CEHSP Faculty spotlight: Maria Lechtreck

Meet Maria Lechtreck, an assistant professor in psychology who started at UMD in the fall of 2023

Why did you choose to work at UMD?

I lived in Alabama for decades (almost my entire life so far) but I never acclimated to those long, hot summers. Last year, I finally moved up north and taught in Milwaukee, where I fell in love with northern lake living. For this year, I was delighted to be offered a position at UMD where I could continue that northern lake living but teach in much smaller classes where I can have more meaningful contact with my students and can create more meaningful course plans and activities so students have true learning experiences they can take with them instead of a leaky bucket of facts.

What do you like most about your job?

Interacting with my students, and especially helping them grow in their realization (1) that they can succeed in academia and beyond, and (2) that we should respect and learn from the lived and learned experiences of others.

What is your research and/or teaching focus?

I will teach a wide variety of courses each year, including research methods; personality; cognition; psychology of gender; history and systems of psychology; and a course on career paths in psychology. In the future, I wish to do research in the exciting field of teaching and learning, where we examine brain science about how students learn and work to find ways to improve classroom instruction and overall education.

Do you have any advice for students?

Oh yes! Do study abroad! Travel as much as you can and visit non-Western cultures if at all possible. And take a gap year before going to graduate school, spending that time traveling, working in a research lab or internship, or doing a NOLS course where you learn leadership skills while enjoying backpacking, sailing, or other outdoor adventures.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love being in the great outdoors, and cannot wait to explore the full length of our nearly 8-mile Duluth Lakewalk and the North Shore Scenic Drive. I also enjoy museums and nonfiction reading.