Leaders in Their Fields

One of the primary reasons Penn State is so highly regarded and immediately recognized around the world is the caliber of its faculty. Our professors and instructors are experts in their disciplines and fields of practice, and you'll benefit from their years of experience. Whether they are teaching online or in the classroom, they are dedicated to the highest standards of instruction.

The faculty also understand that you may have competing demands on your time — a full-time job or family responsibilities — and they can work with you to make sure you are getting the most from your Penn State education while still meeting your other commitments, giving you the confidence you need to take the next step in life.

And you don't need to worry about office hours or scheduling appointments; you'll have many opportunities to interact with your instructors through email and chat rooms, and over the phone.

Penn State's faculty members in the College of the Liberal Arts are committed to creating a first-class learning environment for their students, no matter where in the world they are.

Julie Brunson

Ph.D., Social Psychology, University of Houston
M.A., Psychology, University of Houston
B.A., Psychology, Ball State University

Dr. Julie Brunson is an instructor for the Department of Psychology. Her research interests center around close relationships, social cognition, body image, and health.

Rodrigo Cardenas

Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology, Michigan State University 
M.A., Anthropology, Michigan State University 
B.A., Anthropology, Universidad Austral de Chile

Dr. Rodrigo Cardenas studies how evolution has shaped human cognition to aid social behavior. He examines how people use facial and vocal cues to make decisions about how to interact with conspecifics, and how these processes are regulated by neuroendocrine systems. He also studies how cognition supports parental and alloparental care, how infants have evolved the capacity to solicit care, and how cognition is tuned to detect, encode/store, and process care soliciting information. He has taught Introductory Psychology, Research Methods, Cognitive and Social Psychology, Cognitive Development, and Learning and Memory.

Richard Carlson

Ph.D., Psychology, University of Illinois

Dr. Richard Carlson studies the conscious control of skilled mental activity. His recent research focuses on the roles of emotional valence and cognitive load in control of mental activities, and on the monitoring of control. Examples include factors affecting how much we feel in control moment by moment, and how we judge our confidence in our performance. Dr. Carlson is coordinator of Penn State World Campus' Psychology program, and teaches the internship course (PSYCH 495). Learn more about PSYCH 495.

Brian Crosby

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Brian Crosby has been teaching for Penn State World Campus since 2010. His interests focus primarily in the areas of clinical psychology and child/adolescent development. He was responsible for developing Child Psychopathology (PSYCH 476) for the World Campus psychology program. Dr. Crosby's research focuses on sleep in children, including the importance of sleep for the emotional and behavioral functioning of children and the well-being of families.

Khytam Dawood

Ph.D., Psychology, Northwestern University

Dr. Khytam Dawood has particular expertise in the fields of human sexuality and childhood gender identity, and the treatment of adolescent eating disorders, women's mental health, and marital/couple's therapy. She also runs a research lab where she conducts family and twin studies on the behavior genetics of sexual orientation and gender identity. She has regularly taught courses in psychology, such as Human Sexuality, Introduction to Clinical Psychology, and Introduction to Abnormal Psychology.

Alicia Drais-Parrillo

Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State
M.S., Family Resources, West Virginia University
M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, West Virginia University
B.A., Interdepartmental Studies, West Virginia University

Dr. Alicia Drais-Parrillo's interests are diverse and encompass several domains. She began her graduate studies intrigued by brain development, kinesiology, language development, and reading skills. Subsequently, her curiosity shifted to social development and parent-child interactions.


Michelle F. Guthrie Yarwood

Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, Program: Social Psychology, Texas Tech University
M.S., Psychology, Shippensburg University
B.S., Fashion Merchandising, University of Delaware
Business Administration, Marketing, University of Delaware

Dr. Michelle F. Guthrie Yarwood's teaching interests include social psychology, personality psychology, human emotion, close relationships, social/personality development, applied social psychology, and positive psychology. Her research interests focus on close relationships, including love styles, online dating, respect, and the human-pet relationship. Additional research interests include the effectiveness of teaching strategies on learning, and the relationship between personality and various constructs (i.e., parenting styles, artistic drawings).

E. Christina Ford

Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of California Los Angeles 
M.A., Developmental Psychology, University of California Los Angeles 
M.A., Counselor Education, Penn State
B.S., Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. E. Christina Ford's academic focus is on cognitive development. She is particularly interested in how children learn about math and how teachers learn about their students.

Cathleen Hunt

Ph.D., Psychology, University of Arizona
M.A., Psychology, California State University at Sacramento
B.S., Psychology, University of California, Davis

Dr. Cathleen Hunt teaches courses in Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology, as well as Introduction to Learning Psychology and Introduction to Developmental Psychology.

Melissa Hunter

Ph.D., School Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi 
M.A., School Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi 
B.A., University of Central Arkansas

Dr. Melissa Hunter is a licensed psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania, with more than 10 years of experience working with children with developmental and behavioral disorders and their families. She has been teaching at Penn State since 2012, and has taught such courses such as Child Psychopathology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Senior Seminar in Psychology.

Beth LeBreton

Ph.D., Purdue University 
M.S. Illinois State University

Dr. Beth LeBreton has been teaching psychology for almost 15 years. She has also worked as a social worker, career counselor, and therapist. Her research interests include adolescent development and adult development and aging.

