I will be teaching a graduate level course (PSYC 800) titled “Foundations of Data Science” where students will learn fundamental skills in computer programming, task automation, and the management, visualization, and communication of digital data. This course is intended to be a springboard for future courses on advanced computational and statistical techniques.
What do you enjoy most about working with students?
I have always savored that moment of clarity—the “click” when the tension of confusion and effort finally yields to the release of comprehension and wonder. These are the moments I live for, both in my own learning and, increasingly over time, in my role as a teacher. To join someone on their journey of discovery—to guide them through uncertainty to that moment of clarity and share in its celebration—is truly a gift for both teacher and student.
What are some of the things that excite you about joining the Psychology Department at KU?
I am excited to help build out the new “Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science” program within the department. The interdisciplinary focus of this program is quite unique, and I am confident that we can create a world-class hub for the training of tomorrow’s innovative and integrative thinkers.
Dr. Girard presenting with Dr. Forbush at the 2019 Annual
Meeting of the Association of Psychological Science
What is the current focus in your research?
A perennial focus of my research is on identifying patterns of expressive behavior related to mental health conditions (especially patterns that can be automatically measured using technology). Examples include a reduction in the amount and speed of head motion related to depression and an increase in verbal dysfluencies (e.g., umms, errs, edits, and restarts) related to psychosis. A current focus of my research is on adapting this work and developing new technologies to improve assessment in online and telehealth settings.
How did you become interested in Psychology?
I had very positive relationships in high school with a guidance counselor and a philosophy teacher who helped me through some difficult times in my life. Conversations with these role models sparked my interest in these topics and inspired my specific focus on clinical psychology—the science of helping others transmute adversity into growth.
Outside of teaching and research, what are your passions and interests?
I have a passion for nature and science documentaries and science fiction/fantasy literature. My favorite foods involve noodles and my favorite drinks involve gin. I am currently cultivating interests in gardening, birdwatching, and tennis.