Posted 09/23/2020  |  Back

Welcome to the first edition of our Spotlight on Fitchburg Faculty Scholarship series for the new academic year! In this edition we are highlighting Dr. Lena Ficco, Assistant Professor Biological Psychological in the Psychological Science department. 

Lena Ficco, Ph.D., is originally from the lakes regions and seacoast areas of New Hampshire. Her family is originally from two small island counties, as such, it is no surprise that Lena is happiest when near large bodies of water. A third generation American and first generation university student, Lena is the first of her family to earn a doctoral degree. She began her undergraduate studies at a local community college before transferring to the University of New Hampshire, where she earned an undergraduate degree in 2006 in psychological science with a concentration in developmental psychology. She continued to study developmental psychology at the University of Amherst, where she earned her M.S. in 2010, and finally in 2015, she earned her Ph.D. in Psychological and Brain Sciences, concentrating in developmental cognitive neuroendocrinology.

Lena’s primary area of research pertains to the cognitive effects of hormonal contraceptives, particularly effects on learning and memory. She was pleased to return recently to her home state of New Hampshire to present findings from this program of research at the annual meeting of the New England Psychological Association. Perpetually seeking ways to enhance learning and the factors that affect learning, during her second year at Fitchburg State University, she added a secondary line of research concerning the Imposter Syndrome. Her article “When Success Feels Undeserved and Acceptance Isn’t Enough to Feel Like You Belong” was published in 2017 in Exchange, the journal of the New England Faculty Development Consortium. This piece explores the origins of and management of imposter feelings, particularly among individuals with minority status in higher education.

Lena was drawn to Fitchburg State University for the campus; commitment to undergraduate education and upward mobility, and began her career at FSU in 2016 as a psychological science professor. She lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband, cats, knitting books, and sourdough starter. She is an avid endurance runner who spends free time running, hiking, walking, practicing yoga, gardening, and seeking out from-scratch bagels and doughnuts, as well as opportunities to engage in social and environmental justice movements.

Be sure to stop by the Faculty Spotlight display near the Library entrance next time you visit us in person. To explore more of the amazing research and scholarship produced by Fitchburg State faculty, check out our Faculty Publications guide here: