Catherine (Kate) Bohn-Gettler2016 Rising Alumni

Catherine (Kate) Bohn-Gettler photo

Catherine Bohn-Gettler has a master’s degree and Ph.D. in educational psychology, and was described as “that rare graduate student who learned as much as she could from many different faculty.” Today, Kate is an associate professor at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. She studies interdisciplinary connections between cognition, emotion, and instructional contexts to improve student learning and holistic development. Kate has achieved national and international distinction in the field of cognitive psychology, with more than 30 original research publications.


Associate Professor, Educational Psychology, College of Saint Benedict - Saint John's University

CEHD Degree

M.A., Educational Psychology, 2005;
Ph.D. Educational Psychology, 2007

What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am honored to work with future educators in the fields of educational psychology, human development, and research. This is an incredibly honor and responsibility, because these amazing individuals will help shape the future of our children, and hence our society.

I have the opportunity to engage in exciting research examining interdisciplinary connections between cognition, emotion, instructional contexts to improve student learning and holistic development. My research has been published in a variety of outlets, including:

  • 19 papers in refereed journals, including: the Journal of Educational Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Educational Researcher, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Memory & Cognition, Social Development, Aggressive Behavior, the Journal of Comparative Psychology, the Journal of Research in Reading, and more.
  • 9 chapters in peer-reviewed books and handbooks
  • Over 50 peer-reviewed national and international conference presentations

I am also honored to serve my professional community in the following ways:

  • Treasurer, Society for Text and Discourse
  • Governing Board (elected), Society for Text and Discourse
  • Editorial Board, Discourse Processes
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology

What honors and awards have you received for your hard work?

My most recent awards, since graduating from CEHD, include:

  • Outstanding Technology Innovation Faculty Award, Wichita State University (2014)
  • Outstanding Research Faculty Award, Wichita State University (2010)
  • UKLA Wiley-Blackwell Research in Literacy Education Award (co-authored paper) (2009)

What’s your favorite memory from UMN?

My favorite memories include the support, learning, and laughter that consistently occurred during my interactions with faculty, students, and the community. In our work, we focused on applied, school-based research, in which we sought to holistically improve the lives and learning of students. Collaboratively, we worked with students and teachers on reading comprehension interventions. We observed preschoolers play and resolve conflicts. We documented motivational techniques by expert teachers, and more. We engaged in deep discussions about the nature of learning, comprehension, development, and socialization. We built mentorship relationships, learned how to be leaders, and pushed each other’s thinking.

What professors were most influential during your time in CEHD?

My advisors and the members on my dissertation committee provided me with amazing support, constructive feedback, and mentorship. They continue to be important influences in my career. These individuals include Dr. Steve Yussen, Dr. Anthony Pellegrini, Dr. David Rapp, and Dr. Paul van den Broek. They incredibly accomplished scholars, but also role models for who I want to be as a person.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

Critical thinking, collaborative skills, creativity, a mastery orientation, and a desire to never stop learning.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

Although he passed away over 10 years ago, Dr. Michael Pressley remains a major inspiration in my career. He introduced me to the field of educational psychology, guided me through my first research projects, and embodied excellence in teaching and scholarship.

What was the impact/benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

I would not be who I am today without the education I received in CEHD. The faculty members provided top-notch training and mentorship in teaching, scholarship, and deep consideration of ethical professionalism.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you spend it?

I love spending time with husband and daughter (especially reading books or playing board games), curling up with a good book, jogging, Turbokick, and spending time with friends. If I can miraculously find more than 30 minutes, I love to play the piano and vibraphone, and I used to play in a steel drum band.

Who are you? How would others describe you?

A collaborator, optimistic, passionate, driven, goofy, honest, and caring. I always want to know more, and try to understand the underlying causes of phenomena.

What is a good book you would recommend to others?

"There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up In the Other America", by Alex Kotlowitz. When first reading this book as a teenager, it opened my eyes to the challenges and strengths faced by children living in poverty.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be?

Maria Montessori

What gets you excited about work?

Without a doubt, students and kids. The fact that I get to work with future educators is a privilege and responsibility. I also get excited about my research, because it seeks to highlight the holistic nature of children, learning, and development.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

First a pediatric ophthalmologist, and then a professional vibraphonist. The path we might start on can lead us in surprising directions, and I am glad it led me to educational psychology.

Outside of your job, how do you grow professionally?

Reading books of all genres, participating in community events, attending conferences, and engaging with the educational community.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I will do almost anything to make my three-year-old daughter laugh.