We are pleased to welcome our new curator, Sara Hart (@saraannhart) to Real Scientists! Sara is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, where her research interests focus on the sources of individual differences on cognitive ability and achievement development. Primarily she focuses on how genetics and the environment interplay to influence the development of reading and math skills, as well as general cognitive processing. Additionally, she is interested in incorporating genetic and family environment information into our understanding of response to intervention. We asked Sara our usual set of questions, you can read her responses below:
My undergraduate degree prioritized research experiences, which gave me the exposure to what research was. My original plan was to go to medical school, but I realized that I wasn’t doing as well in my bench sciences classes, and was doing really well in my psychology classes. So I began to doubt the medicine plan, and looked more into what this whole “Ph.D.” was about (I had no idea, even as a third year undergraduate student). I realized I could still be called “Doctor”, and decided that was for me. I wish it were for a more rational reason, but wanting to be called “Doctor” was how I ended up in science!
I’ve always had an interest in why some people do better in school than other people, which as it turns out is a field of research! I love my job, and that keeps me doing my work. I study how and why people different in their cognitive development, specifically in reading and math achievement. My work is mostly in using twin studies to determine the influences of “nature and nurture” on reading and math development in children. I do basic research with school and home settings in mind. I try to figure out why certain students struggle at school. Or what parents can do at home to help their kids start kindergarten in the best way possible. Or why pinning teachers salaries to their student’s test scores is not supported by my research.
In my spare time I run, and I like to eat. I love to travel, so my ideal day off would be exploring a new place with my family, involving eating a lot of great food.
Please welcome Sara to Real Scientists!