Posted on 7/19/2017
Janetta Lun is a Senior Behavioral Scientist at the National Institutes of Health. She is currently developing and evaluating evidence-based programs and education to enhance scientific workforce diversity. Janetta received her B.A. from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
What led you to choose a career in personality and social psychology?
I became interested in social psychology when I took my first social psychology class during my undergraduate years at University of Michigan. I found many theories and experiments fascinating, especially the ones that explain how our minds make sense of social behavior. I was also intrigued by the idea that we can experimentally study human minds and behavior in the lab.
Briefly summarize your current research, and any future research interests you plan to pursue.
These days I am most interested in studying what makes implicit bias education effective and how we can use such education efforts to promote an inclusive culture in science and scientific settings. I’m also leading an outreach effort to increasing scientific workforce diversity at NIH and I would like to know whether or not the effort works and how.
Why did you join SPSP?
I first joined SPSP to attend, if I remember correctly, the second SPSP convention because my undergraduate mentor, Connie Wolfe (now an Associate Professor at Muhlenberg College), included me as a collaborator on a poster. And the rest is history.
What is your most memorable SPSP Annual Convention experience?
My most memorable experience was receiving the Diversity Travel Award. I was very touched that all of my then fellow graduate students attended the ceremony and cheered for me. Good times.
How has being a member of SPSP helped to advance your career?
Having the opportunity to meet other researchers at the convention, to learn about others’ research, to present and publish my research, and to participate in the Summer Institute (SISPP) were just a few things that kept me going. I would admit that graduate school was not an entirely easy, straightforward experience for me. There are so many implicit norms that it took me a while to figure things out. There were many moments when I questioned my own ability and wondered whether I was “fit” to become a social psychologist. SPSP has provided opportunities and resources that set me onto a path of success and kept me in this science.
Do you have any advice for individuals who wish to pursue a career in personality and social psychology?
There is more than one career path in personality and social psychology. I wish that I had known earlier how important professional networks are and how to cultivate and maintain one (and I’m still learning and working on it). Professional societies like SPSP is an important avenue to foster and expand one’s network.
Outside of psychology, how do you spend your free time?
I like to hang out with my 6-year old son and my spouse, practice yoga, eat and drink (not heavily).