Faculty and Staff - Coastal Carolina University
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Department of Psychology

Faculty and Staff

Full-Time Faculty (in alphabetical order)

Kimberly Baker image Kimberly Baker, Senior Lecturer
Smith Science 210E  |  843-349-2726  |  kbaker@coastal.edu

Kimberly Baker earned a Master of Science in counseling in 2007 from Missouri State University. She teaches courses in general psychology and theories of personality. Her research interests include the effects of activities performed prior to taking an exam and exam performance.
Melissa Baker, Assistant Professor
Smith Science 217D  |  843-349-2539  |  mbaker4@coastal.edu
Melissa Baker earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Mississippi in 2019. She teaches courses in social psychology, psychology and the law, and research methods. Her research focuses on the application of social-cognitive psychology to questions and issues related to law and the legal system. Her current research interests include eyewitness identifications, attitudes toward police, and research methodologies and quantitative methods used in forensic psychological research.
Miranda Brenneman image Miranda Brenneman, Associate Professor
Smith Science 210C  |  843-349-4035  |  brenneman@coastal.edu
Miranda Brenneman earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and behavior in 2008 from Northern Illinois University. She teaches courses in cognitive psychology, the physiological basis of behavior, statistics, and research methods. Her research interests include the effects of cognitive impairment after stroke, especially in patients under age 65, and mechanisms of recovery and compensation after stroke.
Profile Photo Placeholder  Lisa Gunter, Assistant Professor
Smith Science 217E  |  843-349-4067  |  lgunter@coastal.edu
Lisa Gunter earned her Ph.D. in 2018 and Master of Arts in 2015 as a graduate student in the behavioral neuroscience and comparative psychology program at Arizona State University. Her research explores the behavior and welfare of companion animals, specifically our interactions with them, as it relates to animal sheltering, behavioral issues, and training. She teaches courses in statistics, animal cognition, learning, and animal behavior. Visit her website
William William E. Hills, Professor
Smith Science 217G  |  843-349-2276  |  hillsw@coastal.edu
William E. Hills earned a Ph.D. (1987) and a Master of Science (1982) from the University of Georgia and holds a master’s degree and license to practice in Social Work (1993) from the University of South Carolina. He teaches courses in introductory psychology, gerontology, and history and systems of psychology, and his research interests are focused on the area of gerontology. He has taught gerontology on a Fulbright Scholarship and conducted US-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue grant-funded research in Russia, and he maintains a working relationship with a Moscow-based physician who provides home-based medical services for pensioners and older adults in Russia identified as Victims of Repression. Hills spent spring 2019 in Poland teaching gerontology on a Fulbright Scholarship at the Medical University of Lublin, where he held an appointment in the Department of Family Medicine. His developing research interest in Poland involves the Opole Medical School and is focused on the virtual delivery of services in behavioral health-primary care integrated healthcare systems.
Image of Dr. Megan McIllreavy Megan McIlreavy, Associate Dean and Chair of the HTC Honors College, Associate Professor
Kearns 104D  |  843-349-2728  |  mmcilrea@coastal.edu
‌Megan McIlreavy earned a Ph.D. in Developmental and Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech in 2006.  She was a Visiting Assistant Professor/Franklin Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of Georgia before she came to Coastal Carolina University in 2008. Shortly after earning tenure in the Department of Psychology, she became an Associate Dean at CCU's University College (now the HTC Honors College). As Associate Dean and Chair of Sustainability and Women's & Gender Studies, she has worked across the institution to build new innovative degrees most notably within the areas of women in technology (and STEM fields) as well as sustainability and coastal resilience. Dr. McIlreavy teaches courses in her home discipline of Psychology throughout the year.
Matthew Murphy  Matthew Murphy, Assistant Professor
Smith Science 217J  |  843-349-2870  |  mmurphy3@coastal.edu  

