Aug. 26, 2021

Inspiring Teacher: Laura Thomas, associate professor of psychology


Laura Thomas
Inspiring teacher Laura Thomas relies on hands-on experiences to keep students engaged and prepare them for career success.

Laura Thomas draws energy from students in the classroom. Their insightful questions and enthusiasm for psychology inspires Thomas to push even more to help them achieve their academic goals. 

The associate professor of psychology also relies on hands-on experiences to keep students engaged and prepare them for career success.

“When we cover findings from classic psychology experiments in my class, I ask students to complete online demonstration versions of these experiments ahead of time so they can see for themselves what it is like to be a participant,” Thomas said. “These demos also enable me to collect data from students that we can then analyze and discuss in class.

“Students get to experience the phenomena themselves and then work with their own data instead of just engaging with an old set of facts and graphs.”

Thomas teaches classes on research methods, attention and thinking and grant writing for psychological sciences. She says successful NDSU psychology students are curious, open-minded and hard working.

“Every course is an opportunity to improve and develop your critical thinking skills, which are the most important benefit of a college education,” she said.

Thomas earned her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She joined the NDSU faculty in 2011.

“I find it incredibly rewarding when I see a student have one of those ‘a-ha’ moments in the classroom or I receive a really interesting question,” Thomas said. “Even when I’m having a bad day or feeling low, stepping in front of a class helps me become more animated.”

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