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2005 Graduate Student Scholarship Winner

A funny thing happened on Erin Richard’s way to becoming a consultant, which was her goal when she began doctoral studies at Louisiana State University. She became involved in research work and shifted her focus to teaching and research.

The beneficiary of this change is Florida Institute of Technology, where Richard joined the faculty this fall as an assistant professor of psychology.

“I really like doing research and hope to contribute to people’s well being in the workplace,” said Richard, who expects to receive her doctorate in December or May.

Her interests include emotions and attitudes in the workplace, particularly how employees can regulate their emotions. For her dissertation, she has designed a training program to teach service employees to handle such factors as rude customers and boredom by reinterpreting these events in light of different goals.

Her dissertation supervisor is James Diefendorff at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Richard said the Foundation scholarship comes at an opportune time. “It will go toward defraying expenses for my dissertation survey work,” she said, adding that one of her immediate needs is to develop a new data collection site. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina may have temporarily altered the service climate in Baton Rouge, prompting the need for a change.

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