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Reflection on the Interview of a Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences

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The concept of mentorship has been proven many times to be both a positive experience for both mentor and mentee. As the first of my siblings to attend college, traveling through the world of academia was often a quite terrifying journey. Throughout my academic career I’ve always considered it important to have someone to look up to. During my elementary years it had been my parents and as I matured my peers began to support me through all my academic endeavors. I was very lucky to have been accepted into the University of Portland and participate in the Honors Program. It was such a pleasure to meet Dr. Brad and to have the opportunity to interview her about her interests and research.

Dr. Louisa Egan Brad, Ph.D, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the University of Portland. She received her Ph.D in 2009 from Yale University and has served as a professor in the University of Portland since 2015. She currently teaches Intro to Psychology, Cognition, and a class called Judgment and Decision Making. The classes in which she is particularly passionate in teaching are cognitive psychology and decision making. Her cognitive psychology class teaches students the study of mental process such as attention, language use, memory, perception, problem solving, creativity and thinking.

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Her interests in how languages can affect memories are especially interesting. She shares that those who were exposed with two mother tongues may have developed a better memory than those who only grew up with one language. Cognition also introduces the idea of irrational decision making and has students question why we do the things we do. Her second course focuses on how judgment affects certain choices ranging from “what brand of cereal to whom to marry.” It dives deeper into defining rationally and the process of “how we encode and evaluate options.” Her research with her undergraduates students and her work with capuchin monkeys have proven her passion towards the psychological sciences. Her research with Tatiana J. Spisz and Chloe G. Tanega, two undergraduate students from the University of Portland, showcases that in white dominated communities the attention towards diversity and inclusion has risen over the past few years. They investigated how one’s generation and political orientation may affect their responses towards situations where “commitments to social justice compete with concerns with abstract liberalism.”

A racial privilege checklist found in airbnb.com, an online hospitality service, has allowed hosts’ to commit racial discrimination against guests. They argue that although a privilege checklist may encourage anti-racial attitudes among the liberal Pre-Millennials, it has received some backlash from the conservatives and moderates. However, given that Millennials have been known to perceive racial injustice sensitively, privilege checks may adhere more reactions than of older generations. Brad and her students subjected five hundred and ninety four participates to complete a “privilege manipulation worksheet”. Their results were as followed: Millennial liberal were generally consistent in their attitudes but Millennial conservatives showed a significant backlash effect, which lead them to endorse the airbnb.com policy. They concluded that one reason behind this result is due to the sociopolitical landscape in which Millennials were brought up in. Millennials have reached a tipping point in regards to white privilege. While liberals are more open to the idea of the White privilege, conservatives are exhausted since the concept is constantly being brought up.

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