Dr. Alicia Askew

Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair
Office location:  Harrington-Peachtree building, Room HP-123
Office phone:  864.833.8345
B.S., Presbyterian College
M.S., Ph.D., University of Georgia

Teaching fields:

Behavioral Neuroscience, Experimental Design, and Psychopharmacology.

Research interests:

Behavioral neuroscience, behavioral pharmacology, behavioral and neurobiological components of social defeat

I joined the faculty in 2004 as an experimental psychologist specializing in the area of behavioral neuroscience, the study of the biological basis behavior and mental processes. I graduated from PC with a B.S. in Psychology and completed my M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology in the Neuroscience and Behavior program at University of Georgia. I feel very fortunate to return to PC as a faculty member. It is a pleasure to teach our enthusiastic students and to work with such talented and dedicated colleagues.

Most of the courses that I teach are closely related to my area of specialization. I teach Physiological Psychology, Drugs and Behavior, Experimental Study of Behavior, and Introductory Psychology. I’m considering offering a few new courses in the near future…maybe Hormones and Behavior?

My current research interest is the investigation of the social memory of defeated male Syrian hamsters.  This line of research has led to the construction of a new apparatus to assess memory of the defeat experience and the automation of data collection.  My future plans include investigating the neurobiology of learned avoidance in defeated hamsters. I actively encourage students to participate in research and welcome students to join my research projects.  Students are also encouraged to present their research at our Honors Day Symposium and regional conferences. I think what I enjoy most about research is the interaction that I have with the students. I love being part of this hands-on learning experience that allows students to apply what they have learned and to build self-confidence.

My husband (Fernando) is a retired psychology professor and researcher, so much our “downtime” includes discussing teaching and research.  It’s a lot more fun than it may sound!  Our son, Matthew, attends middle school in Clinton.  Fernando, Matthew, and Moxie (our four-legged child) keep me busy and extremely happy.

Our students quickly learn that student-faculty interactions and relationships are very important to our department members.  If you have any questions about the major or about PC, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Dr. Sarah C. Burns

Associate Professor of Psychology
Office location: Harrington-Peachtree building, Room HP-115
Office phone: 864-833-8349
B.S., Presbyterian College
Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Research field:

Experimental psychology with a concentration in learning and cognition

Teaching fields:

Introductory Psychology, Experimental Study of Behavior, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, Tests and Measurements, Principles of Learning and Behavior, and Cognition

I am a graduate of Presbyterian College, class of 2001.   It was on this campus that I discovered my interest in psychology, and in experimental psychology in particular. After my graduation from PC, I completed a Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  In 2011, I joined the faculty here at PC.I am honored to continue the tradition of excellent preparation for careers or graduate work that our department provides.

I am the experimental psychologist in the psychology department, but that is a bit of a misnomer.  I teach the basic experimental courses (statistics and experimental study of behavior), but all of the full-time faculty members are considered experimental psychologists within their fields of expertise.  It is probably best to describe me as an experimental psychologist in the broad sense, because designing and implementing experiments in the field is my strongest interest, regardless of area within the discipline.

My approach to teaching is to explain the topics in a relatable, understandable way and to constantly make ties to what the students are experiencing outside the classroom.  I tie in current events and other fields of study, which is a particularly simple task given the nature of psychological phenomena.  There are examples everywhere!  I like to joke that students love psychology courses so much because it’s a whole subject about who they are and what they are experiencing, and who doesn’t like learning about themselves?

Nothing makes me more excited to come to work than an inspired student with a research idea.  I love to explore research ideas with a student, develop those ideas, and eventually bring the idea to fruition in the department.  The research process shows the students that science doesn’t have to be intimidating or daunting, and also shows them that they have the skill set necessary to thrive in graduate work or in the workplace.

When I am not at PC, I am usually busy with my husband and daughter.  We live in Greenville, just up the road from PC.  I enjoy cooking, hiking, gardening, and raising our small flock of chickens.

If you are interested in psychology, our department, or experimental research, please feel free to contact me via email, phone, or just drop by!

Dr. Jay L. Michaels

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Office location: Harrington-Peachtree building, Room HP-124
Office phone: 864.833.8350
A.A., Brevard Community College
B.A., B.S., University of Central Florida
M.A., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University

Teaching fields:

Experimental Study of Behavior, Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology, Systems and Theories of Psychology

Research interests:

Social psychology and data analysis/statistics

I am the social psychologist in the Presbyterian College Psychology Department, and joined the faculty here in 2012. The liberal arts have been a continual foundation in my own academic journey. I completed my A.A.  degree at Brevard Community College (now Eastern Florida State College) before completing my B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in History at the University of Central Florida. I finished my M.A. and  Ph.D. at Florida Atlantic University, situated only a couple of miles away from the beautiful South Florida beaches.

