Meet Dr. Lapan
As the P.U.P.P.Y. Lab grows, we want families to stay connected with us. Our research assistants interviewed Lab Founder and Director, Dr. Candace Lapan, so she could share some things about her background and interests with the community.
I started out my undergraduate program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a music education major, but eventually switched to a double major in Psychology and Communication Studies. Once I did a research assistantship with Dr. Janet Boseovski in the Psychology Department, I was hooked on developmental psychology and decided to pursue my graduate degree. My research interests were well suited for Dr. Boseovski’s lab, so I continued on there for my Masters and Doctoral degrees.
After graduating, I completed a Visiting Professor role at Francis Marion University to further hone my teaching skills and then a post doctoral research program at the University of Virginia. Finally, I ended up at Wingate University because it was a perfect fit for for my interest in teaching and mentoring student research.
My mentor, Dr. Janet Boseovksi, was my biggest influence in getting me to pursue graduate education. She supported me in getting an undergraduate research grant to help fund me in completing my own study. This experience helped prepare me for graduate studies and made me a competitive applicant for various programs. She also was influential in encouraging me to pursue doctoral studies when I was unsure if I could accomplish that. She also became my graduate advisor as I chose to stay at UNCG for my graduate studies and she was essential in training me in my field and helping me to navigate the job market after graduation.
From my first undergraduate course in developmental psychology, I was so excited to see the fun and creative methods use to understand development. Unlike much adult research where we can just ask people what they think or know, it takes ingenuity to design studies to determine these things in young children. I also always had an interest in understanding how it was that we get to where we are as adults, and that requires looking at how many processes unfold throughout childhood.
I have always had a passion for research and establishing the P.U.P.P.Y. Lab has allowed me to continue that work. I also engage in a lot of community service and community collaborations, so it also provides and opportunity for me to connect with local family and child oriented organizations. Finally, I find the greatest joy in mentoring students, teaching them about the field and helping them achieve their career goals. The lab allows me to do all that by involving students in the lab.
Parents and their children can get involved by signing up for an appointment on our webpage. For their appointment they will come to our lab space and their child can participate in a fun study and also get a snack and prize for participating. If Wingate University students are interested in being involved with research, I have spots for research assistants every semester, including summer terms. Any interested students should just email me.
My goals are to continue to grow the research projects that we work on, involve more students, and continue to grow relationships with a wider variety of community organizations. In particular, we are looking for daycares and preschools that would be willing to partner so that we can conduct field studies on site.
My favorite part of my job is seeing the students I mentor learn, grow, and achieve their dreams. It is beyond fulfilling to contribute in a positive way to a student’s life and aspirations.
I originally wanted to be a music education major. I have a passion for music in all its forms. Seeing live music and concerts is one of my favorite pastimes. I also love singing, playing guitar, and writing music. I’m always up for a night of karaoke!
Thank you Dr. Lapan for this interview and your contributions in building the P.U.P.P.Y. Lab!
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