Jeffrey M Love

Ph.D., Applied Biopsychology, University of New Orleans   
B.S., Psychology, Ohio State University

Dr. Jeffrey Love's research interests include neuropsychology and emerging adulthood. He has contributed to a New Orleans research team focused on improving malingering detection sensitivity through refining the criteria and validating markers. His interests have also involved studying frontal lobe deficits, such as those occurring after TBI. More recently, Dr. Love has shifted to investigate emerging adulthood. Here, he seeks to examine the application of several adolescent concepts to emerging adulthood, to determine their potential relevance to this conceptually new developmental time period.

Anthony J. Nelson

Ph.D., Social Psychology, Penn State
M.S., Social Psychology, Penn State
B.S., Psychology, State University of New York at Cortland

Dr. Anthony J. Nelson is an assistant teaching professor of psychology. He teaches courses in social psychology, positive psychology, research methods, and statistics. He runs the Online Social Perception Lab, an all-online psychology lab giving World Campus students an opportunity to practice psychological research. Additionally, he is an adviser for Active Minds at Penn State World Campus, an organization dedicated to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. Dr. Nelson's research focuses primarily on the role that social cues (e.g., gender, race, emotion) play in moderating perceptions.

Nicolas Pearson

Ph.D., Psychology, Penn State
M.S., Psychology, Penn State
B.S., Psychology, Penn State

Dr. Nicholas Pearson, an assistant teaching professor in psychology, teaches resident instruction courses at the University Park campus and online courses through Penn State World Campus. His main area of interest is in social psychology addressing issues of social justice.

Andrew Peck

B.A., Psychology, Villanova University 
M.S., Cognitive Psychology, Penn State
Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology, Penn State

Dr. Andrew Peck is one of the co-authors of Introductory Psychology and author of Psychology as a Science and Profession. He is a teaching professor and associate director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Psychology; he is also director of the PRISM (Penn Staters Researching Interventions for Social Misconduct) research group. Dr. Peck has worked as an educational software designer and consultant. He has been recognized by a number of student organizations, and featured in Penn State videos and local newspaper stories.

Melissa Plaufcan

Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, University of Akron 
M.A., University of Akron
B.A., Psychology, University of Akron

Dr. Melissa Plaufcan is an assistant teaching professor of psychology and a licensed psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania. Her teaching interests include clinically focused courses, such as Abnormal Psychology, in which she can incorporate her experience working with a variety of individuals with mental illness to illustrate course concepts. She has also taught a variety of Penn State World Campus courses including Psychology as a Science and Profession, Introduction to Well-Being and Positive Psychology, Advanced Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Psychology of Fear and Stress.

Amie Skattebo

Ph.D., Psychology, Penn State
M.S., Psychology, Penn State

Dr. Amie Skattebo is an assistant professor in psychology. Her area of emphasis is industrial and organizational psychology, with specific interests in organizational climate, change, and appraisal. She has been teaching since 2003, full-time since 2009. While teaching is her main passion, Dr. Skattebo has completed a number of consulting projects as a subcontractor with a local consulting company, and she offers a balanced scientist-practitioner approach in her instruction.

Lisa Stevenson

M.S., Cognitive Psychology, Penn State 
B.S., Psychology, Penn State

Lisa Stevenson typically instructs Introduction to Psychology and Psychology as a Science and Profession. Her current research interests include prospective memory (remembering or forgetting to carry out intentions at a future time) and metacognition.

Josh Wede

Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology, Purdue University 
M.S., Cognitive Psychology, Purdue University 
B.S., Psychology and Animal Science, Iowa State University

Dr. Josh Wede, an instructor of psychology, regularly teaches Introduction to Cognitive Psychology. His current research looks at student study habits and ways to improve learning in the classroom environment.

Jason Williams

Ph.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Central Michigan University
M.A. Industrial/Organizational Psychology, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
B.S., Psychology, B.A. English Literature, University of Pittsburgh 
AAS Occupational Therapy, Pennsylvania College of Technology 

Dr. Jason Williams, as an educator and industrial-organizational psychologist, attempts to bring the science of psychology into the classroom and the workplace in order to make science accessible and useful. He actively works to narrow the gap between science and practice and places a strong emphasis on critical thinking and applied learning. In this way, students can gain a deeper understanding of material, allowing them to use most effectively what they are learning as individuals, employees, and leaders. His areas of greatest interest are selection, personality, motivation, and leadership.

David J. Wimer

Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, University of Akron
M.A., Social Psychology, Miami University (Ohio)
B.A., Psychology and English Literature, Ithaca College

Dr. David Wimer enjoys teaching clinical-oriented courses such as Abnormal Psychology and The Psychology of Adjustment; his clinical experience enhances his teaching (and vice versa). He is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. Dr. Wimer's main research interest is the psychology of men and masculinity, and he is a manuscript reviewer for several masculinity journals. He has also published research on the teaching of psychology and the psychology of humor. Dr. Wimer is interested in George Kelly's A Theory of Personality: The Psychology of Personal Constructs, and has published in the Journal of Constructivist Psychology.

Judi Withrow

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 
B.A., Psychology, University at Buffalo

Dr. Judi Withrow's research has primarily focused on examining anxiety in youth. She also has an interest in examining treatment outcomes in children and adolescents. In addition to conducting research, she has a great deal of clinical experience within a variety of setting (e.g., hospital, family medical practice, and outpatient clinic). Dr. Withrow has taught several psychology courses with a focus on clinical issues (e.g., Abnormal Psychology, Child Intervention, Health Psychology, and Positive Psychology).