Dr. Leslee Pollina has taught psychology to Southeast students for 14 years. But Pollina has an entirely different set of students besides those in her psychology classes. They don’t turn in papers, tests, or read books on Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers. Instead, these students focus on sitting, staying and rolling over. They have four legs, loud barks and wet noses.
In her spare time, Pollina enjoys training dogs at K-9/Happy Tails training center in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Her students range from puppies to three-year-olds, and can weigh from 10 to 100 pounds.
“I became interested in training dogs after taking my disobedient puppy to training school several years ago,” Pollina said. “Since then, I've taken seminars, additional animal behavior classes beyond the ones I had in college and graduate school, worked with professional handlers, and learned to show my own dogs in conformation, obedience and agility.”
Pollina says she enjoys teaching Southeast students as much as she does teaching her dogs. She chose teaching as a profession because it offered her a way to introduce new ideas on psychology to students.
Pollina received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a master’s degree from West Virginia University. After completing her master’s, Pollina enrolled in the doctorate program at West Virginia University, finishing it in 1991.
“I wanted to focus on psychology because I find human beings endlessly fascinating,” Pollina explained. Pollina’s academic focus is attachment and every day memory. She teaches lifespan development, maturity and aging and cognitive process to Southeast students.
“I try to incorporate a lot of time for talk in my classroom,” said Pollina. “This way, students have a chance to have plenty of discussions and questions about the material, helping them formulate new ideas on various topics.”
When Pollina isn’t busy teaching students or training dogs, she says she enjoys reading mystery novels or catching up on her needlework. She also enjoys traveling, especially to Minnesota because of the breathtaking countryside and friendly people.
Pollina’s best advice for future Southeast students is to remember to study and learn the material from your classes.
“It’s important to learn as much as you can in college because you never know what you’ll need later on down the road.”