President: Rebecca Burch
Dr. Rebecca Burch is a Full Professor at SUNY Oswego. She received her Ph.D. at SUNY Albany in Evolution and Human Behavior. Her main research interests are the evolution of sexual behavior, sexual signaling, domestic violence, and cultural differences and similarities in various human behaviors, including sex, parenting, play, gender, and development. She also has an interest in evolution’s effect on popular culture. She has previously taught at SUNY Albany and Colby College.
Dr. Burch has publications on the topics of seminal composition and human physiology and behavior, genital morphology, intimate partner violence (focusing on the role of sexual jealousy and prevention strategies), and sexual signaling. These publications have garnered interest from the media, including nonfiction books (e.g., “Why is the Penis Shaped like that?”, “Bonk”, “The Dangerous Passion”), novels (“The Hitchhiker’s Child”), and innumerable websites, blogs, new outlets, and magazines.
Vice President: Catherine Salmon
Dr. Catherine Salmon is an Associate Professor at the University of Redlands. She is the co-author (with Donald Symons) of "Warrior Lovers: Erotic Fiction, Evolution and Female Sexuality" as well as “The Secret Power of Middle Children” in collaboration with Katrin Schumann. She has written chapters in numerous books including “The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology” and is an associate editor at the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, as well as the co-editor of the books “Evolutionary Psychology: Public Policy and Personal Decisions” (with Charles Crawford) and “Family Psychology: An Evolutionary Perspective” (with Todd Shackelford).
She is the Editor in Chief of NEEPS' flagship journal: Evolutionary Behavioral Science, and was the Keynote Speaker in 2017.
Secretary: Anastasia Makhanova
Dr. Anastasia (Stacey) Makhanova is an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas. She first came to NEEPS, by herself, when she was an undergraduate student at Hendrix College and has attended every conference since. Stacey received her Ph.D. from Florida State University. Her research focuses on the ways that people's social perceptions are affected by different fundamental motives (e.g., pathogen avoidance, affiliation, relationship maintenance, parenting) and biological processes (e.g., hormones, immune system activity, genetics). Her favorite part of NEEPS is the friendly environment that focuses on helping students advance their research.
Treasurer: David Widman
David Widman is a Professor of Psychology at Juniata College in Central Pennsylvania. He received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Wyoming and his Ph. D. in Biopsychology from The University at Albany, SUNY. His research interests have always been looking toward an evolutionary framework for behavior, whether that was in rats and Pavlovian conditioning to spatial skills in both humans and rats to religious behavior in humans and currently mating and dating behavior in humans. His first NEEPS was the infamous third NEEPS at Oswego where he was hooked on the community and welcoming nature of NEEPS.
Membership Officer: Michael Frederick
Dr. Michael (Mike) Frederick is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Baltimore. He attended the first NEEPS conference in 2007 and has been an active member ever sense. While completing his Ph.D. in psychology at the University at Albany, Mike’s interest in human evolution prompted him to take a variety of courses in physical anthropology and developmental biology. He became increasingly curious about maladaptive behaviors and the environments in which they occur. This has led him to conduct research on topics such as life history variation, the behavioral immune system, and contrafreeloading. NEEPS is his favorite conference because the researchers who attend are there to interact with and learn from one another, not simply to raise their own profile.
Communication Officer: Toe Aung
Dr. Toe Aung, is an Assistant Professor at Immaculata University. As a Social Officer with NEEPS, Toe strives to create engaging visuals and informative social media posts to make our special NEEPS experiences more accessible to the academic community. Toe attended his first NEEPS conference in 2016 and felt inspired to continue his journey in Evolutionary Psychology. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at Penn State and is studying sexual selection in human voice pitch for his dissertation, under the supervision of Dr. David Puts. In particular, Toe is interested in 1) what role voice pitch plays in social perceptions relating to mating competition across societies and 2) what information voice pitch provides about the speaker. His general research interests lie in evolutionary and cross-cultural psychology. Because of his passion for teaching and research, Toe aspires to become a professor and author his books one day. In 2019, he received his master’s degree in anthropology from Penn State. Before entering the Ph.D. program, Toe completed his undergraduate thesis (supervised by Dr. Susan Hughes) and obtained his bachelor’s degree in psychobiology from Albright College in 2017. Toe was born in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and came to the U.S. after winning his Green Card lottery program in 2013. Outside of research and teaching, Toe enjoys spending his free time with his wife and toddler, taking his two dogs to the park, and playing Scrabble (and Wordle more recently).
