Dr. Deborah Harris-O'Brien

Associate Professor of Psychology

Phone: 202-884-9272
Office: Main 256


  • B.A., Psychology, The Catholic University of America
  • M.A., Developmental & Clinical Child Psychology, The Ohio State University
  • Ph.D., Developmental & Clinical Child Psychology, The Ohio State University


  • Child Development
  • Adolescent Development
  • Emerging Adulthood
  • Childhood Psychopathology
  • Institutional Review Board (research ethics)


  • President-Elect for Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology
  • Liaison to the American Psychological Association's Board of Educational Affairs

Select Works Published

  • Co-curricular activities and student development: How positive nations encourage students to pursue careers in Psychology. In H. A. Marujo & L.M. Neto (Eds.) "Positive nations and communities"
    McCormick, M.A., Rich, G. J., Harris O'Brien, D. & Chai, A., Dordrecht: Springer, 2014
  • Panelist, "Cultivating Leadership"
    , Presentation by Psi Chi faculty at the Eastern Psychological Association Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, 2012
  • Workshop: "Adolescent behavior contracting for mental health professionals"
    , Prince George's Parent/Professsional Empowerment Conference, Largo, MD, 2012
  • Poster: "Teaching Human Diversity as a First Year Experience" (with Stacey Baugh)
    , Eastern Psychological Association Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, 2009
  • Instructor's Classroom Kit to accompany The World of Children.
    , Allyn & Bacon, 2007


My primary goal in teaching is to generate excitement about Psychology! I think Psychology is awesome, and I share my enthusiasm with students. I use a variety of pedagogical techniques that can maximize students' understanding and retention. I use methods Psychology has found to maximize learning such as multi-sensory and active learning, in class exercises and homework assignments, field trips, and both large and small group class discussions. In teaching Psychology, I believe students should acquire tools and knowledge they can use in their personal and professional lives, whether or not they continue on in the Psychology field.