Pedrotti is associate professor of psychology and child development at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. She teaches several courses, including multicultural psychology, positive psychology, introduction to clinical and counseling psychology, and research methods.
"I really love my job," says Pedrotti, who earned her PhD in counseling psychology at the University of Kansas in 2003. "I get to teach, read and write and interact with students."
She is particularly passionate about promoting multicultural issues in her classes as well as on the wider campus by serving on various faculty committees that advocate for diversity and inclusivity.
"I try to get the point across that culture matters and makes us who we are," she says. "My goal is to help students recognize that their worldview is not the only one. To me, that's one of the main points of a university education."
During the last quarter, Pedrotti has been on sabbatical from teaching to co-edit a book on the intersection of multiculturalism and positive psychology. "I'm enjoying it because I have more time to think," she says. "In my day-to-day life, with all the different pieces of my job, it's hard to carve out that time to sit still." She is also using her newfound time to write a paper on teaching undergraduate multicultural psychology in ways that affect student change.
She and her husband, Brian, are also in the thick of parenting their three children: Ben, 6, Cate, 4 and Chloe, almost 2. "I spend a lot of time at ballet class and soccer games," and doing family hikes and walks on the beach — which is just five minutes away. She and her husband keep their relationship strong by meeting for lunch most days of the week and being members of a local wine club. When she just needs some time for herself, Pedrotti, who swam competitively as a child, swims laps at her local pool, usually twice a week. "It really makes me feel strong."
How does she find balance? By taking a mindful approach. "I've always known about mindfulness, but until I had kids, I don't think I really got it. Children help you to realize that you have to be in the moment, especially with them, or the cloud that looks like an alligator will shift and you'll no longer be able to see it."