Dr. Cole Napper
Dr. Cole Napper has always had Loyal Blue blood in his veins, from the Bulldog lineage within his immediate family to the pursuit of his master’s (’11) and doctoral (’13) degrees in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Though he is a native of Monroe, he was raised to be an Ever Loyal Bulldog fan and to cheer Tech on to victory.
By exercising his leadership skills as an Orientation Student Leader, in the Student Government Association, and as a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity as an undergrad, Napper gained experience that allowed him to engage with various people and groups to enable his relationship-building across the board.
The Tech family holds a special place in Napper’s heart.
“The University is a public school with a private-school feel,” Napper said. “Any time you meet a fellow alumni, it’s just like walking into a room with old friends. Every student is known by their name rather than feeling like a number.”
The psychology department is where he felt most at home. Napper expressed the importance of studying psychology: “No matter one’s background,” he said, “critical thinking skills of how the human mind works, regardless of context, are crucial in learning how to best navigate the world.”
Through the dedication, relationship, advising, and overall impact of faculty member Dr. Mary Margaret Livingston — “She went above and beyond to make sure I succeeded,” Napper said — he was able to thrive in an intimate learning environment that prepared him to pursue his future career. Grateful for the impact of the College of Education (COE), Napper encourages the faculty and staff to “keep doing what you’re doing and keep investing in your students, because it has made all the difference.”
With a passion for engaging with people and the betterment of others through psychology in the workplace, Napper was a founding member of the Applied Research and Organizational Solutions (AROS) Consulting program in the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. The now-flourishing organization, AROS allows graduate psychology students the opportunity to practice their passion and skills with real-world experience. Students also have the opportunity to attend conferences and learn from other colleagues better practices to establish in their own program.
Napper encourages current undergraduate psychology students to keep “fighting the fight – attend class, study for the tests, and get to know your professors,” he said. He believes both in the numerous pathways and opportunities available to students as they follow what is best for them and in their willingness to take the leap of faith in pursuit of the adventure.
Tech’s COE graduates, he said, are “prepared to do anything in the world, so go and pursue your passion fearlessly.”