Faculty Profile: Dr. Candice Mills
Dr. Candice Mills first experienced teaching as a tutor in high school helping her peers. It was while she experimented with different methods for reaching students that Mills became interested in more than teaching and wanted to know how people learn.
“I loved tutoring,” Mills said. “I liked trying out different techniques to see what worked and what didn’t. That experience made me really interested in how people learn from others.”
Mills completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, where she majored in cognitive neuroscience, and earned her PhD at Yale in developmental psychology with a focus on cognitive development. She immediately joined the faculty in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UT Dallas after graduating in 2005.
Mills takes great interest in how children learn from others, which led her to establish her research lab, the Think Lab. Undergraduate and graduate students in the lab work with local preschool- and elementary school-aged children. They try to understand how the children assess their own knowledge, how they decide what others are likely to know and how they determine whether or not to trust the claims they encounter.
“If you think about it, children are bombarded with information from so many different sources these days — the Internet, advertisements, families, peers and so on. Not all of that information is accurate or unbiased. We hope that in the long run, findings from research like ours can help us guide children to be better critical thinkers and learners,” Mills said.
Mills teaches undergraduate courses in cognitive development and experimental projects, and she received a Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award from the UT System in 2011 in honor of her undergraduate instruction. She is also the program head for the master’s program in psychological sciences.
“One of my favorite things about BBS is there are so many interesting things going on here and a lot of good energy, which makes it a great place for faculty to work,” Mills said. “There are also so many opportunities for students to develop professionally, including career planning workshops, internships and research assistantships.”
Mills’ group is always looking for more children to help with their research, so please visit http://www.utdallas.edu/research/thinklab/ for more information on enrolling your child as a study participant. For more information on volunteering with Mills as a research assistant, please contact [email protected].