Member since: 1997
Teaching in her blood: Eby is an industrial/organizational psychology professor at the University of Georgia, even though she began her career dead set against becoming a professor. “My family is a bunch of academics,” she says. “I wanted to chart my own path.” She planned to become a clinical psychologist, then shifted to I/O. “I wanted to go into the real world and help organizations be more effective,” she remembers. It wasn’t until late in her training that she realized she loved research and teaching. She’s been at Georgia since earning her doctorate in 1996.
Focusing on mentorship: Eby’s research focuses on workplace mentoring. She uses her findings to be a good mentor herself. “One thing I’ve learned is the importance of fit,” says Eby, co-author of the “Blackwell Handbook of Mentoring” (Oxford, 2007). “I try to tailor my mentoring style to students who want or need more or less mentoring.” Other key strategies include establishing clear expectations, empowering students to ask for what they need and maintaining clear boundaries between the personal and professional.
National Institute on Drug Abuse grants: Eby has NIDA funding to conduct research on the supervisor-counselor relationship in substance abuse clinics and on the impact of a New York law that prohibits smoking in state-funded facilities. She’s particularly excited to explore the effects of the new law, which she considers “draconian.” Counselors and patients in state facilities smoke much more than the general public, she says. In fact, before the law, smoking was often used to reward patients. “It’s a massive change that threatens [counselors’] treatment philosophy and shakes up the way they work in a high-stress job,” she says.
Her love story: A trip to Eby’s Michigan hometown two years ago had an unexpected outcome: a reunion with her high school sweetheart. Breaking up after graduation, she headed to college, he entered the military and they lost touch but didn’t forget about each other. “He had gone to high school reunions for 20 years hoping to see me, but I’d never gone,” says Eby. Very soon after their chance encounter, they were sure they’d be together forever. “People tell me I should give up grant-writing and start writing romance novels,” says Eby.
In the 25 years since she had seen him, Jeff Fogelsong had become an alpaca farmer. “Many horse trailers full of alpacas later,” he and 23 animals relocated to Georgia to be with Eby and her 9-year-old daughter. Says Eby, “On weekends, I’m sometimes out giving shots to animals and shoveling alpaca poop.”
Each month, “Random Sample” profiles an APA member. You may be next.