Sing Your Own Song

As an undergraduate voice major, she wouldn’t have guessed she’d one day earn a BA in psychology and PhD in behavioral neuroscience. A lot happened in between. Her father became ill and she left school to be with her family. She got married. She taught piano, directed a church choir, started a band. She raised her children. By the time she returned to college, she was interested in science.

Now her subjects include experimental psychology, neurobiology of mental disorders, biopsychology of stress. Still, she uses teaching methods honed over a piano. Music or science, humor makes lessons stick. So when you hear her say, “Three guys walk into a bar...,” listen up. You’re about to learn something serious.

She won’t reach for a textbook and neither will you. She goes to primary sources, does her own research. The lessons she teaches are hers alone. One of them: No matter how diverse, cultivate your interests. Susan Putnam, PhD, may have followed a circuitous route to Canisius, but she was never lost.