College of Education and Human Services
“When I was a child, I played ‘researcher’ and pretended to survey my friends about their thoughts and experiences!”
In college, she studied developmental psychology and ultimately narrowed her interests to personality traits and risk-taking.
“My specific area of expertise is the role of self-regulation, or self-control, and how its association with sexual risk-taking changes over time as sexual behaviors become a typical part of life in late adolescence and early adulthood.”
Her field is of interest to students majoring in Youth and Family Studies who want to know “what makes young people tick” and who have a passion for helping make life better for adolescents and emerging adults.
“There are lots of challenges inherent to this developmental period in a young person’s life, but there are also fantastic possibilities. I encourage students to think about how to help with those challenges, and how to encourage that potential.”
As a teacher, Moilanen says she is a bit of a demonstrator and a facilitator.
“I point students in the direction of the knowledge that I see as valuable. But I structure assignments to promote their critical thinking about that content and to allow them to draw conclusions. This is the main goal of a college education – to be able to think in this manner – and students need training in order to be able to do it successfully. Thus, I build my online classes to meet this goal for our students.”