Matthew Murphy earned his Ph.D. (2014) and M.S. (2009) in experimental psychology from Tufts University. He teaches statistics, research methods, learning, animal behavior, cognition, and biological psychology. His research investigates comparative animal cognition, primarily with pigeons, and includes topics such as false memory, lateral and frontal visual memory, spatial frequency perception, and abstracted relational learning.
No Profile Picture Melissa Paiva-Salisbury, Assistant Professor
Smith Science 217E  |  843-349-2164  |  mpaivasa@coastal.edu 
Melissa Paiva-Salisbury earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont in 2017. Paiva-Salisbury also earned a Master of Arts in forensic psychology from Roger Williams University in 2009. She teaches courses in statistics, psychology and the law, research methods, and abnormal psychology. Clinically, she is keenly interested in forensic assessment, the dissemination of evidence-based approaches, and the incorporation of mindfulness into evidence-based approaches. Paiva-Salisbury has published research on jurors' perceptions of eyewitness testimony, the use of risk assessments by juvenile probation officers, and adapting evidenced-based treatments for trauma to the refugee community. Her current research interests include the heterogeneity within psychopathy, callous-unemotional traits, and the exploration of construct measurement.
Headshot Terry Pettijohn Terry F. Pettijohn II, Professor
Smith Science 217I  |  843-349-6447  |  pettijohn@coastal.edu
Terry Pettijohn served as chair of the Department of Psychology from 2014-2020. He earned a Ph.D. in social psychology in 1999 from the University of Georgia. He teaches courses in social psychology and research methods. Pettijohn has conducted research in the areas of interpersonal attraction, relationships, how environmental conditions influence social preferences, and the psychology of teaching. His current interests include investigations of his environmental security hypothesis related to music preferences and components of physical attraction. Visit his website »
Marlena Ryba Marlena Ryba, Assistant Professor
Smith Science 217C  |  843-349-2122  |  mryba@coastal.edu
Marlena Ryba earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2014. She teaches courses in general psychology, research methods, abnormal psychology, and health psychology. Her research interests include evidence-based treatments of depression, behavioral medicine, and dissemination and implementation.
Kerry Schwanz image Kerry A. Schwanz, Professor
Smith Science 217F  |  843-349-4167  |  kaschwan@coastal.edu
Kerry A. Schwanz earned a Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of Georgia. She teaches courses in psychological testing, general psychology, abnormal psychology, school psychology and exceptional children, and research methods. Schwanz has conducted research in the areas of psychosocial and behavioral predictors of academic success in school-age and college-age students, academic and social outcomes related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and the psychology of teaching and learning. Her current research interests are in the areas of compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, and self-care. Before joining the faculty at CCU, Schwanz worked as a certified school psychologist in South Carolina.
No Profile Picture  Theresa Stanton, Senior Lecturer
Smith Science 210D  |  843-234-3458  |  tstanton@coastal.edu
Theresa Stanton, a Coastal Carolina University alumnus, earned an M.S. in applied psychology with a clinical/counseling focus from Francis Marion University in 2009. She teaches courses in general psychology, communication, and abnormal psychology. Her clinical experience has been in community mental health and substance abuse with a primary focus on adult outpatient services. Her research interests include the stigma of mental health in military personnel and first responders, and classroom influences on student engagement and success.
Image of Dr. Andrew Terranova Andrew M. Terranova, Associate Professor, Department Chair
Smith Science 210B  |  843-349-4034  |  terranova@coastal.edu
Andrew M. Terranova has served as chair of the Department of Psychology since 2020. He earned a Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of New Orleans in 2006. He teaches courses covering development, psychopathology, research methods, and the history of psychology. His research interests center around the risk factors associated with the development of aggressive and antisocial behaviors and coping with stressors such as peer victimization, natural disasters, and political violence.
Skye Woestehoff, Assistant Professor
Smith Science 217D  |  843-349-4021  |  swoesteho@coastal.edu

Skye Woestehoff earned her Ph.D. in general psychology with a concentration in legal psychology at the University of Texas-El Paso in 2016. She teaches courses in statistics, research methods, psychology, and law. She conducts research on interrogations and confessions, juror decision-making, and police decision-making.
Ryan Yoder image Ryan Yoder, Professor
Smith Science 217A  |  843-349-2925  |  ryoder@coastal.edu  
Ryan Yoder earned a Ph.D. in 2005 from Bowling Green State University. His research interests include the brain mechanisms underlying navigation and spatial learning, and the effects of congenital vestibular dysfunction on brain development. He currently teaches courses in sensation and perception, physiological psychology, and research methodology.  Visit his website »

Staff (in alphabetical order)

No Profile Picture  Jackie Moore, Administrative Specialist
Smith Science 210A  |  843-349-2275  |  jmoore5@coastal.edu



Teaching Associates (in alphabetical order)

No Profile Picture  Natalia De Maio, Teaching Associate
Smith Science 217K  |  843-349-2275  |  ndemaio@coastal.edu
No Profile Picture  Roberta Dihoff, Teaching Associate
Smith Science 210A  |  843-349-2275  |  rdihoff@coastal.edu
No Profile Picture  Christine Hodges, Teaching Associate
Smith Science 210A  |  843-349-2275  |  chodges@coastal.edu

Yashica Holmes-Smith, Teaching Associate
Smith Science 210A  |  843-349-2275  |  yholmess@coastal.edu
Dr. Yashica Holmes-Smith, also known as Dr. Y, is a Media Psychologist and Licensed Professional Counselor Associate.  She earned a Ph.D. (2014) and M.A. (2012) in psychology with an emphasis in media psychology from Fielding Graduate University. She earned an M.S. (2006) in applied clinical psychology from the University of South Carolina Aiken and a B.A. (2003) in psychology from Georgia State University.  She comes with years of experience providing academic, career, and personal counseling and teaching psychology courses at 2-year, 4-year, and graduate institutions. She teaches general psychology, developmental psychology, and abnormal psychology.

Dr. Y conducted research on personality, coping styles, psychosocial adjustment, and adolescents’ and media immersion. Her special areas of interest in research and practice include women, gender, sexuality, relationships, and diversity (WGSRD). She is a safe zone faculty/staff member.  She is passionate about researching and supporting the needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals and leads nonprofit initiatives focused on youth, inspiration, arts, and mentoring.
No Profile Picture  Cynthia Nycum, Teaching Associate
Smith Science 210A  |  843-349-2275  |  cnycum@coastal.edu

  Sherri Restauri, Teaching Associate
Smith Science 210A |  843-349-2275  |  srestauri@coastal.edu
No Profile Picture  Elizabeth Tesoriero, Teaching Associate
Smith Science 210A |  843-349-2275  |  etesorier@coastal.edu

Carylynn Varn, Teaching Associate
Smith Science 210A  |  843-349-2275  |  cfvarn@coastal.edu



Emeritus Professors (in alphabetical order)

  Wade "Sandy" Baird, Distinguished Professor Emeritus

  Elizabeth Barr, Professor Emeritus

  Thomas Boyd, Professor Emeritus

  William "Bill" King, Professor Emeritus


Linda Palm, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, palml@coastal.edu


Joan Piroch, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, pirochj@coastal.edu

  Paul Stanton, Distinguished Professor Emeritus