College of Arts and Letters welcomes new psychology professor

Ashley Lytle has just been announced as the newest addition to the College of Arts and Letters. Following the retirement of Professor Susan Schept, who has been a psychology professor at the university for over 30 years, Lytle will assume her professorship come this fall semester.

Dr. Andrew Russell, Interim Dean of CAL, headed the search committee for a new psychology professor and noted that the position was filled not only because of Professor Schept’s retirement, but also because of popularity and “growth potential” in the area of social sciences.

Ashley Lytle hails from Depauw University in Greencastle, Indiana where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. She noted that in many ways, Depauw is similar to Stevens. “[Depauw] is very similar in size with a similar focus on interdisciplinary fields,” said Lytle.  She went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Psychology at Stony Brook University, where she will be finishing her Ph.D this spring. Her area of research explores how stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination influence academic, social, and health outcomes.

Lytle offers a unique perspective having taken a small repose from academia by working at a market research company in between earning her Master’s and Ph.D. “[My company] worked with some pretty big clients, like Apple, Lowes, and Disney. We focused predominantly on consumer feedback on different products” said Lytle. Russell notes that both her teaching experience as a professor at the undergraduate level and her experience in the workforce were both qualities that made her stand out among the candidates that applied for the position.

In addition to the Introduction to Psychology course, Professor Lytle is excited to bring her own interests and research into the classroom. “I will be teaching Health Psychology, which investigates how social and psychological factors influence health,” said Lytle. “It’s an interesting class that is applicable to everyone, especially for students.”

Dr. Russell noted that the search committee was extended in order to allow for more valued input to be considered. After reading through applications, selecting potential hires, and conducting interviews, four finalists were selected to present at the university in front of members of the search committee as well as any interested Stevens community member. Lytle was selected not only because of her academic and research achievements, but also for her excitement to involve students in social science research. “[She] wants to bring on students, which embodies Stevens as a student-centric research institution,” said Russell.

Lytle is looking forward to balancing her teaching while continuing her research. “I really have the best of both worlds. I get to teach in a classroom setting with really well-rounded, smart students while still continuing to do the research I want to do.”

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Professor Lytle loves to travel and listen to music ranging anywhere between Tame Impala and Kendrick Lamar.