Laura Vernon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Laura Vernon, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, was FAU’s 2018 Distinguished Teacher of the Year, an award that is determined by FAU students.
As a clinical psychologist, Vernon’s research is on psychological disorders and their treatment. Her lab broadly examines anxiety disorders, emotion, cognition, and mindfulness. Specifically, some of her recent research projects have examined the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based, equine-assisted therapy for different clinical disorders, as well as the usefulness of brief mindfulness interventions for college students, the contributions of fear and disgust to spider phobia, and the cognitive processes of emotion and phobias.
As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, Vernon completed two undergraduate honors theses in Psychology and Sociology and took many small advanced seminar courses. The joys and benefits of that individual attention remain with her and she is delighted to offer the same kinds of research mentorship and small classroom experiences to students at the Honors College. Vernon enjoys introducing students to her beloved field in her General Psychology course, as well as exploring the fascinating nuances of Psychopathology, Psychotherapy, Positive Psychology, and Social Psychology with her students. It is her goal to give students enriching and challenging learning experiences and help them to apply what they learn to themselves and their lives, all while having lots of fun along the way. Vernon reviews for exams by playing Jeopardy (dubbed “Terrorific Trivia” around Halloween), sometimes her students can earn Psych Bucks, and her sorting hat places General Psych students into Psychology Houses (Harry Potter fans: Of course, the Slytherin House has been transformed into Freud House).
Vernon enjoys mentoring students through their academic career and beyond. She is very proud of her many students who have won competitive undergraduate and graduate research fellowships, presented at local and national conferences, gotten accepted to prestigious graduate, law, and medical schools, and gone on to high-achieving careers. She is still in touch with many of her past students. Vernon has been faculty sponsor of student clubs such as the Psychology Club, the Newman Catholic Club, and the Quidditch Club.