Despite his fairly new arrival to the university one professor of the Psychology Department has already made themselves well known by all who take his classes. Psychology’s Dr. Corey White has a unique background and teaching style that has made him well known in his short time at Missouri Western State University.
Dr. White began at Missouri Western just years ago in 2017 as an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. He teaches several courses including History and Systems and Introduction to Neuroscience. Prior to Missouri Western Dr. White had worked and attended several other universities and colleges including Truman, Ohio State and Syracuse University.
Dr. White’s research focuses on cognitive and behavioral psychology where he examines how people behave and act the way they do and the causes behind that. When Dr. White began his academic career he went in only knowing he wanted to get a degree in the realm of something science-related.
“I was always kind of scientifically minded as it were, and to me, people were the most interesting subjects to try and understand. So with that in mind, I went in and I picked a psych major. When I started college, I didn't know for sure, but I was pretty sure that I didn't want to be a therapist, that I wanted to be more on the kind of research side of things.” Dr. White explained. “So that's the path I went on, and then like a lot of our psych students here, I didn't even know that there were different types of psychology really. So I just took my classes and I took a cognitive psychology course to talk about memory and decision making and learning and things like that, and I liked it a lot.”
In 2018, a year after Dr. White’s arrival to Missouri Western, he had released his publication on executive functions where he applied his broader background on researching decision making and memory into his work.
“When we talk about executive function, it's things like controlling your attention, stopping yourself from doing something you shouldn't do. Working memory, maintaining information in mind, it's basically the part of your brain that controls the rest of your brain. We think it's one of the most important parts of functioning correctly, and a lot of psychologists are interested in measuring how good an individual has for different functions.”
Outside of his time researching and teaching Dr. White likes to spend time with his family and to take up some healthy hobbies.
“I have two kids, two girls that are five and four. So most of my free time does not exist, honestly, but I love playing with them and, you know, building blocks and things like that. If I had actual free time, I used to do a lot of running, marathons and half marathons and stuff. I actually picked up rollerblading again because it's a little bit easier on the knees and I like to play soccer and tennis.”
When it comes to Dr. White’s teaching one common consensus is that there is never a boring day in class, whether it’s one of interesting his tales from his past or his rollerblading hobby making an appearance. A new tradition for Dr. White has been to show up to class once a semester rocking the rollerblades.
“I started that last year. The teachers at my kid’s daycare were talking about it and said you should rollerblade in class, and so now once a semester I will wear my rollerblades in the class. The funny thing is at least in some rooms I'll be sitting behind the lectern and people don't even know and then I'll talk for a while and then I'll get up and they're like, What the hell is going on? So that's a fun thing for me to do.”
Overall, Dr. White wants students to know that despite growing older in age you never truly change who you are during college.
“I'm not much different than the idiot I was when I was 19, I'm a human and I still have all my flaws and all my weaknesses. Although I'm better at controlling them or at least planning around them. I'm actually very open in my classes, telling stories from my own life, including stories where I've made bad decisions and gotten in various forms of trouble and my purpose in doing that is to really I think sometimes when people look at an authority figure and I realize I'm barely an authority figure, right but compared to a student, I'm the one in charge.” Dr. White said. “They think that we're better or that we don't have flaws or that we're not human and it's really important for my students to understand that, that I'm, I'm just a person right and I do dumb things and I do some smart things and I do nice things and I do some mean things and I know a lot of our students have many of our students have come from rougher backgrounds, or maybe made some mistakes in their own life and I really like to highlight the fact that you can get it together and you can go on to have some version of success even though you might have made some bad choices earlier in your life.”