Erin Ward headshot photo

Pronouns: she/her


PSYC 1244
703 Third Street

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Erin Ward


Department of Psychological Sciences


Erin Sparks Ward grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana, (her family moved to Indiana when her father got a job as a Professor of Communication at Purdue when she was 5 years old).  Erin graduated from West Lafayette High School in 1999 and then left home to earn a double major in Mathematics and Psychology at the University of Chicago.  She returned home to West Lafayette after graduating, and worked for two years at the Center of Advancement of Transportation Safety, housed in the Purdue Civil Engineering Department.  There, she analyzed Indiana traffic safety data, prepared reports and presentations for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and developed and implemented an evaluation of Indiana’s statewide impaired driving campaign. Erin then left Purdue to further her education and earn a PhD in Social Psychology at Florida State University.  She met and married her husband (a Florida native) while she was a student at FSU.  She then convinced her husband to leave the warm weather behind and return home with her to West Lafayette, where she took a job in the Purdue Department of Psychological Sciences as a lecturer in 2012 (and gave birth to her first child a month after moving home). Erin is thrilled to be part of the Purdue community again! She is passionate about family, Purdue sports, and undergraduate education.  She enjoys helping psychology majors tackle sensitive but important issues in courses like Stereotyping and Prejudice class. She also enjoys finding methods to improve large lecture and online learning experiences for students.  She became a Senior Lecturer in 2019, and she now has three children. She lives with her husband and sons in the same neighborhood as her parents, her grandfather, and her sister-in-law.


  • PhD, Social Psychology, Florida State University

Areas of Expertise

  • Teaching Expertise: Elementary Psychology, Social Psychology, Stereotyping and Prejudice, Research Methods
  • Research Expertise: Social Judgment, Decision-Making and Well-Being, Stereotyping and Prejudice, Biases in Psychological Research: Their Origins, Effects, and Solutions

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Inducted into Purdue University Teaching Academy as Associate Fellow - 2022
  • Winner of James C. Naylor Award for Teaching Excellence in Psychology - 2021
  • Co-winner, HHS Patsy J. Mellott Teaching Innovation Award - 2020

Professional Affiliations

  • Society for the Teaching of Psychology
  • Purdue Teaching Academy Associate Fellow