New addition to the department: Stephenie R. Chaudoir, Ph.D.

August 26, 2010

I’m happy to be the newest addition to the psychology faculty. I joined the department in fall 2009, a few months after finishing my Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Connecticut.

A native of the Midwest, my education took me eastward. I left my hometown of Green Bay, Wis. (yes, I’m a Packers fan, although I’ve learned to keep that under wraps in Bears territory), to attend Butler University in Indianapolis. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 2003, I went further eastward to the University of Connecticut. There, my training focused on social and health psychology and quantitative methods.

My research focuses on understanding the psychological, behavioral, and health consequences of having a concealable stigmatized identity (CSI). In collaboration with student scholars at Bradley and other colleagues, I have been examining how individuals with a CSI (e.g., mental illness, HIV) are affected by prejudice and discrimination and how they make decisions to disclose this information to new people. Ultimately, my program of research is aimed at designing strategies to help individuals living with CSIs to cope with their identities and thrive in the face of stigma.

As the department’s health psychologist, I have also been doing my best to foster the health and well-being of our entire department. As students in my health psychology class will tell you, we do deep breathing exercises at the beginning of each class period and we spend one class doing yoga during our chapter on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. I also joined 14 of our psychology majors in Bradley’s Relay for Life fundraiser on April 16. Staying up all night (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) with our fantastic students to raise money for cancer prevention and treatment has definitely been one of the highlights of my first year at Bradley.

As a good friend from grad school always used to say, “You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t take the Midwest out of the girl.” It’s not really a surprise that I ended up at Bradley. My educational journey started at, and has now returned to, a “BU.” As a student at Butler, the dedication and mentoring of my professors were the catalyst in my pursuit of a Ph.D. in psychology. As a professor at Bradley, I try to instill my passion for psychology in our student scholars so that they can fulfill their dreams. It truly is the academic version of the “circle of life.”

Plus, being back in the Midwest has a lot of other perks, too. Nothing beats being only a car ride away from family and friends and having access to my favorite guilty pleasure food item: Culver’s butter burgers.

I look forward to meeting many more members of the Bradley psychology family in the near future. Until then, please feel free to drop me a line: schaudoir@bradley.edu