In reflecting on my own experiences as a student, the instructors that I valued most were those who were invested in and knowledgeable of the material and whose enthusiasm for the material, the field, and their students' learning was apparent in their lectures and my interactions with them. I try to provide a similar experience to my students in my own teaching and instruction.
One of my aims when teaching is to encourage students to consider how the material is meaningful for their own lives, beyond their attainment of a course letter grade. My courses center on development, so students may find some of the material useful for their current or future lives. For instance, in developmental psychology we cover topics like how a person's unique temperament or personality can influence the course of his or her life and what a developing fetus can hear, taste, and sense by touch while in the mother's womb. I try to encourage students to think about the ways in which behavioral, biological, social, cognitive, and cultural processes interact to shape our lives as we grow and develop. As an example, in what ways might an infant's social world change as he or she gain motor skills, such as moving from crawling to walking?
I find the science behind psychology exciting and think it is important for students to understand how research designs and methods can be utilized to answer questions of interest. For example, how can we learn about what a young infant knows, given that he or she cannot yet form words and sentences? Regardless of whether my class is the first or the last psychology course they take, I want students to leave the course with an understanding of the field as a science and the creative methodologies that are sometimes required when studying human behaviors and thoughts.
Child Development (PSYC 029)
Developmental Psychology (PSYC 129)
Adolescence and Young Adulthood (PSYC 131)
Infant Development (PSYC 193)
My research centers on social and emotional development in the infant, toddler, and preschool age periods. More specifically, my research examines how child temperament (child unique behavioral and emotional styles) interact with parent factors, such as parents' behavioral styles, to promote or hinder children's adjustment in social, emotional, and academic domains. I am especially interested in the child developmental outcomes and parenting behaviors associated with temperamental shyness or inhibition.
I grew up in Pennsylvania (about an hour outside of Philadelphia), and also spent a significant portion of my life in Arkansas. I received my B.S. in psychology from Lebanon Valley College, a small liberal arts school located in central Pennsylvania, and my M.S. and Ph.D. in Life-Span Developmental Psychology from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. I moved to California after finishing graduate school in 2011. I spent two years lecturing at San Jose State University and doing research and lecturing at UC Davis before starting at the University of the Pacific in 2013.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband at home or while traveling, and with friends on the soccer field. I enjoy reading when I have time - Jane Austen is currently my preferred author - or watching TV or movies.
Jessica S. Grady, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Psychology Room 113