Markus Kemmelmeier came to the University in 2001, compelled by The Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program. In his 21 years here, Kemmelmeier has supported students as a professor in a wide variety of research and dissertations, and for the last six years, he has helped grow the program as director.
The Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program is 54 years old and is, as Kemmelmeier describes, vibrant, filled to the brim with talented students and faculty members. As the program’s director, Kemmelmeier is dedicated to his classes and guiding students through research.
“I am a social psychologist who deals with, as I tend to say, social things in the domain of culture, politics and general intergroup relations. What that means often is that I study cultural differences, cultural commonalities, the power of cultural symbols. For example, right now, I looked at the new culture of mask-wearing. I’m putting final touches on a paper on really looking at mask-wearing as a cultural behavior." Kemmelmeier mentioned that he also researched political behavior and how media helps shape what people tend to believe about certain politicians.
Kemmelmeier stresses that the work he, his students and his colleagues do at the University has broader impact, “Our research has more of a national, international focus.” He adds that is why the University is such a critical piece of our community, state and beyond, especially when it comes to building a workforce. “Building a workforce that is able to contribute to the 21st century economy means you have entrepreneurial skills, you have initiative, you can think out of the box. You have creative skills that are in much higher demand than ever before and that is absolutely critical. I think that in every country, every state really, the best predictor of economic success is ultimately the education level of its workforce. So I am always happy to argue that education is, among all the things, really the most important to social issues.”