Candidates for Election 2020

President Elect


James Nolan, Ph.D.

James (Jay) Nolan is an Associate Professor, Psi Chi Director, and Department Chair of Psychology at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. He has also held positions at Dakota Wesleyan University, Western Iowa Tech, Southwestern College, Newman University and a visiting appointment at the University of Kansas Medical School (Department of Ophthalmology). He earned his bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Psychology from Washburn University and his master’s and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Nevada, Reno. Jay’s research has focused on various topics but mainly has been centered around vision function and genetic influence on visual system development and its ultimate effects on one’s perceptual abilities, cognitive interpretation of their surroundings, and quality of life. Jay has also contributed to the private sector by advocating for those individuals who are blind or low vision and has also done lobbying work for this population at the federal level. As he has primarily held position at teaching institutions, Jay has always been driven to bring as many of his students as possible into the area of scientific research. He does this by getting students involved in his undergraduate research lab group and having them learn the research process from project design and development through conference presentation and paper publication. To date, Jay has mentored 50 students under his direction who have presented original research projects at numerous conferences (primarily RMPA) with more to come in 2020 and beyond! Jay has also been involved with other organizations (through his own and his student’s participation). These organizations include: PERK (Psychological and Educational Research of Kansas, Great Plains Students’ Psychology Convention, MPA (Midwestern Psychological Association), SWPA (Southwestern Psychological Association), APS (Association for Psychological Science), ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology), VSS (Vision Science Society), and others. Jay’s research has led to numerous publications and he has served in editing rolls for textbooks and journal articles alike. Since 1993 Jay has traveled to numerous states and presented at, served on panels, completed presentation judging duties along with other organizational functions at several conferences. From 2005-2009 Jay was one of the original organizers and Research Program Director for the Envision Conference- a multidisciplinary international Vision Rehabilitation and Research Conference held annually.

Presidential Statement:

I am extremely honored to be nominated to serve as President of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association. Since my first experience attending RMPA in 1997 in Reno, NV, I have greatly enjoyed attending this annual meeting due to the scientific nature of the meeting and the great relationships that I have made along the way with many truly outstanding students and professionals alike. I look forward to attending this meeting every year when my schedule allows and bringing students to participate in this outstanding learning experience. It was my mentors in graduate school who first suggested that I attend this meeting as they were all heavily involved in RMPA themselves! I could never thank Beatrice (Trixie) Gardner, Allen Gardner, Robert Solso, Bill Wallace, and Mike Webster enough for their encouragement of me to become an active member of RMPA. These individuals were and continue to be great influences on both my personal and professional life and they set the bar high for achievement and I hope to effectively continue their legacy of involvement and contributions to RMPA. I have found RMPA to be one of if not the most student friendly, supportive, and inspiring organizations that I have been associated with in my professional career. To serve as President would be an amazing and humbling experience. One that I am confident my educational experience and professional career has prepared me for. It is my goal to continue the great foundation that has been built by previous and current organization membership to support student research and involve amazing guest speakers at the annual meeting. As an organization we are only as strong as the quality of our program, the dedication of those involved, and the energy level that we give. I feel that RMPA looks incredibly bright for the future! I hope to bring an enthusiasm and novel ideas to RMPA that others will find enlightening and beneficial to the future of the organization. I will continue to strive in recruiting future membership into RMPA that will hopefully result in larger future conference attendance than ever before! Again, it is truly an honor to be nominated to serve as President of this amazing organization and I will step up with my best efforts possible to make this organization better than ever.


President Elect


Mary Pritchard, Ph.D.

I started attending RMPA as a graduate student in the late 1990s. Twenty years later, I still bring my students to RMPA every year. Why? Because RMPA is still the most student-friendly student-centered conference I have found. It is also jam-packed with valuable teaching- and research-centered information for faculty and students alike. Most of all, I and my students have a lot of fun at RMPA’s annual conference each year.

RMPA gets me re-invigorated and excited about my teaching and research every year. It helps my undergraduate students want to learn more and go on to graduate school. Over past 20 years, I have served as a program reviewer, invited speaker, moderator, and have facilitated numerous undergraduate and graduate student presentations. Now, I want to give back some of the energy and dedication RMPA has given to me and my students over the years. Based on conversations with students at previous conferences, I would like to help RMPA establish more of a presence on social media and explore new scholarship opportunities. I would also like to add more programming for graduate students as they explore their options for next steps in the field. I am honored to be nominated as President-Elect, and, if elected, look forward to continuing the great traditions RMPA has established and helping RMPA, students, and faculty evolve as our field continues to grow and change.



Bethany Fleck, Ph.D.

Dr. Bethany Fleck received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of New Hampshire. While there she also earned a Masters in the Science of College Teaching. Her research centers on cognitive development in childhood education and university classroom contexts. Both lines of research draw on developmental theory with the overall goal of enhancing the learning environment for students of all levels. Bethany is currently a Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. In her courses she is committed to an active, learner-centered approach to teaching.

Candidate Statement: 

RMPA has contributed to my professional and personal development in numerous ways. I would like the opportunity to continue to give back through service as Secretary. I have been serving as the current secretary and I am prepared to continue my role. Other leadership roles in the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP) have prepared me this position.  With STP I served as the Director of Communications, Public Relations, and Recruitmenton the Early Career Psychologist Committee, and the Director for Regional Programing. As director I had the privilege of travelling to each of the regional conferences to support and contribute to STP programming. My experiences at these conferences are an asset that I bring to the RMPA executive committee. At the RMPA regional level specifically, I was the co-manger of a successful convention in Denver in 2013, I received the Early Career Award in 2014, and have advised numerous students who gave presentations at annual conferences since 2011 when I first joined the association. I have helped to plan, participate, and present in the pre-teaching conference and have been a program reviewer. If I win this election I will continue to bring organization and communication skills to the position. I have worked to enhance our communication and record keeping systems through the use of technology and have familiarity updating and working with webpages. I look forward to the possibility of serving.