Laura (Wood) Gumbiner - Alumni Stories from the Department of Psychology and Sociology | Judson University Christian College

Laura (Wood) Gumbiner

Psychology, 2003
Adjunct Faculty, Psychology, Sauk Valley Community College
Dixon, IL


What do you do in your current job and what do you enjoy about it?
I currently teach in the psychology department at Sauk Valley Community College. I firmly believe education is invaluable, so I am proud to be a part of the community college philosophy, providing quality learning for the diverse needs of my community. It is a pleasure to introduce students to today's understanding of human behavior and mental processes and see their perspective on mankind evolve.

How did your Judson experience influence you professionally? What were your favorite parts of being a Judson student?
Every phase of my life has changed me, including my time at Judson. My last two years I was a TA for Dr. Currie, and during one of our chats I learned about a summer course I could take through a different college that would expose me to leading labs conducting psychological research on the west coast. I signed up and that choice drastically changed my professional trajectory, giving me opportunities I'd never dreamed of, such as working at Stanford University post-college, for which I am grateful. Also while at Judson I learned faith is not just a segment of one's life, but can be interwoven throughout, including in one's career. Each professor had a unique way of discussing the intersection of psychology and faith and I continue to operate from that same framework today, which makes me feel whole, more complete.

What are the strengths of your major/program at Judson?
The psychology department did a wonderful job exposing students to various areas of the field by offering classes from development to physiological psychology to tests and measurement, and provided many hands-on opportunities including working with rats, a psych club, and internships. Professors Currie, Hsieh and Vaughn were personable and took the time to hear my interests and guide me on an applicable path.

What advice can you give to current and prospective students about their time at Judson?
Enjoy it. Many people told me once college was over I would never get such a "flexible" schedule again, nor an opportunity to read and learn as much as I was. I didn't understand how they could say that, as I was usually overwhelmed with school and activities, but now I understand. There is more time, and there are more friends, in college - take advantage of that! My years at Judson were formative and priceless, though I wish I had done more while there. Gain as many experiences as you can, including in your field of choice, and connect/collaborate with as many people as you can. Those experiences and connections will transform you and set you up for great things in the future.

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