For as long as she can remember, Jessica has been fascinated by the relationships between mind, brain, and behavior. Because she was interested in both scientific and philosophical approaches to understanding the mind-brain, she studied both psychology and philosophy as an undergraduate. In college she discovered her passions for cognitive neuroscience and teaching, which led her to move to Los Angeles to obtain her Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from UCLA.
A dedicated and committed teacher, Jessica finds great pleasure in explaining to students the wonders of psychology and the awesome beauty of statistics. Currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology, she joined the Chapman faculty in 2013. Jessica thoroughly enjoys communicating her enthusiasm for psychology to Chapman students by teaching courses in Physiological Psychology, Learning, Cognitive, History & Systems, and, last but certainly not least, Statistics in Behavioral Science. Her teaching style is one that seeks to maximize each student’s individual potential by giving them the personalized attention and care that brings out their talents and leads them to success.
Bringing together her two interests, Jessica’s research falls at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and education. Firmly based in cognitive theory and method, her research takes learning principles gleaned from cognitive neuroscience and applies them to mathematics education. Her general goals are to understand mathematical thinking and, ultimately, use that knowledge to improve the effectiveness of math education – in particular students’ ability to generalize their knowledge and transfer it to solve novel problems (problems that cannot be solved by merely executing a previously learned or memorized solution procedure). Recently, Jessica began a line of research that seeks to identify the brain regions involved in mathematics learning, in an effort to better understand the cognitive mechanisms that lead to knowledge transfer in mathematics. Jessica lives in Los Angeles with her beloved Siamese cat, Dagny, and likes to run, hike, and eat desserts in her free time. Her greatest happiness requires proximity to mountains.