Professor Goodman-Wilson

Professor Goodman-Wilson

By: Tia Hildebrandt

If you are interested in cats AND psychology then taking one of Professor Goodman-Wilson’s classes is a must!  A new addition to Eckerd, she is a successful Developmental Psychologist and entertaining teacher!  Her love for cats extends into the classroom and into her office.  Her husband constructed a cat identical to her own which is a site to see.  It is pretty impressive decked out in fur, big eyes, and identical markings to her cat at home. 

Professor Goodman-Wilson received her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology from UCLA and her Ph.D. from UC Davis in Psychology (with a concentration in Developmental Psychology).  Growing up she did not plan on being a professor.  She tells that “as a child, I wanted to be a vet then there was a brief period where I wanted to be a virologist and instead became a hypochondriac, and then I did a mock trial in high school and assumed I would be a lawyer.”  Following in love with psychology while taking accelerated classes during her summers, Goodman-Wilson worked independently with the headmaster of her high school who had a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology.  By the time she attended college, she realized she would “be with psychology for the long haul and knew that [she] would be most interested in pursuing a career that would allow me to do both research and teaching.”  Her favorite part of being a professor is in interacting with students.  Goodman-Wilson explains that “at Eckerd, I am collaborating with several students on research projects and it is great fun to work together on applying our shared interest in psychology outside the classroom.”  On the other hand, Goodman-Wilson is “also pretty fond of getting to include pictures of cute animals and cat cartoons in my lecture slides.”

Her favorite research topic was completed when she was a graduate student.  The topic was social referencing which looks at “how infants use their mothers as a source of information when faced with an ambiguous event.”  Her research methods included “converting remote controlled cars into funny looking creatures and then driving them at babies.”  She remarks, “All in the name of science!”

When asked what advice she would give to students she responded saying “that if you are thinking about graduate school, it is essential that you get some experience with your topic of interest outside of the classroom. Professors are always looking for help with their projects, but at a place like Eckerd they are also willing to help you pursue you own interest and gain the experience that you need.”  She includes how important it is for students to attend a professor’s office hours and for students to get involved with activities on campus. 

  One thing you can always find in her refrigerator is a bottle of kombucha or as she describes it, “that fancy, strange fermented tea with highly questionable health benefits.”  She notes that it costs a full 50 cents more in Florida then it did in California.  She also is currently reading Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.  However, she “can’t find [her] copy of it anywhere, and it is kind of starting to drive [her] crazy.”

  At the end of her interview, Goodman-Wilson told me she “wish[ed] there were more opportunities to talk about my cats in my answers.”  She notes that, “Perhaps my advice should be to get a cat?”  So there you go Eckerd!  Go out a get yourself a cat.  While you are at it, take Professor Goodman-Wilson’s class because her passion is unmistaken…about psychology AND cats.