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Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman Receives Outstanding Faculty Award

Friday, May 31, 2013
Dr. Stacy Lopresti-Goodman, Marymount assistant professor of psychology, has received the university’s 2013 Robert A. Draghi Outstanding Faculty Award. Presented by the undergraduate Class of 2013, this recognition honors the recipient’s teaching excellence, efforts to strengthen the University community, and commitment to students. It is named in honor of the late Dr. Robert Draghi, who was a professor of philosophy and the former dean of Marymount’s School of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Draghi was known for his teaching passion and ability to engage students. Dr. Lopresti-Goodman, who joined the Marymount community in 2009, is as well. Amanda Caperton, who just graduated with a B.A. in psychology, says, “Her enthusiasm is infectious. She influenced me so much that I switched majors in my senior year!”

Dr. Lopresti-Goodman wants students to be excited about learning. She points out, “In all the classes that I teach, I involve some component of research, and I allow students to pick a topic that they are interested in. I really want to foster their own intellectual curiosity.”

Her current research is on chimpanzees living in sanctuaries to understand the enduring impact that confinement, social isolation, and physical abuse in various settings has had on their psychological well-being. For Dr. Lopresti-Goodman, this has provided another way to give students hands-on experience. “I’ve been lucky enough for the past two years to take students to the Kenyan Sanctuary where they’ve helped conduct observational research on the chimpanzees who live in the sanctuary,” she explains. “By being there, they really learn about the scientific method. And, some students have even presented their research findings at regional, national, and international conferences.”

A number of the students who went to Kenya with Dr. Lopresti-Goodman then lobbied on Capitol Hill for greater protections for chimpanzees in laboratories and the pet trade.

In another line of research, she is working with undergraduate students to examine how humans’ cognitive activities, body size, and physical capabilities influence the performance of everyday activities.

Dr. Lopresti-Goodman has presented her research at academic conferences nationally and internationally and has published in such peer-reviewed journals as Neuroscience Letters, Journal of Biological Physics, and Applied Cognitive Psychology. In 2012, she received the Faculty of the Year Award for Scholarship from Marymount’s School of Education and Human Services.

Dr. Lopresti-Goodman is passionate about her field, pointing out, “I love psychology because it helps explain why we do the things we do and how we interact with the world around us. I want students to enjoy class and see the connections between the content and skills they learn and their lives outside of the classroom.” And, she continues to work with students beyond class hours, serving as advisor to the Psychology Club.

Upon receiving the student recognition, Dr. Lopresti-Goodman adds, “I’m honored to receive this award and hope being acknowledged by the students means they're taking a lot away from my courses."