Tom James

Associate Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Tom James, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences, rarely spends a minute at work that is not technology aided. “These days, even brainstorming sessions are often transcribed electronically,” James said. “My research is dependent on many different technologies.”

It is the independence to solve problems that keeps James motivated as a professor. As an undergraduate, he remembers being asked “If you knew everything about the human brain and built one based on that knowledge, would it produce behavior like a human brain?” and answering “Of course it would,” disagreeing with most other students. “That was the beginning of my trying to understand how the brain works,” James said. “Technology is intimidating to some, but when tech doesn’t work the way I want it to, I find it fun to figure out why.”

Though James says professional achievements are tough for academics, as one does not enter the field for the tangible rewards, he is most proud of the award he received for his article published in Human Brain Mapping, one of the two flagship journals in neuroimaging research. “The award was for the best article published in that year’s journal,” James said.

James has many hobbies outside of the classroom. He sings, plays guitar, works on cars, does construction projects, works with electronics in amplifiers and effects pedals, reads a lot of fiction and is a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan.

James is a member of CEWiT’s Faculty Leadership Team and a mentor in the REU program. “My main aspiration through CEWiT is to learn how to grow male advocacy for women in tech,” he said. In 2015, James received CEWiT’s Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. Nominator and Doctoral Candidate Lindsay Arcurio said of James, “He believes that having women in science is critical to advancement in the field and wants to do everything in his power to support women in science.”