Dr. Steven Buzinski Journeys into Psychology

Beauty shot of LVC's campus

Dr. Steven Buzinski ’05 has spent years studying psychology, but one of the best parts of his job is realizing that there’s still much about the subject he does not know.

In fact, his career in psychology started as a result of his curiosity. As a basketball player at LVC, he noticed that group interaction on the team would often affect performance and speculated about the underlying causes. Out of interest in the psychology behind group dynamics, he took additional classes in the subject, culminating in a degree change from engineering and a brand new career path.

Years later, he found his way back to LVC for a one-year teaching fellowship. When he heard about the job from his former advisors Dr. Lou Manza, chair and professor of psychology, and Dr. Kerrie Smedley, associate professor of psychology, Dr. Buzinski jumped at the call to teach at his alma mater. He quickly found that, as a primarily social psychologist, he was able to get a better sense of the science’s different disciplines. This, in turn, improved his ability to teach students and helped secure him a professorship at the University of North Carolina (UNC).

Now, as the associate director of undergraduate studies, Dr. Buzinski continues to find that his students have a lot to teach him.

“One student was modeling brain reactions to different psychedelic compounds… the work she was doing was so advanced that it took me weeks to catch up with the underlying theoretical properties of what she was doing,” said Dr. Buzinski.

Dr. Buzinski’s colleagues recently nominated him for the director position, the first batch of interns in the program starting in fall 2014. The program provides a monthly stipend for otherwise unpaid internships in neuroscience and psychology and was made possible by an anonymous grant. Dr. Buzinski greatly enjoys watching undergraduates go through the program and come out with applicable, real world experience.

“They’re typically on the cusp of moving into a graduate program or their career, so they’re engaged and motivated to develop their skills,” said Dr. Buzinski, also noting the boon to students’ résumés. 

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Buzinski specializes in research on self-regulation, perhaps something that feels very relevant in the month after New Year’s. 

“One of the most powerful things we can do is not only publicly commit to a goal, but determine where and when one will pursue it,” said Dr. Buzinski when asked about the science behind his research. This statement may be even more applicable for the various students that Dr. Buzinski has helped through the internship program, enabling them to achieve goals that may have otherwise been difficult. 

With all of the changes in his life, it’s easy to see that Dr. Buzinski is meeting his own goals as well. But, as a researcher and a professor, he is well aware that adapting to change is a necessary part of learning even more.