A chance to shape the future of social psychology by directing federal resources will soon be in the hands of Wright State University psychology professor Tamera Schneider, who has been appointed program director at the National Science Foundation.
Schneider will begin her duties Aug. 10 in the Washington, D.C., area as head of the NSF’s social psychology program in the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences.
“Dr. Schneider will be joining the preeminent federal agency for supporting social psychology and will have a remarkable opportunity to influence funding strategies and learn about truly cutting-edge research in that field,” said Robert Fyffe, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School.
Schneider called her appointment a tremendous honor and responsibility.
“It’s still a little bit surreal to me,” she said. “I’m thrilled about what I can learn and bring back to Wright State.”
The NSF is the U.S. government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all non-medical fields of science and engineering. With an annual budget of about $7 billion, it funds about 20 percent of all federally supported basic research at U.S. colleges and universities.
“I really see the eagle’s eye view, see how important it is to have somebody worrying about the bigger connected issues,” she said. “Connecting what the federal government does is really important with what the education system does.”
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others. NSF research topics range from emotion, attitudes and persuasion to psychophysiology and neuroscience.
Schneider will be responsible for long-range planning and budget development along with managing the review and approval of research grant proposals. She will communicate the NSF vision of innovation and training the next generation of scholars as well as advise the university community of research opportunities with an eye toward advancing the frontier of social psychology.
“We eagerly anticipate her return to WSU to help advise and guide our faculty, using the experience she will gain in D.C. towards greater success in securing NSF and related grant funding for their work,” said Fyffe.
Schneider will work to support grants that enable social psychologists, engineers and other types of scientists to answer important social questions together.
“It takes multiple minds, multiple disciplines,” she said. “A diverse group, diverse thinking, diverse experiences really drive innovation. That’s what I’m really keen on.”
Schneider will live near the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and commute by subway to the foundation offices in Arlington, Virginia. Her supervisor is the interim division director of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences.
The one-year NSF position is renewable for up to three years. During her time at NSF, Schneider will continue her research at Wright State, returning to the university for about a week each month on average.
“My laboratory is doing some research right now where we are looking at mindfulness meditation and mindset and their effects on academic performance of college students,” she said.
Schneider’s prestigious position will give Wright State a presence in the stratosphere of the NSF and spread the word about the university’s work in social psychology circles at schools around the nation. It will also enable Schneider to master the grant process and share best practices with Wright State researchers.
“One of the things I think would be great is to get more people to submit grant proposals,” she said. “I think there are a lot of people who don’t submit grants who have great ideas.”