Osprey Profile

Dr. Tracy Alloway

College of Arts and Sciences • Psychology

It was the sunshine that brought me here. I had been working in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh where the weather was cold, windy and eternally misty. When I visited UNF to interview for the job I now have, the Department of Psychology put me up in a hotel on the beach. There were people in bathing suits enjoying the sunny weather, and I’d just come from such dreariness that this seemed like paradise. I knew I had to be here.

 

My first sight of campus just solidified that. I was impressed with the campus’ natural environment and nature trails. It was a lush, beautiful place with tremendous amounts of green space. I’m on my fourth year here at UNF, and I’m still blown away by the beauty of our University.

 

But I haven’t even mentioned the best part yet — the students. I’ve been able to supervise many UNF students in the classroom and on research projects and have enjoyed every part of the process. Before coming to UNF, I had never encountered undergraduates who were so engaged in the research process and willing to assist in my own research focus — working memory. They wanted the kind of hands-on research experiences that undergraduates at other institutions might not be able to access, and they commit themselves to the work, even if they’re juggling outside-the-class research with schoolwork and other jobs.

 

Undergraduates at UNF have so much opportunity compared to other schools. The University isn’t content to just offer great in-class instruction. Professors here acknowledge that a big part of learning is engaging with the material on a practical level.  I want to facilitate that learning with every one of my students, and it has led to much of my research being published with undergraduates’ names attached to the work. They are part of the entire research process from start to finish — data retrieval to analysis. Before applying to graduate school, many of my students have professional examples of their work featured in peer-reviewed journals.

 

This is what UNF is about to me. The group work, in-class discussions and smaller class sizes allows me to offer a specialized experience to my students. It’s an environment designed for student success, and it makes me happy to come to work. Even the beautiful surroundings of campus are conducive to achieving academic success. Being in close connection with the outdoors has been shown to boost cognitive ability and lower stress. I couldn’t have been more right four years ago when I told myself that UNF was the place for me.

Get to Know Dr. Tracy Alloway
  • What brought you to UNF?

    I love UNF’s focus on community-based learning. In my research, I work a lot with different not-for-profit organizations that support individuals with learning needs, such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism. When I was looking into UNF, I was really encouraged to know that they value this type of community engagement.
  • What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had with a student in one of your classes?

    In my class on Psychological Testing, a major project is for them to create a psychological test of their own. I was so thrilled when one student project went from being a class project to a complete research project that was published in a journal and featured in Science Daily, PsychCentral and The Florida Times-Union.
  • What do you enjoy most about being a professor?

    The collaborative aspect — both with my students and with colleagues. With my masters students, I love the process of creating and developing a project that they also feel passionate about. It is an opportunity for them to go full circle from designing a study, to collecting data and analyzing the results to publishing in a peer-reviewed paper. With colleagues, we are so fortunate to have such exciting projects that UNF is involved in, and I love being a part of that. I am currently involved in projects with colleagues in the College of Education and Human Services and in the Brooks College of Health.
  • What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate?

    Think of your end-goal — graduation is not the end goal, it is just a bridge to get you where you would like to be. Think of what you want to do after you graduate and make your experiences count towards that.
Tracy Alloway environmental

The group work, in-class discussions and smaller class sizes allows me to offer a specialized experience to my students.