Educational Psychology New Faculty 2019

Sept. 4, 2019

The College of Education welcomes new faculty for the 2019-2020 academic year. This year, the Department of Educational Psychology is joined by Emily Brown, Sara Carpenter, and Karen Rayne.


Photo of Emily Brown
Emily Cheshire Brown - Assistant Professor of Instruction

Emily Cheshire Brown

What institution were you most previously with and what was your role?

In fall 2018 through spring 2019, I taught at St. Edward’s University as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience. In that role, I taught four courses per semester and served on the university’s Faculty Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.

What are your research interests or area of specialty?  

My research area of specialty is sexual health of adolescents and young adults. My thesis explored adolescent family factors associated with sexual partner acquisition trajectories among young adults, using data from Add Health and growth curve modeling. My dissertation explored dyadic factors associated with unintended pregnancy in couples using data from the National Couples Survey and path analysis.

What sparked those interests?  

My academic interest in sexuality was originally sparked by reading my older sister’s human sexuality textbook when I was in middle school. I was dismayed by the prevalence of STIs and unintended pregnancy and surprised at how little we were taught in health education class. When I started undergraduate research with the McNair Scholars program, my hypothesis was that lack of knowledge was the explanation for the high rates of STIs and unintended pregnancy in the U.S. Throughout my graduate work I have learned that decision-making about sexual health is much more complicated, and I am excited to continue exploring the roles of dyadic processes, beliefs, and intentions.

What are you excited about for your new position at UT? 

I am excited to be in a position doing what I love, to be a part of a public research institution that so strongly values excellence in teaching, and to be a part of a college full of brilliant and welcoming faculty.

What do you hope to contribute to the College of Education or the Austin community?

I hope to contribute excellent instruction as a core educator of human sexuality, provide effective mentorship to assistant instructors as course coordinator and to become actively involved in university efforts to help first-generation Longhorns to succeed. As a former first-generation college student and McNair Scholar, I know first-hand the life-changing impact of individualized support, and I hope that as a UT faculty member I can help others achieve more than they previously thought possible.


Sara Carpenter
Sara Carpenter - Assistant Professor of Practice

Sara Carpenter

What institution were you most previously with and what was your role?

I was at a small, private women’s college, Stephens College, in Columbia, Missouri, where I was an assistant professor in the M.Ed. counseling program.

What are your research interests or area of specialty?  

My area of specialty is all things school counseling! I am particularly interested in supporting the personal development of future school counselors—who are on the ground responding to and supporting today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders.

What sparked those interests?  

My own development as an ever-evolving human and the ways in which others have supported my own growth as a school counselor.

What are you excited about for your new position at UT? 

I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most established researchers in the field of counseling and to begin developing relationships with the dynamic and diverse students that UT attracts. But the most exciting thing is to be able to witness the parallel process of school-counselors-in-training developing their own awareness as they support their own students’ development. That is an absolute privilege.

What do you hope to contribute to the College of Education or the Austin community?

In one year, ask the graduate counseling students what I contributed! My hope is that they will speak to my teaching, mentoring, and supervision abilities and that they feel supported.


Karen Rayne
Karen Rayne - Assistant Professor of Instruction

Karen Rayne

What institution were you most previously with and what was your role?

After graduating with my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from UT in 2007, I taught at both Austin Community College and the University of Maryland University College for a few years before moving into the nonprofit sector. I have worked with Planned Parenthood, the Center for Sex Education, Girls Inc, the UNFPA, UNESCO, and a number of other organizations over the years as both a contractor and an employee. My focus has been writing comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curricula and training facilitators on providing CSE. Most recently I started a new CSE org, UN|HUSHED, and am serving as part-time executive director there, and part-time assistant professor of instruction at UT.

What are your research interests or area of specialty?  

My professional focus is almost exclusively human sexuality and the teaching of human sexuality. My research focuses on the differences between comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and non-CSE programs, the differences between evidence-based and evidence-informed curricula, and training for sexuality education teachers and facilitators.

What sparked those interests?  

I fell into sexuality education my last semester of graduate school because a friend was looking for a program for her daughter, and I’ve never looked back. It is one of the most important topic areas, providing truly lifesaving information when done effectively.

What are you excited about for your new position at UT? 

I’m excited to be back in the world of academia! After being gone for years, it is exciting to return to where I started.

What do you hope to contribute to the College of Education or the Austin community?

My passion for education surrounding sexual health, identity, relationships, and compassion for both the self and others around these issues runs deep. It is the lens through which I approach the entirety of both my personal and my professional life. I look forward to bringing this lens to my work with the College of Education and supporting my peers and students in expanding their ideas about how to present on and think about sexuality.