As an assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and senior lecturer in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Heather serves as a four-year advisor, develops initiatives to support and improve academic achievement among undergraduates, and teaches psychology.
As a Mexican-American woman from a working-class family and the first person in her immediate family to graduate from college, she is particularly interested in helping enhance the college experience of students from underrepresented groups.
Heather has a BS in Psychology from Arizona State University, where she investigated the neurological underpinnings of cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. She then went on to get an MA and PhD from Duke University. There, she investigated the processes underlying memory retrieval in humans, using both behavioral measures and fMRI. Specifically, she examined the visual perspective that individuals use when creating mental images of past events.
More recently, she has become interested in applying psychology research to improve students’ study strategies. She is also devoted to using data and evidence to inform advising and instructional practices. In the classroom, she teaches Introductory Psychology, Experimental Psychology, and a sophomore seminar on Mindfulness in Psychology and Eastern Philosophies.
On a personal level, Heather loves spending time with her daughter and two dogs. She enjoys being active and outside in the sun, coming up with creative projects to complete with her daughter, and working on a never-ending list of home-improvement projects.