Social psychology is my primary area of specialization in both teaching and research. I am particularly interested in dynamic processes that influence people’s social behavior. That is, what factors interact and change over time to directly or indirectly influence the thoughts, feelings, and actions people experience or chose to engage in?

I teach Social Psychology, Systems and Theories of Psychology, Experimental Study of Behavior, and Introductory Psychology. My teaching is inspired by the liberal arts model. Instead of framing psychology as a narrow, specific field I instead try to teach my students about how psychology has important connections with nearly all fields, topics, and daily life. After all, psychology is the study of behavior, and our behavior is a continual part of daily life.

I welcome student involvement in research and independent study projects. Since social psychology is a broad field that encompasses topics ranging from group interaction to motivation to personality, I can offer guidance with numerous specific topics. I have supervised student research pertaining to human conflict, self-esteem, and even sports psychology. I have presented research at many of the leading psychology conferences, including the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference and the annual Association for Psychological Science convention. I am always interested in motivated students who seek to develop high quality research that they may present at a conference or even try to publish.

Outside of teaching and research, I am a co-advisor for Presbyterian College’s Psi-Chi chapter (the national psychology honor’s society). Beyond psychology, I am interested in meteorology, astronomy, mathematical models, history, art, and hiking.

If you are interested in social psychology or would like to communicate with me about the psychology program here at Presbyterian College, please feel free to contact me. I greatly welcome your email, phone call, or office visit.

Dr. Brooke C. Spatta

Associate Professor of Psychology
Office Location: Harrington Peachtree, Room 114
Office Phone: 864.833.8280
B.A., M.S., Ph.D, Florida Atlantic University

Teaching Fields:

Child Psychology, Adolescent Psychology, Psychology of Adulthood and Aging, and Educational Psychology

Research Interests:

Attachment, Self-Esteem, Bullying, and Gender Identity in Pre-adolescents

I am the developmental psychologist here at Presbyterian College and I joined the faculty in 2007. I am a South Florida native and received by B.A., M.A., and Ph. D. from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.

Teaching is my true love, and there is no greater privilege than being able to teach others about my greatest passion, psychology.  I left my home state of Florida and came to Presbyterian College because of its focus on great teaching.  The small class sizes at PC give me the opportunity to connect with every student in my class on a personal level that would not be possible at a larger institution and the lasting relationships built with my students are priceless.  I enjoy advising students throughout the year and assisting in class selection, choosing a major, and applying to graduate school.

In addition to teaching, I am also an active researcher. My research focuses on attachment styles in middle childhood and the relations between dimensions of gender identity and children’s social adjustment. I have recently started to study the students in the CHAMPS program (Communities Helping, Assisting, and Motivating Promising Students) here at PC along with two undergraduate research assistants during the summer.  I also supervise undergraduate student research throughout the school year on various topics related to adjustment in childhood and adolescence.  I thoroughly enjoy working with students on their projects and supporting the next generation of researchers.

Outside of the classroom, I am involved in several activities around campus and in the community.  I am the co-advisor for PC’s chapter of Psi Chi (the international psychology honor society), Academic Advisor for ZTA sorority, and I am on the board of directors of the Laurens County Humane Society.  When I am not at school or volunteering, I enjoy spending time with my husband (who also happens to work at PC) and our two young children.

I truly enjoy every aspect of teaching, advising, and research and it is my goal to offer inspiration and encouragement to the psychology students at PC every semester.  If you have any questions about our psychology program or about PC in general, please feel free to call/email me or stop by my office any time. I look forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Ann B. Stidham

Adjunct Professor and Emeritus Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology
Office Phone: 864-833-8270
B.S., Muskingum College
M.A., Northwestern University
Ed.D., University of Tennessee

Dr. Stidham is the clinical and counseling psychologist in the Presbyterian College Psychology Department. With her extensive experience and background, Dr. Stidham brings infectious enthusiasm and expertise to her coursework and to the department.

She is a licensed Counseling Psychologist and a Licensed Psychoeducational Specialist. Dr. Stidham is a Diplomat of the American Psychotherapy Association and a certified Cognitive-Behavioral therapist.

She earned her doctorate in 1966 from the University Of Tennessee, her Masters from Northwestern University and her Bachelors from Muskingum University.

In the decade following her doctoral work, she was a stay at home mom. Since 1979 Dr. Stidham has been a Professor of Psychology at Presbyterian College. Her passion for education is reflected by being named Outstanding Professor in the Southeast, the SC Distinguished Professor Award, and the Charles E. Dana Professorship in Psychology Award. She is also the recipient of numerous awards from Presbyterian College. In addition to her position at Presbyterian College, Dr. Stidham has practiced in a variety of settings including Laurens County and Newberry County Schools, Thornwell School, Presbyterian College Counseling Center, LCHCS Employee Assistance, Disabilities Office at Presbyterian College, Family Healthcare and private practices in Greenville and Clinton.

If you have any questions about the psychology program or about PC in general, please feel free to contact Dr. Stidham.