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Hello, I'm Karla!

I am a Cognitive Psychologist building a passion for learning and student success by day; deep thinker, memory guru, and satisfactory mom by night.

I am a Professor of Psychology and a Distinguished Faculty Scholar teaching and doing research with undergraduates for over 15 years at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I have always been passionate about understanding my thoughts. A favorite book from my childhood was called, “Thinking.”

I have read it with my two young boys, but we also have paged through a new book, “The Brain is Kind of a Big Deal” by Nick Seluk. They like this one for the amazing brain cartoon drawings. Together we can discover how much we have learned and continue to learn about cognition and the brain.

Like many students, no one taught me how to learn. I was a good student but in high school and especially college I relied on “all-nighters” to cram to be learned material. I also used strategies like highlighting text, re-reading my text and notes, and memorization to learn.

These stratedgies do work but DO NOT lead to remembering overtime!

I use skills from my background in Cognitive Psychology to teach students strategies that may take less time and lead to LONG-TERM learning through a program called LEARN.


I also provide Psychological skill training for workplace success. I have done workshops on how personality can be applied to work and how to improve attention and memory in the workplace.


Photo by Krizia Almoite @

Personal Accolades

Formal Education

2008 Ph.D.

Cognitive Physiology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.

2008 M.S.T.

College Teaching, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.

2005 M.S.

Psychology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

2003 B.A.

Psychology (Honors/Magna Cum Laude), Mount Union College, Alliance, OH

Professional Distinctions:

2022- Present

Department Chair, Psychology

2020- Present

Distinguished Faculty Scholar

2019- Present

Professor, Psychology

Professional Awards & Recognition


Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Minnesota State University


Minnesota Psychological Association, Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher


Pedagogical Innovation Award, Minnesota State University

Personal Accolades

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Member of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology: APA Division 2


Member of the American Psychological Association

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Attended the 2015-16 HERS Institute: Higher Education Leadership Development Program at Wellesley College and in 2020 the HERS Institute Next Stages Next Steps Workshop

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Trained at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Stony Brook University Bootcamp and completed the Journalism course in Social and Digital Communication in Fall 2021

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