Member since: 1984
Hometown: Syracuse, N.Y.
Occupation: Psychology professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse; mother of two grown children.
Think ‘past’: Batcho studies nostalgia, our longing for the “good old days.” Her research finds that people who are prone to nostalgia excel at maintaining personal relationships and choose healthy, social ways of coping with their troubles. “Nostalgia is helpful,” she says. “You can stumble upon the times you overcame obstacles and realize that you are capable of overcoming new problems, too.” Batcho developed the Nostalgia Inventory as a way to measure nostalgia, and her tool has been translated into multiple languages, including Chinese, Polish and Spanish.
Retro tech: Batcho, who has taught at Le Moyne since earning her cognitive psychology doctorate in 1977, took a break from teaching in 1984 to do research on early laptops being developed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. She looked at the features that might make laptops easier to use. “Imagine, before we had user-friendly features, such as drop-down menus, clicking with a mouse and touch screens, people had to input commands by keystrokes,” she says.
A socially responsible professor: Batcho was one of seven Le Moyne professors who led the Le Moyne Values Project, a 15-year study of how to teach moral and social responsibility in the classroom that began in the late ’80s and was the first of its kind. Among the study’s findings were that students think more deeply about ethical decision-making when teachers draw connections between real-world events and classroom material. The researchers’ effort paved the way for similar values education projects at Georgetown University and Pennsylvania State University.
A daredevil, of sorts: In 2004, despite a lifelong fear of heights, Batcho rode a mule 2.9 miles down the edge of the world’s highest sea cliffs at Kalaupapa National Historical Park on the Hawaiian island of Molokai to visit a historic community for people with Hansen’s disease (leprosy). “It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done,” she says. “But I learned a lot about courage that day.”
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