Day: January 18, 2022

Let’s Talk About it: Facilitating Difficult Conversations for Graduate Students

Are you a graduate student interested in developing skills that will assist you in facilitating difficult conversations? Please join us on February 2, 2022 from 1-2:30 p.m. for Level 1 of a Facilitating Difficult Conversations workshop.

This in-person workshop is open to all graduate students. The workshop will provide foundational information and practice for handling uncomfortable work and/or peer situations in a respectful and professional manner. ​Level 2 of Facilitating Difficult Conversations will be held on a future date.

​The number of participants is limited to facilitate discussion and promote physical distancing, so please complete the registration form to save your spot. You will receive an email reminder before the event which will confirm the location. 

For more information, contact Debra Charlesworth in the Graduate School at ddc@mtu.edu.


KCP Future Faculty Fellow – Brittany Nelson

It started when I took a critical thinking class where I learned how irrational many of my, and most people’s decisions, are. Many hold a misconception that we are rational creatures that we weigh pros and cons of each choice and choose the option that has the most utility. I was immediately fascinated that this is not the case; decisions are influenced by biases, environment, emotions, fatigue, and more. As an undergraduate, I conducted a blind experiment that measured the impact of reading a free will philosophy pamphlet on behaviors such as stealing candy and donating money. (Those who read the pamphlet that suggests we don’t have free will are more likely to steal candy and not donate money!) After learning how little we make rational decisions —without even being aware— I understood the potential the field of cognitive science has for helping people.

My interest in teaching allowed me to take many powerful lessons from my Masters’ degree in Applied Cognitive Science and share them with students when I was a visiting professor at Finlandia University. This position opened my eyes to how instructors can empower students through teaching. From this experience, I gained a passion for and concrete skills in how to be a professor.

Under the advisement of Dr. Erich Petushek, my current Ph.D. research at MTU involves identifying, measuring, and improving key factors that impact healthy lifestyle decisions. Lifestyle behaviors cause 60% of premature deaths and lead to 10 years longer life expectancy free of major chronic diseases. I hope that the long-term impact of this research is saved lives and a significant improvement in quality of life.

It is my goal to become a professor in psychology. As a professor, I can empower students to reach their potential and lead a lab devoted to helping people make good decisions. I am so grateful and honored to receive the King-Chávez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship. I know it will help pave my way toward my goal.