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Reed Alumni Return to Honor Professor with Symposium


Four psychologists to address and discuss provocative topics on cognition.


PORTLAND, OR (September 6, 2006) -- Four of her former students will gather at Reed College Thursday (Sept. 7) at 5 p.m. for a provocative symposium, “Brainy Minds: Cognition and Development with a Neurotwist,” in honor of retiring Professor of Psychology Dell Rhodes.

Petr Janata, a 1990 Reed graduate who is on the faculty of the University of California, Davis, will address “Music, Memories, and the Brain.” Jeri Janowsky, a 1978 grad now at OHSU, will speak on “Thinking with Your Gonads:  the Effects of Sex Steroids on Cognitive and Brain Aging.” Marie Balaban, a member of Reed’s class of 1982 who teaches at Eastern Oregon University, will discuss “Name That Thing!  Category Building in Infants and Parents.” And Steven Luck, Reed class of 1986 and also at UC Davis, will address “Attention in the Mind and the Brain.”

Rhodes retired in May after more than 30 years on the Reed College faculty. She is teaching a final seminar—as emerita—before leaving the classroom behind for good.

Rhodes, an alumna of Colorado College, joined the Reed faculty in 1975 after earning her Ph.D. in physiological psychology at UCLA. She taught Introductory Psychology and upper division courses in Psychobiology, Psychopharmacology, Sensation and Perception, Emotions, and Face Perception. She has guided approximately 90 undergraduate senior thesis projects, and more than half of her thesis advisees went on to graduate programs. In 1990-91, she served as associate dean of students.

Rhodes, who has published extensively in the fields of neuroscience, psychophysiology, and experimental psychology, undertook postdoctoral fellowships and research at Yale University, University of Washington, UC Davis/Martinez V.A. Hospital, and UC Berkeley, which expanded her interests and research skills in human psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience. Her recent research investigates face recognition, face-based social categorization, and spatial organization in visual processing and attention.

Outside the classroom at Reed, Rhodes served on many committees, including those elected by the faculty, chaired the department of psychology, joined the Student Services staff for a year, and was the faculty point person for the design and construction of the new psychology building. She was a part of several initiatives, at Reed and elsewhere, encouraging the integration of research into undergraduate psychology curriculum.

“Dell Rhodes is irreplaceable,” said associate professor of psychology Kathryn Oleson. “She sets extremely high standards for her students, the psychology department, Reed, and herself, and then she brings to bear her passion for research and for teaching her students, her profound brilliance, and her unparalleled industriousness. She’s an incredible role model and also a dear friend.”