Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

Brown's research helps children reach their potential


School of Education professor Steve Brown doesn’t want his research on vocational psychology to just sit unread in an academic journal. He wants people to use it so that they can help others.

Brown—recently named the first recipient of the School’s Father Walter P. Krolikowski, S.J., Endowed Chair—has shared his insights with countless students who have gone on to become counselors, psychologists, and college professors. He’s proud that so many of his students are using his findings to improve the lives of other people.

Here, he talks about his research, the importance of career aspirations, and why he’s thinking about suiting up and playing some (really) old-time baseball.

Talk a little bit about your research and area of expertise.

My main area of research is in career development. My current research looks into how can we help people, especially middle school and high school students, develop a positive outlook toward their job futures.

And what does the research show?

Over the years, it’s become clear that having career aspirations and a positive outlook are major protective factors against a lot of things, including teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, and dropping out of school. But I think it’s becoming harder and harder for certain children—especially the marginalized and those from low-income families—to see that they have a job future. If we can figure out how to help those children, that will have a major social impact.

So how do you translate your findings into hands-on help?

A major part of my theoretical work focuses on building skills in children as well as self-efficacy beliefs—that is, believing that you, alone or collectively, can do well in school and overcome the barriers that stand in your way. So my job is to pass that information onto my students, who work directly with children.

How does it feel to be the first recipient of the Father Walter P. Krolikowski, S.J., Endowed Chair?

I’m honored to have my research and scholarship recognized by my colleagues in the School of Education. It’s a really nice recognition for what I’ve done in the past and for what I’m currently doing.

How will the endowed chair help you?

I’ll get more resources to put toward my research. I’ll be able to hire another doctoral student, for instance, which is a huge help.

And finally, any interests or hobbies outside the classroom that keep you busy?

Exercising, eating good food, taking walks along the lakefront. I played a lot of sports when I was younger, but I retired from my softball league when the others players started calling me, “Sir.” So now I’m looking into joining a vintage baseball team that plays with rules from the 1800s. I’ve never played baseball like that before, but it looks like a lot of fun.

About the professor

Name: Steve Brown, PhD

Title: Program chair, counseling psychology

Hometown: Grew up in Troy, Ohio; now lives in Evanston

Professor at Loyola since: 1984

Courses taught: Career Development and Counseling (CPSY 424); Assessment in Counseling (CPSY 425); Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CPSY 435); Research in Counseling (CPSY 450); Psychological Measurement (RMTD 430).