Before joining Buckinghamshire New University in 2017, I worked as a post-doc research associate in the School of Art, Design & Performance, and tutor in the School of Psychology, at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). While completing my PhD before that, I also worked as a psychology tutor at the University of Aberdeen. Between my undergraduate studies and my PhD, I had an eclectic career, working in graphic and web design, historical conservation, art therapy, and research administration for the University of Aberdeen’s Obstetrics & Gynaecology department.
I am originally from California, moving to the UK in 2005. I studied for my BSc in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, my PhD in Psychology at the University of Aberdeen, and PgCert in Education at Buckinghamshire New University.
My specialist area of research is ‘flow’ (being in ‘the zone’) and creativity, as I have always been keenly interested in the psychology of the arts, and the experience of the creative process more generally. ‘Flow’ has most thoroughly been studied in relation to athletics, but there appear to be some features of the creative process that are unique and which may contribute to differences in ‘creative’ flow compared to flow in other activities, which I am interested in exploring further through my research. I have a number of other research interests, however, including: positive psychology, STE(A)M (i.e., STEM + Arts, interdisciplinary education/learning), design cognition, altered/exceptional states (including meditation, peak experiences), parapsychology, art therapy/integration into health and education, social prescribing (particularly arts & nature interventions), music psychology, motivation and attention. I am currently particularly interested in better understanding the role of tolerance of uncertainty/ambiguity in relation to flow and creativity.
I am a member of the Higher Education Academy (Fellow), the European Flow Researchers Network, the American Psychological Association’s Division 10 (Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts), the UK Creativity Researchers, and Buckinghamshire New University’s newly-founded Centre for Positive Psychology. I am also a semi-professional artist.