By: Tiffany King
September 30, 2020

Meet A Mariner Faculty Q&A with Dr. Aurora Ramos Nuñez, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Meet Dr. Aurora Ramos Nuñez. She is originally from San Luis San Pedro, Guerrero, Mexico and has been teaching at the College of Coastal Georgia for close to four years. Read how Dr. Nuñez is making a difference at the College.

What is your academic background?

I obtained my Associates in Arts Degree from San Diego Community College, my Bachelor in Arts Degree with a major in Psychology from San Diego State University, and my Master in Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Psychology from The University of Houston. I completed a postdoctoral training at Rice University, examining neural mechanisms related to language.

What do you teach at the College of Coastal Georgia?

I teach Introduction to General Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Foundations of Brain and Behavior, Research Methods and Stats, Learning and Behavior, and a Global Issues Brain Health class.

Why did you choose this profession/field?

I decided to work towards a doctoral degree and to take the academic route, because I wanted to return what I had received as I was an undergraduate student. As I was working towards my bachelor’s degree, I obtained help from some faculty and staff via programs specialized to encourage students from underrepresented groups—like myself—to go into research and academia careers, where we could serve as role models for newer generations. This way, the shortage of Hispanic/Latinas in such areas could begin to decrease.

What are you teaching in your classes?

In my classes, I teach students how to use psychology in their personal, social, and professional lives. With the many courses I teach, I encourage students to learn how to get to know themselves; how to relate to others; how to decide on their future careers; how to understand the importance of classes, such as Research Methods and Stats in their everyday lives, as well as in their careers; how to understand the importance of keeping healthy habits (quality sleep, exercise, social interactions) to have a healthy and sharp brain; and how to understand the world around them.

If you’re doing research, what is your research topic?

My current research involves the use of online surveys and includes my own research interests as well as those of my students. My research interest follows up on neuroscience research I conducted while I was at the University of Houston and later at Rice University, using neuroimaging techniques to study brain and cognitive processes connections. Here at the College of Coastal Georgia, I have started research projects with exchange students from Pakistan, examining language abilities, such as bilingualism and multilingualism in people from the United States and other countries. Specifically, I am interested in learning how language status shapes how people view themselves and how others view them as well. The variables that I examine include self-esteem, perception, attitudes, tolerance, acceptance, etc.

My students’ topics vary a lot. They can be anything examining the relationship between sleep and relationship conflict; studying connections among Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and altruism; looking into the effect of negative feedback on a person’s flow-like state; and emotional intelligence and its association to social skills, mindfulness, and problematic phone usage.

You are participating in Hispanic Heritage Month this year. What are you presenting and why is this an important topic?

During the Hispanic Heritage Month, I will be presenting a short talk about various Hispanic and Latino/Latina who have migrated and made a life in the United States. I will also be sharing my own story as a Latina immigrant. Given the current atmosphere, shedding light to topics of immigration and specifically to discussions about people who immigrate to this country looking for a better life, as well as wanting to contribute to the prosperity of this country, is very essential.

What do you enjoy about working at the College?

Working at the College, I enjoy many things. This includes the fact that our College is small and this allows me to have a lot of interactions with our students. By interacting with our students, I am able to advise them on future careers, teach them about psychology, and get to know them. I love working with my colleagues who, like me, work very hard to deliver the best learning experience for our students. And I love our staff members who dedicate their time to get things done so that our students have all they need to succeed. Altogether, I love the community we have formed in our College.

What do you wish other people knew about the College?

I wish other people knew about that at our College, we have a tight community that works together to help our students advance and meet their career and personal goals.

What advice do you have for students in college?

My advice for students in college is to be persistent and never give up. To also understand that there may be some things they do not know now, but they will in the future. Dr. Carol Dweck referred to this as the “Power of Yet”, which means, “I do not know how to do this but I will”. Thus, don’t be too hard on yourself, you will get there, I promise.

What are your hobbies?

I love reading fiction and nonfiction books, and learning about new things. I enjoy reading news articles from National Geographic, travel magazines, New Scientist, New York times, and Discover magazine. Also on topics such as the universe, animal behavior, psychology, neuroscience, travel, cities, anthropology, etc. I love doing many activities with my spouse such as taking walks on Jekyll Island, riding our bikes, hiking, taking road trips, having deep conversations, and enjoying our morning coffee on the weekends at our porch.

Favorite books?

“The Water Dance” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Well of Lonliness” by Radclyffe Hall, “David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell, “In the Name of Salome” by Julia Alvarez, “The House of Spirits” by Isabel Allende, “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse, “The Years with Laura Diaz” by Carlos Fuentes, “Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain” by David Eagleman, “Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain” by Michael Gazzaniga, and many more.

What is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation is to travel through South American countries.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“I don’t study to know more, but to ignore less.” “Yo no studio para saber mas, sino para ignorer menos.” -Juana Inez de La Cruz.