Ada Wainwright was an education major when she enrolled in a required psychology course that changed her life.
"I enjoyed reading the textbook, even the sections that were not assigned," she explained. "It was as though the book was written for me -- it answered many questions I had about life. When I took Child Development, my second psychology course, I was hooked. I had a great instructor who asked me to help in her research lab. I changed my major the next semester."
Wainwright earned her bachelor's degree from West Virginia University, her master's in Developmental Psychology from Illinois State University and her doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While at UIUC, she was a teaching and research assistant and, during her last two years, she was an instructor for Infancy and Childhood and Human Development and Family Studies courses.
In 2002, she began teaching Psychology courses full-time at College of DuPage.
"I like to share my enthusiasm for the field with others," she said. "Hopefully, students gain knowledge about how to improve their lives. I hope to inspire them to be better students, educators, parents and citizens. There is something in psychology for everyone to learn. It relates to our lives."
Occasionally, Wainwright hears from past students who share stories about how something in her class relates to their work or parenting experiences. She's glad her lectures have made a lasting impact on their lives, and she thanks those who did the same for her.
"I was always drawn to mentors who moved you to do more than you thought possible," she said. "I was the first graduate in my family to earn a college degree. I would not have been able to do this without mentors who made me consider options that were beyond my life experiences."