What have the professors been up to this summer? For some it’s work-as-usual, and others have exciting projects that they’ve been working on. What else do professors do when they’re not teaching?
Which professor’s great-grandfather was one of Sigmund Freud’s early students? It’s Lisa Chervenak, the associate program chair of the psychology program at Post, who literally has psychology in her blood. Chervenak teaches a wide range of courses, ranging from Psychology 101 all the way to Social Psychology and the Research Capstone. While all of these courses are available online and on main campus, Chervenak generally teaches the main campus courses, though she will occasional teach the Psychology 101 online.
Chervenak has lived in Fairfield, CT for her whole life. She started her teaching career as an adjunct professor at Lincoln College of New England. “My supervisor saw an ad for the job here at Post University, and thought I would make a good fit, and well here I am.” In August, she celebrated her fifth anniversary with the University.
What have you been working on this summer?
In a field that’s constantly changing and making new discoveries, it’s vital that professors keep their courses up-to-date, so that’s exactly what Chervenak and her colleagues have been doing this summer.
“Summer normally is a time for me and my supervisor, Dr. Renata Streck, to revise our online courses to incorporate new information, especially if there’s any new research. For example, in a course like Abnormal Psychology where there’s a lot of new research going on about treatments for mental disorders or diagnostic criteria. We are updating those courses so they’re current with what’s going on in the field. A majority of my time this summer is just going through all the different courses that we teach and revising them so that, not only do they meet our outcomes but it allows the students to keep current with what’s going on in the field.”
What’s your favorite part of working at Post?
“I really enjoy working with the students, because I teach everything from psychology 101, which is the first course you take as a psychology major, and then research capstone, which is the last course that you take as a psychology student, which is really nice because I get to see my students grow in the four years. It makes me proud, almost like a proud mom, to see how far they’ve come, their interests develop, or they’re fulfilling their goals that they wanted to achieve when they started. They’re finally seeing those dreams come true.”
Chervenak speaks very fondly of the students she’s seen go through her program, and she always enjoys hearing about what students are doing after they’ve graduated. “I have a lot of students that I’ve seen complete the program and then come back either for more education or to let me know how life is going.”
What do you do for fun?
“I love to read up on Ancient Egypt. I would say that I’m as fascinated by Ancient Egypt as I am about psychology. Not many people know this, but the Ancient Egyptians were the first to study nature vs. nurture which is something that we teach in psychology.” Chervenak also enjoys the theater, she recently saw a production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that was directed by one of Chervenak’s Post colleagues, Lucia Dressel.
Not everything Chervenak does for fun is psychology related though—she also recently saw a production of SpongeBob Squarepants and she frequents the trails at Hop Brook. She tries to go for a walk every day, weather permitting. “I absolutely love to observe nature, the exercise, and it’s just beautiful there.”