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Faculty faves | Jason Sumontha

Faculty Faves
Jason Sumontha

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Posted 11:10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022

Currently: Assistant Professor, Psychology | 2022 Eagle Teaching Excellence Award | Year started at UWL: 2019
Major in college: Psychology

Favorite class to teach: 

PSY 495 Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, the most engaging and fun class I've had the chance to teach in a long time. It was a senior seminar course with about 14 students. For their final project, students made educational games that taught others about the juvenile justice system and the experiences of youth in it. On the last day of class students got to play their games with a bunch of faculty and staff—teaching them about what they learned that semester. Everyone loved that day — students, faculty, staff. It was a super fun time, and I was so proud of my students and what they made. One faculty member even suggested they patent their project and market it to police departments as a training tool! 


Favorite class in college: 

Cross-Cultural Psychology because I felt like I could see myself in psychology for the first time. No other psychology class made me feel more belonging, connection, or excitement about the field.


Class you'd like to retake: 

My first graduate statistics course because I hated learning R (a coding language) at first and that's how we learned statistics in grad school. But now I really love knowing this skill and programming in R is less of a nightmare and more a fun puzzle. I feel like I could learn even more going back to it again with my better understanding of R and coding!  


Favorite spot at UWL: 

100% — Global Grounds Coffee. It's a chill vibe for meetings, holding office hours, working, and just relaxing. I try to hold as many meetings as I can there.


Favorite pastime when not working: 

Playing Dungeons and Dragons. It's a collaborative storytelling game that lets you exercise creativity and imagination in ways you normally don't get to in everyday life. It's not often we get tell a story and improve with friends. There's a magic in it that connects with the pretend play many of us did as kids. And we know from research that pretend play serves many useful functions in child development—practicing skills, developing social-emotional learning, etc. For adults, I think it can still be a place of growth and development. Nothing illustrates that more than D&D!

Read more about Sumontha below

Hobbies 

Reading, growing a mystery citrus tree, cooking, tea and Pokémon. 


Favorite place to visit: 

Any museum. They are amazing places. Filled with rich history and incredible knowledge. There's something that just fills the soul as you walk through exhibits and slowly take time to read and learn. It's like the feeling you get from looking up at a starry sky and seeing an ocean of stars or gazing across a vibrant wetland filled with the sounds of life. We sometimes forget all the wonderous things that fill our world. A museum reminds us to stop and see that wonder that exists in the bones under our feet or the clouds that fill our skies. 


What is something most don’t know about you? 

I suppose the only way of knowing is to come grab a coffee or tea at Global Grounds with me!


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