College of Education and Human Services

Kristin Moilanen

Kristin Moilanen head shot
Kristin Moilanen working in her yard.

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.

“When I was a child, I played ‘researcher’ and pretended to survey my friends about their thoughts and experiences!” Kristin says.

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,” she says.

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,” she says. “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.”

Importance of Mentoring
I’ve had wonderful mentors across my career and mentoring doesn’t stop when the formal relationship ends. I also have the obligation to pass this along to the next generation and it is a pleasure to do so.

Research Interests
Moilanen, K. L. (2015). Predictors of latent growth in sexual risk behaviors in late adolescence and early adulthood. Journal of Sex Research, 52, 83-97. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2013.826167. In this paper I was able to synthesize my multiple interests in self-regulation, sexual risk-taking, and understanding individual change over time.

Book Currently Reading
Right now, I’m reading the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I love fantasy fiction.

Pedagogical Changes on the Horizon
My discipline keeps moving closer and closer to simulation tools.

Technology She Utilizes in the Classroom
Videos, class discussion boards, and Blackboard Collaborate for meetings, to livestream face-to-face courses, or bring guest lecturers “to class” from thousands of miles away.

How Students Have Changed in the Past Five Years
Today’s students don’t have it easy – they are juggling school along with numerous other demands and they often have to work hard to earn their degree.