WISDOM sciences lecturer at Rice for the past eight years and was awarded a George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 2018 as well as the 2019 Sarah A. Burnett Teaching Prize in the Social Sciences. Top Topics I teach a broad range of topics, including the brain, memory, consciousness, stress and health, interpersonal relationships, personality, motivation, development and many more. I like to show original footage of things like Pavlov’s dogs. I think it’s so cool that we have videos like that. I want to give students the history of the field and I want them to critically evaluate what the current research says. I also like to recreate original experiments in class demonstrations. Sometimes it’s a big hit and sometimes it’s a total fail. And that’s OK, because at least we have a good laugh together. It’s a great way to describe studies, note their limitations and experience how challenging research can be.
The Classroom Clinician
Despina Colette Nicolaou in her own words INTERVIEW BY JENNY WEST ROZELLE ’00
IL LU S T R AT IO N S B Y A DA M C R U F T
A LICENSED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, D. Colette Nicolaou’s academic pursuits are as varied as her teaching style. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in biology and anthropology, a master’s degree in physiology from Georgetown and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Drexel University. Nicolaou then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She moved to Houston intending to be a clinician. While awaiting her Texas license to practice, however, she took a walk through campus and fell in love. She has been a psychological
Making Connections I’ve worked a lot with children and families; that’s how I transitioned into teaching PSYC 321: Developmental Psychology, and I’ve loved it. My teaching style is really about connections — connections between the students and me, the students and the material, and the students themselves. When you make those connections in a classroom, it’s magical. For really deep learning to occur, there must be meaningful change, and I believe this often comes from an emotional connection.
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