Psych foundations alum describes path to becoming an Associate Professor

Mike Mensink, an alumni of the psychological foundations of education program, graduated with a B.A. in psychology from St. Olaf College in 2002.

“After undergrad, I worked a number of jobs–including a stint as a Best Buy salesman and TSA security screener,” Mensink recalls.

In 2003, he was hired as a laboratory instructor and animal facility manager at Macalester College. His experiences in that job kindled his interest in pursuing a graduate degree, specifically focused on understanding learning. Initially pursuing an M.A. degree, Mensink switched to the Ph.D. track in 2006 and finished in 2011.

Today, he’s an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Mensink usually teaches four classes a semester on a range of topics, including: Introduction to Psychology, Child Development, Learning and Memory, Research Methods and Statistics, Experimental Psychology, and Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Along with regular service to his department and college, he is also the chair of the Institutional Review Board and supervises student researchers in the UW-Stout Language and Memory Laboratory. In addition, Mensink was elected Secretary of the Society for Text and Discourse in 2017, which is an international society of researchers focused on written and spoken language.

When asked how he uses his degree in his work Mensink says, “I use my knowledge of effective teaching, learning, and assessment on a daily basis, and I have given several workshops at UW-Stout on what we know about how people learn.”

He continues, “I’ve also had the opportunity to explore the larger field of Applied Psychology, and to help revise our program to incorporate Educational Psychology, Applied Cognitive Psychology, and Engineering Psychology to provide courses that can be helpful to other programs like Engineering, Art, and Design.”

Outside of work, Mensink enjoys craft beer, reading for leisure, spending time with family and friends, playing with his daughters, and softball. Words Mensink lives by: “Live your best life! Your path may be completely different from what you planned and that’s not a bad thing.”