Assistant Professor of Psychology Andrew Hertel studies health behavior from a social psychological perspective. A native of Waverly, Iowa, Hertel graduated from St. Olaf College in 1999 and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2009.
The Knox Student: How did you first become interested in psychology?
Andrew Hertel: Simply by being fascinated with how the mind operates.
TKS: What are your main research interests?
AH: Broadly, I research health behaviors. One of the primary things I have investigated is smoking, specifically smoking cessation and adolescent smoking. With that, I investigate mostly social psychological factors, and I’m mostly curious about how our self-identities play a role in how we act.
TKS: How did you end up at Knox?
AH: The position sounded very appealing because it is a position associated with health and health behavior and allows me to examine it from a social psychological perspective, but also from other perspectives. It was also very appealing to be in a position where I could teach in a small liberal arts college and continue to do research.
TKS: What do you think of the Knox environment? How does it compare to your undergraduate experience?
AH: It’s a very positive environment, a strong community. People get along very well. I’ve been overjoyed with the attitudes of students and their willingness to engage in the classroom. It’s really similar to St. Olaf. Both are places where students are earnest in what they’re doing and excited to be there. People are allowed to thrive in any way they want to thrive.
TKS: What are you teaching right now? What do you enjoy most about these classes?
AH: I am teaching health psychology, and it’s been great so far. I’ve approached it in a different way, and everybody is really engaged in the classroom. We’re having great discussions and new ideas are emerging. I also serve as the organizer for senior research, and I’m really excited to work with students in that one on one mentorship.
TKS: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of academics?
AH: I play the drums. I’m hoping to get involved with the drumming community here. I also play golf and ski.
TKS: What are you most looking forward to here at Knox?
AH: I’m looking forward to continuing to immerse myself in the campus life here and the culture that exists and continuing to get to know the students and see things come to life. To me it is just a great environment to be the person you want to be and commit to the work you want to achieve.