Meet new faculty member Stacy-Ann January

Name: Stacy-Ann A. January 

Current job: Assistant professor in the psychology department of the College of Arts and Sciences

Degrees: Ph.D. in educational psychology, University of Georgia; M.A. in educational psychology, University of Georgia; B.A. in psychology, University of Richmond 

Hometown: Richmond, Va.

What’s your area of research? I am interested in the prevention of academic and behavioral difficulties in school-age children. Specifically, my research focuses on improving upon ways we can identify students who are at risk, evaluating interventions that target academic and behavioral skills, and how we can use data to make informed decisions in schools.

Why did you choose Carolina? I was particularly drawn to the university’s strong support for faculty research and teaching and student research, as well as the collegiality of the faculty in the psychology department. I was also impressed by the faculty and students in the school psychology program. The school psychology program at UofSC is highly regarded and is ranked consistently as a top program nationally, particularly in terms of faculty research productivity. In all, I chose Carolina because I felt that it was a great fit and that I could build a successful career here.

What are you most looking forward to this year? I am most looking forwarding to building partnerships with schools in the community, growing my research and developing relationships with faculty and students. 

What are you most looking forward to about being at UofSC? I moved here from the Midwest after completing my postdoctoral research fellowship, so one of the things I’m most looking forward to in South Carolina is the warmer climate. I was also excited to move to Columbia because of its geographic proximity to family, the beach and the mountains.

How did you become interested in your work? After earning my bachelor’s degree, I taught kindergarten and second grade in a low-income community. It was during that time that I became aware of issues related to the disproportionate representation of certain populations (e.g., children from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds) in special education programs, and the importance of high quality instruction and intervention. As a result, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in school psychology that would allow me to conduct applied research in prevention and early intervention so that I could make a larger impact on students’ achievement.

What made you decide to go into academia? As an undergraduate, I developed a strong interest in the science of psychology, and when I applied to graduate school, I knew I wanted a career in research in some capacity. My passion for conducting research grew exponentially during graduate school, and I also became interested in teaching and mentoring. So, going into academia seemed like a natural career path.

What do you hope to accomplish over the next five years? One of the priorities I have for the next five years is to advance the science and practice of school psychology by engaging in research that improves schools’ prevention practices. I want to help educators make efficient and effective data-based decisions, with the ultimate goal of enhancing student outcomes.

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