Transferring passion from the lab to the classroom

Her enthusiasm draws students in and gets them hooked on the fascinating world of Psychology.  Students rave about how engaging and easy she is to talk to.  She takes her research knowledge and turns it into an interesting journey in the classroom.  The Honors Programs Advisory Committee has named Dr. Jyotsna Vaid the recipient of this year’s Honors Teacher-Scholar Award for advancing the frontiers of knowledge in Psychology and bringing unparalleled excitement and innovation to her classroom.

Vaid is a Professor of Psychology, an affiliated member of the Institute of Neuroscience, and Acting Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas A&M University. Vaid’s current research examines how language experience affects broader cognitive and neurocognitive functioning, joke comprehension across cultures, and the impact of reading from left-to-right versus right-to-left on attentional biases. Her research has found that early onset of bilingualism is associated with more bilateral involvement of the two cerebral hemispheres in language processing as well as greater metalinguistic awareness. Vaid found these results were not as prominent in those with a late onset of bilingualism or in single language users. Her current work explores whether early experience in informal translation contributes to enhanced cognitive and linguistic flexibility. 

Vaid also captivates students in the classroom with her courses in the Bilingual Mind, Psychology of Language, Research Methods in Psychology, and Language and Gender studies.  Additionally, Vaid supervises four graduate students in her Language and Cognition lab.

Dr. Vaid will receive a $4,000 grant as part of the Teacher-Scholar Award. These funds may be used for any purpose that enhances the Teacher-Scholar’s research or teaching.  Dr. Vaid plans to use this money to present her research at the upcoming International Symposium on Bilingualism. This meeting, which is held every two years in a different part of the world, will take place in Singapore in 2013.

The Honors Programs Advisory Committee selected Dr. Vaid based on her contribution and commitment to honors education and her embodiment of the Teacher-Scholar ideal – a combination of teaching and scholarship excellence and the prospect that the Teacher-Scholar award would enhance the recipient’s teaching and research activities.

Contact: Chrystina Rago, chrysrago@honors.tamu.edu

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