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Erin Cooley, Ph.D. is a graduate of our Social Psychology program with a formal concentration in Quantitative Psychology in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She is an Associate Professor at Colgate University, where she conducts research on how social hierarchies (related to social class, race, or gender) influence people’s policy attitudes, health, and intergroup relations and teaches several courses, including Prejudice and Racism, Quantitative Methods for Behavioral Research, Social Psychology, and Social Inequality University.

Most recently, Erin has begun exploring how shifting American racial demographics and rising economic inequality affect intergroup attitudes. She says, “I love the synergy between my research lines and the topics that I teach. The students I have the opportunity to work with are motivated, bright, and creative. I frequently leave classes inspired by our conversations and encouraged to think about research in new ways based on their perspectives.”

Erin’s experiences at Carolina provided her with excellent mentorship on how to be successful in academia. “UNC offered me the opportunity to train in a highly ranked social psychology program,” explains Erin. “I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with Keith Payne, Chet Insko, and Barbara Fredrickson – blending my interests in racial prejudice, implicit cognition, and intergroup conflict. The atmosphere of the Social Psychology graduate program challenged us to grow as researchers and teachers, while also providing us with the resources and support to do so.”

In addition to pursuing her Ph.D. in Social Psychology, Erin completed the formal concentration in Quantitative Psychology. This concentration is available to any graduate student enrolled in the Department to provide advanced training in quantitative psychology and offers a high level of training and coursework. When choosing UNC for her graduate program, Erin says: “I was excited about the opportunity for excellent quantitative training. Graduate training at UNC gave me a strong background in experimental methods and statistics.”

For prospective graduate students, Erin advises, “As long as you love the research you are doing, graduate school can be an amazing five to six years. Choose your program carefully to make sure that you enjoy the work and the people with whom you will be working.”

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