Kristi Lockhart

Senior Lecturer and Associate Research Scientist in Psychology

Kristi Lockhart, B.A. Pomona College, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, faculty member at Yale since 1998: Beloved teacher, innovative researcher, and dedicated mentor, you have enriched the lives of every Yale student who has crossed your path—whether in the laboratory, the classroom, or in the Morse dining hall. 

Published in the best journals in the field of cognitive development, you are a creative scholar with deep insight into how children’s minds work. Your studies have covered fascinating topics such as children’s early optimism, the early emerging tendency to favor naturally acquired traits, and lay conceptions of boasting. You are the lead author of a major monograph on children’s beliefs about illness and medicine, a monumental work encompassing 15 studies and nearly 1,500 child participants, and you have recently expanded this inquiry to children’s understanding of mental illness, something near and dear to your heart as a licensed clinician. Your impressive impact is obvious in the ways you have bridged university and community, helping numerous students find placements in community organizations devoted to mental health, for which you were awarded Yale’s prestigious Seton Elm-Ivy Award.

You have also influenced not just hundreds but thousands of students as the former Associate Master of Morse College, where you served generations of Morsels with eleven straight years of service. When you first arrived at Morse in 2001, outgoing Associate Master Marcia Chambers praised your enthusiasm, telling the YDN that you and your husband “were like college students.” This young-spirited excitement would continue in your over a decade of service. From launching a much-heralded weaving class, to running Morse’s senior Mellon Forum, to inaugurating the famed annual college Easter egg hunt, to taking a lead hand in planning the beautiful college renovations, your creativity and dedication brought life and fun to the students in those Saarinen walls. But your biggest service to the college was the care you gave to individual students. From working on student thesis presentations to extending your clinical training to tough mental health situations, you were a mentor to all Morsels who needed you.

Your biggest impact here at Yale, however, the one for which you will most be missed— is your teaching. You came to Yale already the recipient of Cornell’s highest teaching award, and in your time with us you’ve only built on this accomplished foundation. You’ve demonstrated your dedication to the classroom through the breadth of the classes you’ve taught— from large introductory lectures in psychopathology to advanced seminars on a variety of topics in developmental and clinical psychology. But you’ve shone most strikingly through the energy you put into preparing yourself, and by extension your students, for the project of learning. Before teaching your famous “Psychology and the Law” class, you went so far as to sit in on numerous legal proceedings and to talk extensively with prosecutors, public defenders, and even FBI agents.

Your students, mentees, and friends here at Yale are grateful that you’ve shared your constant curiosity with us for the last twenty-three years, but we’re also thrilled that you’ll now have more time to use your “college-student-like” energy to inspire another group of learners— your new grandchildren. We know that they will appreciate your many pedagogical gifts as much as we have.