graphic Representations of Short Music Compositions” published in Psychology of Music. That paper was co-authored by Siu-Lan and K alumna Megan (Bartlett) Kelly ’01, a double-major in political science and human development and social relations. She contributed 250 hours of coding during the summer of her junior year. Also involved in the 2004 research was Professor of Music Tom Evans, who coded a sample of participant responses to check reliability; six K research assistants (Amy Seipel, Sandy Levine, Bradley Miner, Erin Rumery, Angela Kovalak and Christy Peaslee) and the 60 study participants, all of whom were K students. Fast forward some 10 years. “George Athanasopoulos at the University of Edinburgh read our 2004 study and was inspired to extend it to a cross-cultural study,” said Siu-Lan. “He invited me to join the project, and it was exciting to take part in research involving participants in five sites throughout the world.”

Doubles

Associate Professor of Psychology Autumn Hostetter

Associate Professor of Psychology Autumn Hostetter left high school equally interested in the double entendre and the double helix. She loved literature’s exploration of the human condition, and she also loved the precision of science and the scientific method.

It didn’t take long for these seemingly separate strands to intertwine. The epiphany occurred in her freshman-year, first-semester introductory Gen Psych class. “That course revealed for me psychology as the intersection of science and literature,” says Hostetter. “It is a way to study the human condition using the reason of science.”

It wouldn’t be accurate to say she never looked back. After all, she did earn a minor in creative writing along with her major in psychology (at Berry College [Mount Berry, Georgia], a small liberal arts school of some 2,000 students who enjoy the world’s largest contiguous campus [some 27,000 acres—K, by comparison, has 1,450 students on some 66 acres] and who’ve been known to quip the school has a 5-to-1 deer-to-student ratio). As commencement approached, Autumn considered an M.F.A. (as next step to a dual career of writer/writing teacher) or a Ph.D. (as a pathway to becoming a professor of psychology).

Psychology—the double helix of science and literature—carried the day. Autumn completed her Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and began her teaching career at K shortly after. “I always wanted to teach at a small liberal arts college,” she says. Not surprising, perhaps; nor is her academic and research interests: the psychology of language and communication.

What’s the best song ever recorded?
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens.

What’s your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?
“The Ugly Duckling.” The idea that what you are now doesn’t determine what you will be in the future has always appealed to me.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“There are people here who will be very excited to see you.”

What’s your favorite word?
Crock-ah-doddle. My two-year-old son Oliver’s pronunciation of “crocodile.” I like his better.

What’s your least favorite word?
Tepid

What turns you on?
Sunsets

What turns you off?
Guns

What sound do you love?
Silence

What sound do you hate?
Oliver whining

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Being a writer, or something perhaps in advertising, which combines writing and psychology.

What profession would you not like to participate in?
Being on an assembly line, anything monotonous where you don’t use your mind.

What’s been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts learning?
Probably that first college psychology class, discovering that the subject carried the DNA of both literature and science. The professor, by the way, was a truly gifted teacher, one of the happiest, most optimistic persons I’ve ever encountered.

Who’s the person (living or dead) with whom you’d most like to spend a lunch hour?
Amelia Earhart, mostly to learn what happened.

What memory from childhood still surprises you?
When I was 10 my family took a two-week road trip west, driving from Georgia [Autumn grew up in Augusta] to Los Angeles, stopping at landmarks like the Grand Canyon. But mostly, I sat in the back seat reading Babysitter’s Club books that I’d already read.

What is your favorite curse word?
[The word] “badwords” [exclaimed with no pause between the parts]

What is your favorite hobby?
Baking. I love to make desserts.

What is your favorite comedy movie?
Earth Girls Are Easy, a film from the late 1980s starring Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, and Jim Carey. My grandfather makes a cameo appearance in one scene!

What local, regional, national, or world event affected you most?
Probably the September 11 terrorist attacks.

If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?
The question’s udderly ridiculous.

