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Professor uses HU experience as teaching model
Erin (Steury) Devers on advantages of psychology degree program at Huntington University, a Christian college.

"Huntington helped me become someone who asks questions about how psychological ‘facts’ relate to life. (It) helped me develop a Christian way of processing life."

Few make the direct jump from undergraduate degree to doctoral studies. Erin (Steury) Devers' Huntington University education gave her the ability to meet that challenge.

“I was prepared to approach research questions from a different perspective than others in my field,” said Erin, a 2002 graduate. “This difference in perspective helped me to add new pieces to the way we address collaborative research questions.”

Erin finished her Ph.D. in social psychology from Indiana University Bloomington in the spring of 2007. In the fall of 2007, she accepted a position teaching psychology at Gordon College in Massachusetts. Her Huntington University professors served as role models for her new job.

“Looking back I’m aware of how personally Dr. Wayne Priest and Dr. Steve Lee affected my life and my views of psychology,” Erin said. “It was such a blessing to me to be surrounded by people who cared not just about academic content, but cared about each other.”

Erin’s faith and Dr. Lee’s teaching directly influenced her doctoral dissertation topic.

“I remember Dr. Lee talking about the ‘one-anothering’ we should do as the church,” she said. “So specifically, I looked at the ways in which we experience emotions differently when we are part of a group. The big question that my research explored is how we can create close groups. The decision to pursue this type of research was a direct result of my desire to relate what I do to what it means to be Christian.”

Erin’s off-campus experiences also had a major impact on her life’s direction. Her freshman year, she traveled to Greece to walk in the Apostle Paul’s footsteps. As a sophomore, she went to New Mexico with Dr. Priest and Dr. Todd Martin to build houses on a Native American reservation. She spent the fall of her junior year in England as part of the Oxford Honors Abroad program. Then in the spring, she traveled to Ecuador on a mission trip.

“All of these opportunities helped me to see people, the world, and God’s role in everything more clearly,” Erin said.

Erin is most appreciative of the way her Huntington education shaped her overall approach to psychology.

“I don’t believe that science — much less the part I play in it — will unlock the keys to the human psyche. Instead, thinking about psychology from a Christian perspective helps me to recognize how amazing we are as God’s creation. So when I learn something new about how we humans behave, I often laugh at how amazingly wise God is in the way He designed us.”

Erin advises anyone interested in studying psychology through the eyes of faith to consider Huntington.

“Huntington helped me become someone who asks questions about how psychological ‘facts’ relate to life,” she said. “Having a personal type of education helped me to make those all important connections. Life isn’t all about having a career, although I am indebted to Huntington for helping me find mine, but rather, life is a way to glorify God through our experiencing of it. Huntington helped me develop a Christian way of processing life.”

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