Faculty Spotlight!

Amber Hammons, Associate Professor
Child, Family, and Consumer Sciences

Dr. Amber Hammons

Amber earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside in 2009. She joined Fresno State faculty in 2012 as an Assistant Professor. Her research area examines families and health. She is currently a co-Project Director on two USDA grants looking at obesity prevention, totaling $4.4 million dollars. This picture shows Dr. Hammons with her obesity prevention research team. Dr. Hammons with her obesity prevention research teamOne of the most rewarding aspects of her work is getting students involved in research. She is the recipient of the Promising New Faculty Provost’s Award, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Outstanding Research and Scholarly Award, and is a CSU Quality Online Learning and Teaching Awardee for Exemplary Teaching and Learning in Online Courses.

Where are you from? What was your childhood dream? What lead you to choose your field?
I grew up in a small town of 4,000 people in Arnold, California. In high school I knew that after graduation I wanted to experience “big city life” and my dream cities to live in were San Diego or Los Angeles. I started my freshman year at UCSD in 2004 as a pre-med biology major. As a teen I was inspired by the television show ER and wanted to become a pediatric surgeon. After stumbling upon a developmental psychology course at the end of my first year, I realized my true passion was in the field of psychology and changed my major.

What has made the biggest impact on your career?
What I believe has made the biggest impact on my career is the relationships that I have created, hands down. One of the areas in my life that I have been the luckiest has been in having amazing mentors who offered indispensable advice and guidance. One of my professors helped me to decide that developmental psychology was the right path for me rather than the clinical route, and another mentor connected me to my “celebrity” mentor who I was lucky enough to work with for three years before coming to Fresno State. My mentors have greatly shaped my career trajectory and I hope I can help my students in similar ways.

What was the best moment of your career so far?
Ironically, the best moment of my career so far stemmed from my worst moment. I missed an important sign that something within my research program wasn’t working quite right. As a result it risked the success of the project. However, this tested me in important ways and opened up more opportunities than any other failure I have encountered. Ultimately, with the help of my students, we were able to get the project not only back on track but in a better place than it would have been originally. I learned more about myself from this particular experience than any other single career experience and am grateful for this failure.

What are your hobbies?
When I am not teaching or engaged in research, I am spending time with my two small children and my husband. And I’m reading fiction.

What is one teaching tip that you would like to share with your colleagues or with your younger self?
This is a hard one for me because there are so many things I would want to say to my younger myself. Makes me wonder though if I knew then what I know now, would I even be where I am today? With that in mind, I’d give myself the generic advice to relax and enjoy that cup of tea--very few things are ever as serious as they seem.

Participating in CFE opportunities has definitely made me a better teacher, especially in my online courses. I learned so many things about technology and what’s available out there to optimize your online courses. My online courses have significantly changed for the better since I’ve implemented the best practices that I learned from the workshops. As a result I was a CSU Quality Online Learning and Teaching Awardee for Exemplary Teaching and Learning in Online Courses, an honor that I am very proud of. If I had more time I would take advantage of every CFE opportunity. I can honestly say that I have walked away from each workshop with a new skill or understanding of something.