One of Vaughn’s favorite parts about working at IC is the Research Team course she teaches. The course allows Vaughn to work with students over the course of three semesters and develop close relationships. In the course, students work not just as research assistants, but as collaborators on all aspects of research design and results.
“It’s really good stuff that they’re coming up with,” Vaughn said. “It’s just so many of those moments that you’re working with a student and they’re really excited or they just had a light bulb moment. It’s those little milestones with students that are the real highlights of my work here.”
Because of this kind of in-depth work, it’s no surprise that a significant number of Vaughn’s students who have worked with her for two or more semesters have gone on to attend either graduate or professional school. She refers to her former students as her research peers.
Vaughn, who has received much support from fellow employees at the college and former students, stated that receiving this award publicizes the caliber of the college’s psychology program.
“I feel like I am getting to show Ithaca College at its best,” she said.
Mary Turner DePalma, professor and chair of the psychology department, offered high praise for Vaughn.
“While professor Vaughn has achieved excellence in all three pillars — teaching, scholarship and service — of her academic career, she has centered each pillar on serving our undergraduate students,” DePalma said. “She challenges her students to become the best possible version of themselves, and she is truly dedicated to supporting their efforts to do so.
“Our alumni hold her in very high regard,” DePalma continued. “They offer high praise for her exemplary teaching practices, and remark that she genuinely cared about them inside and outside the classroom — and that she continues to do so.”