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Jana McCurdy

General Education Coordinator

I grew up in Idaho; my dad worked for the Idaho Fish and Game so most of my childhood was spent living on fish hatcheries.  My mom was an elementary teacher and I often helped her decorate her bulletin boards.  I originally attended the University of Idaho and majored in math with a minor in physics with the intention of teaching high school math and science.  However, I loved my introductory psychology class so much I migrated into psychology and statistics classes.   In college I enjoyed working as a reader for a Dean who was blind and serving on a suicide crisis line. 

Later, I became fascinated by a class in Engineering Psychology because the study of “human factors” combined my love of math and analysis with my desire to help people.  My master’s thesis involved vending machine warning labels (risk perception) and I have seen those warning labels everywhere I have travelled - Australia, Tokyo, Singapore, New Guinea, Mexico, Canada, and all parts of the U.S.    I did an internship at General Motors in Detroit studying navigational displays and collision avoidance alarms.  Then I went to Virginia Tech and worked for a couple years in the Vehicle Simulation Lab and the Management Systems Lab where I did research on problem solving, decision making and safety. 

After our children were born I started my second career: I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mother and kept busy by writing for the newspaper, organizing and leading preschool playgroups, teaching for the department of parks and recreation, participating in Parents as Teachers, and teaching my children at home.  Later, our family travelled to Papua New Guinea and I was an elementary teacher for three years.  Afterwards, I was a youth leader and director, a home educator, and on the board of directors for a homeschool coop. I also enjoyed doing public outreach for the state of Idaho. 

Our family moved to Boise in 2007 and I started teaching college classes; I have been at CWI since 2010.  My husband and I have two grown children.  Our family enjoys hiking, camping, playing pinochle, reading, and watching football games and movies.