Communication Officer: Jimmy Moran
Dr. James (Jimmy) Moran is a T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Health Education and Behavior Department and the Southern HIV and Alcohol Consortium at the University of Florida. His research focuses on how threats (i.e., infectious disease, mate retention, and alcohol use) impact sexual behaviors and desires. Jimmy has been a member of NEEPS since his Junior year of college (2014) and served as the Student Representative from 2019-2022. In 2019, he and Dr. Stacey Makhanova co-hosted NEEPS in Boston, MA.
Member at Large: Hannah Bradshaw
Dr. Hannah K. Bradshaw is an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Washington & Jefferson College. She received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Texas Christian University. Her research crosses a wide range of topics, but she tends to use an evolutionary theoretical lens to investigate research questions related to disgust sensitivity, women’s social relationships, and consumer preferences and behavior. Hannah’s favorite part of NEEPS is the people.
Member at Large: Andrew Gallup
Dr. Andrew Gallup is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Founding Coordinator of the Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences program at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Binghamton University and completed his postdoctoral training in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He holds diverse interests in ethology and evolutionary psychology, and his ongoing research spans the following topics: adaptive function(s) of yawning, brain thermoregulation and vigilance, collective behavior and social cognition, athletic competition from an evolutionary perspective, biomarkers of Darwinian fitness, Snake Detection Theory, overhand throwing, and the adaptive benefits of laterality. He has been attending and presenting at NEEPS since the inaugural conference in 2007.
Member at Large: Gordon Bear
Gordon grew up in Minnesota. Educated at Yale University in the 1960s, he became intrigued by the social sciences – anthropology, psychology, and sociology – and chose experimental social psychology for his life’s work. The standard social-science model (SSSM) with its denial of human nature was already under dispute at other universities, but at Yale in that decade it prevailed as an implicit ideology that Gordon acquired uncritically. Only in the 1990s did the fish discover that he had been swimming in the SSSM all his life. His mind was opened by two books: David Buss’s treatment of mating psychology, The Evolution of Desire; and Robert Wright’s biography of Darwin, The Moral Animal.
When NEEPS was founded at SUNY New Paltz in 2007, Gordon was an hour south, teaching at Ramapo College, where he had created a course in evolutionary psychology that vexed some of his colleagues. Through NEEPS he now met congenial scientists and came to appreciate the wisdom of David Hume’s dictum that “Truth springs from argument amongst friends.”
Gordon has attended every one of NEEPS’s thus far 14 annual meetings and has presented eight talks or posters, seven of them with students as collaborators. He has also reviewed manuscripts (16 and counting) submitted to the journals Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, Evolution & Human Behavior, the EvoS Journal, Frontiers in Psychology, and Human Ethology Bulletin.
In 2021 the Executive Board of NEEPS honored Gordon by naming two awards after him: those for the best talk by a student and the best poster by a student. Gordon is proud to have thereby become eponymous.
Student Representative: Riley Loria
Riley Loria earned her B.S. in psychology and cognitive studies from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2020. Riley worked as research assistant for three years and developed an interest in evolutionary perspectives on social behavior at Tulane where she worked with Dr. Damian Murray. She is currently a PhD student with Dr. Eric Pedersen’s Evolution and Social Cognition lab at CU Boulder. Riley is broadly interested in studying social cognition and behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Her specific research interests include morality, judgement and decision making, social emotions, and punishment. Riley has been a NEEPS member since her junior year of college, 2019.
Past President: T. Joel Wade
Dr. T. Joel Wade is the Presidential Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill. His research focuses on mate attraction methods, mate expulsion, love acts, and relationship reconciliation from an evolutionary theory perspective. He has been a member of NEEPS since its inception. The things Joel likes about NEEPS are, the quality of the scholarship presented at the annual Conference, the sense of community among the members and conference attendees, how NEEPSters collaborate on research, and how NEEPSters help other NEEPSters move forward in their careers.