Texas Tech University

Ph.D. Student Spotlight: Adam Cann

Kaitlin York

Adam Cann


Why did you choose to pursue your Ph.D. at the Rawls College?

I had completed my master's coursework in psychology, but I was not sure I saw it as a long-term career. I explored other options on campus and realized that I could use my psychology background to examine how consumers behave in the marketplace. My background focused on the study of emotions and psychophysiological methodologies, and Shannon Rinaldo, associate professor of marketing, used psychophysiology and neuroimaging techniques in her lab. In the end, I thought the Rawls College provided a good fit for my academic career and my teaching interests, which were evolving toward active learning approaches in the classroom.

What do you like most about the Rawls College Ph.D. program?

The Ph.D. program offers two things that I value most, flexibility and support. The program is flexible in the sense that I have been given quite a bit of freedom to pursue topics I enjoy. It offers support in that faculty have consistently been willing to brainstorm and discuss research concepts and approaches with me even though their research areas may differ from mine. This insight provides so many perspectives that enable me to grow as a student and provides a strong foundation for success if I become a faculty member myself one day.

How has the program been flexible when accommodating to your interests as a researcher and what research projects have you worked on?

I came to the Rawls College with an interest in humor research, and my advisor sought to incorporate humor into her neuroimaging work. Additionally, the department has been very supportive of my teaching and learning interests. Identifying key learning outcomes and methods for achieving those outcomes is extremely important if business schools want graduates to be able to hit the ground running in their careers. I enjoy exploring innovations in the classroom that can increase student engagement and achievement. 

Have you partnered with a Rawls College faculty member for a research project, and if so, how has that experience been?

I have partnered with multiple faculty members and have had positive experiences. Faculty are available and always willing to discuss research, which can lead to shared projects. I am currently working on a project studying long-term experiential consumption with a faculty member and another graduate student. It has been a great experience to examine the data together, brainstorm ideas and figure out how to best understand the data and tell its story.

How has the team-oriented culture of the program benefited you as a student?

Graduate school is a long and, at times, seemingly endless process. It is not something that should be done without a good support system, so a team-oriented culture is important for a graduate student's peace of mind and, thus, for success.

How have your interactions been with your peers at the Rawls College and how have those interactions benefited you?

My peers have always been a source of support. Since we take many of the same classes, we can all gain a level of comfort discussing difficult ideas and learn from each others' mistakes and insights.