California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    A new day, a new Don in psychology

    As of the fall 2015 semester, California Lutheran University’s psychology department got a little bit bigger. Brian Don, who has a doctorate in psychology, joined the Cal Lutheran faculty teaching social psychology, statistics and personality theory to his students. Don said he is excited for the future and is already adjusting to Cal Lutheran life.

    “I have found that it has been really fun getting to know the students and getting to know the faculty. Everyone has been so welcoming,” Don said.

    Psychology has always been a topic Don was passionate about, so he developed that passion into teaching the subject to his students.

    “I’ve always been really interested in psychology. Growing up I was always thinking about what makes people tick. When I found out there was a science for that in my freshman year of college, I thought ‘woah, this is so cool,’” Don said.

    Don found himself reading material on the subject for fun, and it didn’t take him long to realize he wanted to pursue psychology as a career, specifically social health psychology and social relationships.

    “At that point, I knew I wanted to get into the study of psychology because I thought this is the science of how people are, and that’s fascinating,” Don said.

    Don received his Bachelor of Art’s degree from Kenyon College and received his Masters and Ph.D. from Kent State University, but it was his experience as an undergraduate that influenced where he wished to teach in the future.

    “I definitely wanted to return to a place where there was a lot of close interaction between faculty and students, small classes, [and]really [gave] a community feel,” Don said.

    He said it was an especially positive experience in his field of psychology.

    “I had a really great experience there and worked with a lot of professors on research and psychology, that’s what got me going all the way here. So I wanted to return to that type of environment,” Don said.

    Don said that psychology is important for students to take because he believes it stimulates critical thinking and personal growth.

    “It gives students different perspectives that they may have never thought of before, and that’s exciting to me,” Don said.

    Some psychology students seem to be responding positively to his classes and teaching methods. Brittney Martinez, a sophomore studying psychology, appreciates how relatable Don is.

    “I think he’s really engaging and relatable. He uses a lot of examples and puts so much effort into his lessons,” Martinez said.

    Martinez said what she appreciates the most is Don’s connection to his students and his willingness to help a student whenever he can.

    “I’m planning to study abroad which requires a lot of letters of recommendation. I’m already utilizing him and he’s so happy to help. He’s that professor you can connect with really quickly,” Martinez said.

    Sophomore psychology major Gabriella Sainz is currently in Don’s statistics class and has actually found appreciation for a subject she struggled in.

    “As much as I hate math, my statistics class with Dr. Don is one of my favorite classes this semester and he’s up there with some of my favorite professors,” Sainz said in an email interview.

    In 2014 Don was awarded the International Association of Relationships Research Steve Duck New Scholar Award, which recognizes an emerging scholar in the area of relationship research.

    “I’ve published a number of studies on social support, relationship satisfaction and mental health processes in the context of dyadic relationships. I won the award based on that research,” Don said.

    He said the award comes with funding, which is currently going toward a study he is working on with Cal Lutheran students.

    Dr. Julie Kuehnel is a psychology professor at Cal Lutheran and was part of the committee of people that hired Don. Kuehnel said that out of all the applicants and the long process of hiring, Don really stood out.

    “What we believe is important in a Cal Lutheran psychology professor is research and experience, but more importantly we want someone who is passionate about teaching and connecting with students. It was difficult to narrow down from so many applicants, but Don always stood out during the process,” Kuehnel said.

    Don said that he hopes his fascination and passion for the field of psychology resonates with students.

    “I hope students can come out of my classes with just an idea of how many different ways there are of looking at the world,” Don said.

    Don said he is excited for his future at Cal Lutheran.

    Mary Callaway
    Senior Writer
    Published October 28th, 2015