Psychology Faculty


Dr. Sara Bagley

Assistant Professor
Hennessy Hall, room 190


Educational Background:
B.A. Psychology & Mathematics, Westminster College
M.S. Experimental Psychology, Saint Louis University
Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, Saint Louis University

Academic and Research Interests: I am an experimental psychologist interested in physiology, through and through. My primary teaching and research interests revolve around this topic. Regarding teaching, I greatly enjoy teaching introductory classes to the field of psychology and upper level classes on physiological psychology and neuroscience. All of my classes are heavy in regards to brain functioning and research methodology. My research revolves around understanding the connections between stress (as measured by physiological changes in the body) and memory.

Classes Taught: Introductory Psychology, Research Methods & Statistics, Sensation & Perception, Physiological Psychology, Exploring the Brain through Traumatic Brain Injuries.

Personal Interests: Dog-therapy, yoga, hiking, exploring, chatting with others.

Favorite Class Activity: My favorite activity is bringing a human to brain to class and watching the different reactions from students. Some students can’t wait to hold it and others are completely disgusted. It is fantastic!

Dr. Robert Dunn

Hennessy Hall, room 189

Educational Background:
B.S. Psychology, Loras College
M.S. Psychology, Iowa State University
Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, Iowa State University

Academic and Research Interests: Community mental health, psychology of men, psychotherapy.

Classes Taught: Abnormal Psychology, Personality, Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Clinical Psychology, Psychopathology, graduate courses in counseling techniques.

Personal Interests:  Writing plays, music (composition and performing), has an addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper.

Favorite Class Activity:  My favorite activity would be the playwriting project in my cluster class in which students try to inhabit the personality of a fictional character by voicing the character through dialogue and stage movements.

Dr. Lisa Grinde

Associate Professor
Hennessy Hall, room 192

Educational Background:
B.A. Psychology, Northern Michigan University
M.S. Developmental Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Ph.D. Developmental Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Academic and Research Interests: My primary teaching and research interests have always focused around young children and their families. For many years I studied the experience of childhood disability and how it was affected by and affected the family and community system. I have recently changed my focus to the impact of nature on children’s development, namely looking at how less time in the natural world is detrimental to development. In addition, as I’ve developed my Adulthood and Aging class I’ve become more and more interested in the other end of the lifespan. I currently have two student research groups examining issues in later adulthood: one is looking at the influence of nature and technology and another is studying the concept of filial piety, or one’s belief about caring for aging parents. 

Classes Taught: Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Psychology, Cross-cultural Psychology, Research Methods and Statistics, Adulthood and Aging, Cognition.

Personal Interests: The list is long, but I will focus on a few: travel, reading, cooking/baking, dance, moments of joy, and my two children who continue to surprise me, delight me, and teach me so many new things. 

Favorite Class Activity: My favorite class activity is PlayDay in Developmental Psychology. I bring in bags full of toys and students spending the class period playing…and also critically thinking about and discussing how the different toys promote physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. I always have someone who signs a finger painting and asks me to hang it in my office (next to the artwork from my children).


Dr. Mark Hopper

Associate Professor
Hennessy Hall, room 186

Educational Background:
B.A. Psychology, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
M.A. Clinical Adult Psychology, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Ph.D. Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Neuropsychology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN
Academic and Research Interests: Teaching interests = wellness; mindfulness; self-awareness;  metacognition.
Research interests = I am just beginning a project on “The Monkey Mind” (i.e., discursive thinking).

Classes Taught: Positive Psychology, Introduction to Clinical Psychology. Cognition, graduate courses in Research and Program Evaluation, Career Counseling.

Personal Interests: I am in a yoga teacher training program and hope to be offering classes by next year; other interests are music, food, reading, technology, and sleeping.

Favorite Class Activity: I like the mindfulness activities I teach in my Positive Psychology course. One of my favorites is Miksang, or mindful photography. It is so inspiring to teach students a unique method for capturing photographs and seeing the results of their work.


Dr. Mary Johnson

Hennessy Hall, room 187


Educational Background:
B.A. Sociology, University of Iowa
M.A. Clinical Psychology, University of Iowa
Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, University of Iowa

Academic and Research Interests: My research background is in gender studies and in burnout among health care workers. My primary interest is in all things applied in Psychology, particularly mental health issues. I am a licensed Psychologist and a Certified Mental Health Provider. I have over 30 years’ experience providing mental health services to a wide range of people with a whole host of mental health needs. I consider myself a serious advocate for the rights of the mental ill.  I am currently a member of the licensure board for Psychologists in the state of Iowa.

Classes Taught: Developmental Psychology, Senior Seminar, Abnormal Psychology, Internship, and all the clinical course work at the graduate level.

Personal Interests: I have a range of personal interests including reading mysteries and memoirs, gardening, cooking and singing along with Ray Charles tunes. I have a dancing dog named Daisy (a yellow lab), a mysterious cat, Emma. My husband of many years is a former golf pro, my son is an actuary, and my daughter owns three small businesses in the publishing field.

Favorite Class Activity: My favorite class activity is listening to the wisdom students bring to the educational experience. Many students do not consider themselves repositories of knowledge but I am endlessly impressed with their intuition and novel ideas.


Dr. Julia Omarzu

Associate Professor
Hennessy Hall, room 191

Educational Background:
B.S. Business Administration, San Diego State University
M.A. Experimental Psychology, California State University at Fresno
Ph.D. Personality & Social Psychology, The University of Iowa
Academic and Research Interests: I am interested in interdisciplinary applications of social psychology, including psychology related to the fine arts, interpersonal relationships, and social stress. Currently I am focused more on psychology and the arts. My research students & I are now working on research projects involving the restorative potential of visual art, personality and artistic preferences, stereotypes about artists and musicians, and the relationship between creative play and critical thinking ability.  I collaborate with faculty in our art and music programs in advising students interested in pursuing careers in art or music therapy.  In previous years my research has been centered more on personal relationships, including a survey of adults engaged in extramarital relationships and a theoretical exploration of qualities that lead to lasting close relationships. I am also interested in psychology education, having for several years helped to organize the annual Iowa Teachers of Psychology conference, and have published on the use of case studies as teaching tools in the psychology classroom.

Classes Taught: Introductory Psychology, Research Methods & Statistics, Social Psychology, Motivation & Emotion, Applied Social Psychology, Psychology & the Arts, Interpersonal Relationships, Psychology of Stress.

Personal Interests: Playing the flute, yoga & meditation, walking with my dog, learning to garden, traveling to big cities or to the ocean, reading & watching movies, playing very bad golf.

Favorite Class Activity: Applying psychological concepts to case studies, social issues, or media examples.


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