Department of Psychology

Hope to study the human brain? Feel called to serve people with physical, psychological, or social difficulties? Want to help a corporation or firm understand customers better? In the Department of Psychology at Indiana University Kokomo, you'll get to study the basic principles of human behavior and cognition with learning to research, write, and speak effectively. We'll prepare you for all kinds of careers - making a degree in psychology very versatile and marketable.

One of the coolest things about becoming a psychology student at IU Kokomo is you'll have a chance to form one-on-one relationships with faculty mentors. Depending on your goals, you'll have the choice of doing an independent research project or get to work closely with a faculty member to secure an internship that resembles your desired field as an undergraduate. These two options leave you with hands-on, up-close experience and relationships that will last beyond graduation.

You’ll study a full range of topics like:

  • Lifespan development,
  • Abnormal psychology,
  • Neuroscience,
  • Personality psychology,
  • And social psychology

When you graduate, you’ll understand the major theoretical approaches to human behavior and cognition, have abilities to gather, analyze, synthesize, and apply your knowledge, have a healthy skepticism about conclusions presented without supporting data, and communicate effectively with a variety of audiences. At IU Kokomo, you can earn a:

When you are a part of the Department of Psychology at IU Kokomo, you’ll be encouraged to actively participate and get involved on campus, whether it’s in an internship experience, an in-depth research project side-by-side with a faculty mentor, study-abroad opportunities, or student organizations. You can get involved with the Psychology Club and the psychology honor society for upperclassmen, Psi Chi. You can contact Rosalyn Davis, Ph.D. to be added to the Psychology Club Canvas site!

Watch the Psychology Video with Audio Description

Description of the video:

IU Kokomo: Under the Sea Psychology - Katie Kirchner Transcript

Indiana University Kokomo

Fulfilling the Promise

Katie Kirchner is shown in front of an aquarium as she is interviewed: The best thing about working with stingrays is being able to feed them. Usually, sometimes we can either feed them in the tank while we’re diving or…

While she is speaking, a diver is shown feeding stingrays in the tank.

Narrator voiceover: Meet Katie. She’s a Psychology major who dreams of being a dolphin trainer. Currently she’s between volunteering and interning at the Indianapolis Zoo where she takes care of animals, like these stingrays. We brought our intern, Alexis Nash, with us to find the connection between Psychology and training.

Alexis Nash is shown interviewing: I mean; why did you choose Psychology to work with animals?

Katie Kirchner responds: Well, I didn’t know Psychology had anything to do with training animals at first and so I actually went to a dolphin show and I asked one of the trainers, “How do I do what you do?” And they said just get a four-year degree in Psychology. It was in that first semester I talked to Dr. Downey about wanting to do this.

Christina Downey is interviewed in her office: This was new to me.

Narrator voiceover: So we met up with Dr. Downey and asked how a land-locked psychology program is working to help out a student with a marine mammal dream.

Dr. Downey is shown interacting with Katie in her office.

Christina Downey: I have colleagues who understand the principles but none of us have direct experience with that so a lot of credit has to go to Katie for really challenging us to make us support her and make us prepare her in the best way that we could.

Alexis Nash interviews Katie: How has Dr. Downey helped you through this entire process?

Divers are shown in tanks swimming with stingrays.

Katie responds: She’s been amazing. She has helped me from the start. She told me I had to wait a couple years at first before I could start the internship and then I had to take some courses beforehand in Psychology. And she’s just been, ever since day one, there for me. That’s what’s great about her. She cares so much for her students.

Dr. Downey is interviewed in her office: There are many students who come in…

Narrator voiceover: We asked Dr. Downey to break down what kind of a student Katie represents.

Dr. Downey is shown teaching in a classroom setting.

Dr. Downey: They see themselves as here’s what I am, here’s what I’m good at, here are the things I’m not good at, and that’s just the end of the story. I’m always going to be that way. Katie didn’t come in that way. She came in with a growth mindset which says here are the things I think I’m good at so far but I think I can change. I can improve if I put some work into it.

Narrator voiceover: Now, back to the Indy Zoo, Alexis asked her supervisor, Tamara King, how Katie’s education will help.

Scenes rotate from Alexis touring the tanks and watching various animals in exhibits.

Tamara King is interviewed: It will help with the training and the behavior because it’s not only just caring for them, you have to recognize their behavior and make sure they’re healthy and not acting off. You basically have to learn the animal. You just can’t throw them fish or clean up after them. So that will definitely help her.

Professor Downey is interviewed in her office: If there’s some room for an education to feel some pride, that’s what I feel pride about. It’s knowing students leave us better people, well-equipped to make the world better. That’s what we want.

Narrator voiceover: So, Alexis, any final questions for Katie?

Alexis interviews Katie at the Zoo: What do you want people to know about the zoo and about your experience?

Katie responds: I want people to know how much of an amazing experience it is to work at the zoo, work with the staff, work with the animals in particular. Not a lot of people get to do something like this. You see them through glass but when you’re on the other side, it means a lot more than just watching them. You get to work with them and I think that’s what makes being an intern, being a volunteer here all that much more fun.

Katie waves to the camera from inside the tank as the words, “You Matter Here.” appear on the screen.

Penguins are shown swimming in a tank as the words, “Produced by the Office of Media and Marketing, Indiana University Kokomo,” fill the screen.

The following credits are shown:

Indiana University Kokomo

Fulfilling the Promise

Katie and Alexis are shown looking down into the stingray tank as the following words appear on the screen:

Special thanks to:

The Indianapolis Zoo

  • Carla Knapp
  • Craig Banister
  • Tamara King
  • Holly Kennedy

Music by:

“Republic” by Good Old Neon


Ready to begin your journey?

A Lifetime of Success

Robots assist psychology students in learning about the brain

Robot on the classroom floor

That’s not just a robot zipping around Amy Salmeto-Johnson’s classroom. It’s a moving simulation of a human nervous system.

Students in Salmeto-Johnson’s behavioral neuroscience class at Indiana University Kokomo get a hands-on look at how the nervous system works by programming the Finch robots, which resemble white stingrays the size of a dinner plate.

Read about this class

Comic books teach social skills to children with autism

Open comic book on table

The girl in the purple romper picks up a cheeseburger in the school cafeteria.

Then, tragedy strikes — the burger slips from her hands, falling to the floor. She takes a deep breath, counts to five, and picks up her food, with help from another student. Then she walks back to the line for another lunch.


While this may not be typical comic book fare, it’s just one of the social skills lessons being taught to children with autism, through cartoons written by Indiana University Kokomo psychology students.

Read about the project

Senior takes advantage of KEY travel experiences

Erica Washington posing

From visiting a village for dementia patients in Amsterdam, learning the latest in psychology research at a professional conference in Chicago, and hearing an Oscar-award-winning actress in person in Bloomington, Erica Washington’s worldview has expanded at Indiana University Kokomo.

Washington, from Carmel, took advantage of nearly every travel opportunity available to her while earning her degree in psychology.

Read about Erica

Music, dance bring therapy practices to life

Student happily learning in class

What do drawing, dancing, reading, playing games, and drama have to do with psychology? All are part of potential future careers as creative art therapists.

About 20 Indiana University Kokomo students experienced the field of creative art therapy this semester, as part of a class taught by Brooke Komar, visiting lecturer of psychology.

“Theories sometimes fall flat on paper when we’re reading about it, but when you get to experience it and see it in practice, it comes alive for the students,” she said.

Read about the class