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Faculty and Staff


Stephanie Buchert, Ph.D., Department Chair

Stephanie Buchert

Associate Professor of Psychology
Ruffner 301

Dr. Buchert joined Longwood in 2004. She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Kent State University in 2004. She earned an M.A. in Psychology at Kent State as well, and earned B.A.s in Psychology and Anthropology from Bloomsburg University. The courses she teaches with the most frequency are Research Methods, Quantitative Methods, and Cognitive Psychology. Her research interests include cognitive development; specifically language issues such as language development and bilingualism.


Jennifer Mardoyan Apperson, Ph.D.

Jennifer Apperson

Professor of Psychology
Ruffner 104

Dr. Apperson joined Longwood in 1985.  She earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Stephens College in Missouri; a master's degree in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology both from the University of Akron in Ohio. She teaches introduction to psychology, personality, interviewing, psychology and the law and graduate courses in counseling. She serves as the Program Coordinator and academic advisor for the Community and College Counseling Program in the College of Education and Human Services. Dr. Apperson is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Virginia and has maintained a small clinical practice in the community since moving to the area. Prior to teaching at Longwood, she gained clinical experience working in outpatient mental health centers (CSBs) and at an in-patient psychiatric hospital in Ohio. Her research interests include factors that affect university students' assessments of instruction and the use of presentation graphics in university instruction.


Chris BjornsenChris Bjornsen, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology
Director, International Studies Program
Ruffner 305

Dr. Bjornsen joined Longwood in 1995. He received his Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992, and teaches courses in cross-cultural psychology, infant and child development, adolescent and adult development, sex and gender, and introduction to psychology. His currently conducts research on college student cell phone use in class, and cross-cultural collaborations with colleagues on emotional and personality development in emerging adulthood. Dr. Bjornsen's hobbies include traveling, gardening, cooking, woodworking, and reading Scandinavian crime novels.


Sarai BlincoeSarai Blincoe, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ruffner 308

Dr. Blincoe joined Longwood in 2012. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Wake Forest University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Kentucky. She teaches Quantitative Methods, Research Methods and courses in Social Psychology. Dr. Blincoe's primary research interests include academic entitlement, and respect and disrespect in multiple relationship contexts (e.g., romantic partner, teacher-student, parent-child). Outside of academia, she has worked as a research analyst for the U.S. Navy.


David M. Carkenord, Ph.D.Dave Carkenord

Professor of Psychology
Ruffner 310

Dr. Carkenord joined Longwood in 1992. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Bowling Green State University in 1990. He teaches the majority of courses in the Industrial/Organizational concentration, as well as introductory psychology and quantitative methods. His primary research interests currently center around employee ethics and developing innovative teaching techniques. Outside of academia, he has worked as an analyst in personnel research and marketing research.


Catherine FranssenCatherine Franssen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Director, NeuroStudies Minor
Ruffner 309

Dr. Franssen joined Longwood in 2014. She received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of Chicago and held appointments at UC Irvine, Randolph Macon College, and James Madison University.  A behavioral neuroendocrinologist, her research examines how environmental enrichment – from parenthood to extreme sports – can reduce stress & anxiety and improve cognition.  Dr. Franssen’s pedagogical studies include creating effective presentations and improving student outcomes through interdisciplinary courses like Neuroeconomics.  She most frequently teaches Biopsychology, Comparative Animal Behavior, the Psychobiology of Stress, Psychopharmacology, and Sensation and Perception.


Danette Gibbs

Danette Gibbs, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ruffner 304

Dr. Gibbs joined Longwood in 2011.  She received her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Harding University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Toledo.  She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral training at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where she worked with adolescents and adults in a variety of treatment settings.  Dr. Gibbs teaches Introductory Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Child Psychopathology, and Tests & Measurements.  Her research interests include improving access to mental health care for underserved populations, and prevention and early intervention work among children and adolescents, with a particular emphasis on suicide and violence prevention.


 Eric Laws, Ph.D.

Eric Laws

Professor of Psychology
Ruffner 302A
Today in the History of Psychology

Dr. Laws joined Longwood in 2000. He received his M.S. in Applied Experimental Psychology and Ph.D. in Psychological Science from Virginia Tech. He has taught and/or teaches courses in Physiological Psychology, Research Methods, Introduction to Biopsychology, Sensation & Perception, Animal Behavior, Learning, Psychopharmacology, Cognitive Psychology, History & Systems, Senior Seminar, Longwood Seminar, and Environmental Psychology. His research interests include the neurophysiological and psychophysical bases underlying memory for color and color preferences, environmental aesthetic preferences and the physiological correlates of pleasant vs. unpleasant visual scenes. He lives with 4 cats (Storm, Matilda, Harry, & Sylvester) and 2 birds (Amos & Andy).





Joyce Trent

Paula Ellison

Administrative Assistant
Ruffner 302