Fierce Devotion

uzieGonzalezWhat a blessing that Kalamazoo College’s 17th president, Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, did not decide to retire a year earlier than she did (her last day on the job will June 30, 2016). Her successor, K’s 18th president (elect), Jorge G. Gonzalez, who currently serves as dean and vice president for academic affairs at Occidental College (Los Angeles, Calif.), may possibly have been ready to make a career change and relocate sooner, but in that hypothetical case his spouse, K alumna Suzie (Martin) Gonzalez ’83 would likely have remained in L.A. Why? Because of her children. Not the couple’s daughter and son (Kristina, a recent University of Southern California graduate who works in commercial real estate in L.A. and Carlos, a sophomore majoring in computer science at Rice University), but instead the kids with whom Suzie works as a school psychologist at the El Monte City School District.

“Adults are more equipped to understand a relocation based on a job change—one’s own or one’s spouse’s,” says Suzie. “But an adolescent may feel it is a violation of the trust we’ve worked so hard to build and share. Last year I had a group of eighth graders with whom I’d worked a long time. I wouldn’t have left them just before they started high school. But this year was fine, so the timing for Jorge’s selection as K’s president worked out perfectly.”

That kind of fierce devotion to the well-being of school aged kids has long been a fundamental element of Suzie’s character. She came to K from Puerto Rico. (Some back story on that fact. Suzie was born in Kalamazoo, shortly after which her family moved to Mexico City and, several years later, to Puerto Rico. Her father worked as an executive for The Upjohn Company and managed company operations in both places respectively.) In fact, Suzie’s first return to Kalamazoo was for her first year at K.

She majored in psychology and earned a minor in political science  as well as her teaching certification. During her career service term she worked with three-, four- and five-year-olds at the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Head Start program. She studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, and for her Senior Individualized Project she taught history at Paw Paw (Mich.) High School. Her SIP experience influenced her decision to earn her Ph.D. in  educational psychology (1989, Michigan State University). “In my high school classes there were so many students with needs that could not be effectively addressed by a classroom teacher,” explains Suzie.

She has worked as a school psychologist in San Antonio, Texas, and in Los Angeles. When she returns to Kalamazoo this July Suzie plans to take a year to assess how busy she will be as K’s “first lady.” But don’t be surprised if she becomes a school psychologist at a nearby district, which certainly will be a blessing for those kids with whom she’ll work.

Like her husband, Suzie is a great sports fan. Soccer tops his list, college football hers. Both are passionate about the Spartans and, of course, the Hornets. BeLight is grateful to Suzie for making time for its “Lighten Up” interview.

What’s the best song ever recorded?
Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of my Life”

What’s your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?
The Little Engine That Could

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“I love that you followed your passion and did well.”

What’s your favorite word?
Believe

What’s your least favorite word?
Can’t

What turns you on?
Living each day to the fullest

What turns you off?
Limits, boundaries

What sound do you love?
Beach waves

What sound do you hate?
Automobile horns

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I originally came to K intending to major in political science.  So I guess a lawyer specializing on educational issues.

What profession would you not like to participate in?
A computer scientist. I don’t have the passion, or probably the aptitude.

What’s been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts learning?
Going to the Grand Rapids United Methodist Community House and being greeted by the smiling faces of the eager Head Start youngsters ready to play and learn during my K career development.

Who’s the person (living or dead) with whom you’d most like to spend a lunch hour?
Lev Vygotsky. He was a developmental psychologist who believed that social and cultural context significantly influence a child’s development.

What memory from childhood still surprises you?
All the moves my family made when I was growing up. For some this may seem counter-intuitive, but I have very good memories associated with changing homes. I think the experience fostered great flexibility.

What is your favorite curse word?
Well, my colleagues at work would probably tell you that the word is “shoot.”

What is your favorite hobby?
Reading. Right now I’m in the middle of a romantic comedy.

What is your favorite comedy movie?
Home Alone

What local, regional, national, or world event has affected you most?
The attacks on September 11, 2001