The following is a brief interview with Dr. Stacy Wetmore, a new tenure-track professor at Roanoke College. A student assistant was recently able to interview her to learn more about her, her interests, and some cool facts that readers may not know. There’s a picture of a cute puppy at the end of this interview: keep reading to see it.
So, how do you like Roanoke so far? Is it very different from what you’re used to?
So far, I’m loving it!! I’m excited that the semester is underway and I get to teach some really interesting topics. I like that I have fairly small class sizes and I will know all of my students’ names in no time. RC is similar in a lot of ways to where I most recently taught, so now it’s just a matter of learning the little quirks about how about things work here. One thing that is a little different are the class times, so I’m always a bit nervous I’m going to be late!
Where did you go to undergraduate and graduate school?
For my undergraduate (BA in Psychology) and Master’s degree (Experimental Psychology) I was at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. And I got my PhD from the University of Oklahoma. (Dr. Osterman and I actually met there many years ago!!!).
What classes are you teaching right now and what types of courses will you be teaching in the future?
Currently, I’m teaching two sections of the INQ 260 Psychology in the Media, and one PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology. In the near future, I’ll be teaching Cognitive Psych and Research Methods. I will also be developing (over the upcoming years) a new INQ 110, a Memory course, and a Psychology and Law/Forensic Psych course as well.
What are some of your past and current research experiences and interests?
My most exciting research experience was getting to be a Postdoctoral Researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham, England. I hadn’t yet finished my dissertation, but accepted a position overseas to work on a project evaluating the U.K.’s eyewitness identification system/technique. I got to be a researcher, without any teaching responsibilities for 1.5 years and learned a lot of new stuff, as well as did research that could inform policy abroad.
In terms of research interests, Dr. Wetmore explains…
The overall focus of my research examines the intersection between cognition and the legal system. Research that I have been involved in, thus far, has been in three major areas.
The first is research on jailhouse informants. Jailhouse informants are a leading cause of wrongful conviction, yet very little is known about this form of evidence, including how jurors perceive and weigh this information, and if there are effective safeguards against it.
Another cause of wrongful conviction that I have studied are eyewitness identifications. Specifically, my research focused on show-up identification procedures, in which the individual must make a decision from a single face. My colleagues and I found that the show-up was a more unreliable memory test than a more traditional six-pack lineup. I’m interested in developing other procedures or methods of evaluating eyewitness memory in order to make it a more effective source of evidence at trial.
Lastly, related to eyewitness identifications, I’m interested in facial processing and memory in general. Humans are made specially to be able to process faces super-fast and efficiently, however there are still instances when this mechanism breaks down and I’m interested in examining these instances when it falters. For instance, a well-known phenomenon is the cross-race effect, or own-race bias, in which we are better at identifying someone from our own race better than from another race. Although we know the phenomenon exists, little is known about what cognitively could be different in the processing so I want to investigate this issue further.
What are some random/cool facts about you?
- I was a collegiate athlete in tennis.
- I lived abroad for 2 years in England as a postdoctoral researcher.
- Super allergic to 100% grape juice – but can drink the not healthy stuff, wine, and eat grapes… I think this fits under random.
Is there anything else that you’d like to mention?
I have the cutest (I might be biased) 7 month old puppy, Daisy, that I walk around campus every morning between 6-7 (depending on when I can drag myself out of bed) and every evening, so anyone who runs into us is welcome to say hello. 🙂
Thank you Dr. Wetmore for taking your time to answer our questions, and welcome again to Roanoke College! We are glad to have you here (and Daisy too)!
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