Dr. Ioulia Kovelman, Professor of Psychology, is the recipient of the 2024 Amy L. and Kirk L. Wolfe Prize. Dr. Kovelman was nominated for her exemplary role as an educator, mentor, and advisor to students in the BCN major. She is a dedicated teacher and researcher who specializes in developmental neuroscience through the use of fNIRS methodology.  Dr. Kovelman has spent her career teaching large undergraduate gateway classes in developmental psychology (enrollment of 300) as well as smaller senior seminars that focus directly on neuroscience (enrollment of 30). Her consistent teaching of these classes across her career in the department shows her dedication to undergraduate teaching.

Dr. Kovelman views her teaching as a reciprocal exchange, involving mutual discovery, and sees teaching and mentoring as a central aspect of her academic career. She completely reengineered how she taught the Developmental Gateway course and with the support from a grant, has designed a "flipped" classroom format where students watch recorded lectures prior to class and then engage in active learning activities during class time. This type of classroom format is often a very engaging format for students but can be very difficult to manage for the instructor.  Dr. Kovelman's student evaluations are consistently strong.

Even though Dr. Kovelman's formal teaching is strong and impactful, her informal teaching of undergraduates in her research lab is where she has some of the strongest impact on those who are planning on attending graduate school or medical school in the future.  She enrolls many students in independent studies in her lab where they learn the skills of using the fNIRS technology for collecting data on children. Her research lab is diverse due to her dedication to diversity as well as the bilingual focus of her research and provides a pathway for psychology students to get the research experience needed for graduate and medical school. The pathways that are afforded to these BCN students is important and the training they receive in the lab is exceptional.