To many college students, hookups are a Friday night activity. To Mountainview College’s newest faculty member in residence, Ann Merriwether, an instructor of psychology and human development at Binghamton University, it’s a question of human development.
Merriwether gave a presentation on hookup culture during a meet-and-greet in Appalachian Collegiate Center on Tuesday evening. She summarized the main points of her research, which focuses on learning where hookups primarily occur, participants’ expectations, the origin of sexual attitudes and differences in these attitudes between sexes and sexual orientations.
Although she is a new faculty resident advisor, Merriwether is not a new presence in Mountainview. Her daughter is a former resident and she was a judge for a drag show the living community put on several years ago. Some may also know Merriwether from her alpaca farm, where students often volunteer, and from her involvement in a research team that correlated the DRD4 gene, which is involved in impulse control, with higher rates of cheating.
As a faculty advisor, Merriwether will help connect student life within the living communities to academic pursuits. Her plans for Mountainview include teaching students to knit, felt and spin wool into yarn. She also hopes to bring her alpacas to the community.
Libby Tucker, Mountainview College collegiate professor and a distinguished service professor of English, said she feels Merriwether will be a great addition to the living community.
“She has a real gift for interacting with students,” Tucker said.
Tucker, who took her position in the community last September, said her focus has been on connecting faculty and students during her tenure.
In her new position, Merriwether said she is most looking forward to interacting with students, something that can be lacking in the traditional professorial role.
“In classrooms, as much as you try not to be, you’re still the intimidating professor, which you’re not here,” Merriwether said.
Although she teaches primarily in the College of Community and Public Affairs, Merriwether said she greatly enjoys teaching general psychology, a class popular among freshmen.
“Because you get to be a cheerleader for psychology, you’re their first impression of the subject,” Merriwether said.
Leisa Rockelein, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law and a Mountainview senior resident who helped organize the event, said she finds Merriwether’s research on nonverbal consent, a newer aspect of her work, especially notable.
“She’s really down-to-earth,” Rockelein said. “Her research is so interesting, especially the nonverbal consent.”