About Jon Westfall

Jonathan E. Westfall, PhD, born 1982, is an award-winning professor, published author, and practicing cognitive scientist. He teaches a variety of courses in psychology, from introduction to psychology to graduate seminars. His current research focuses on the variables that influence economic and consumer finance decisions, as well as practical applications of technology to teaching psychology. With applications to both psychology and marketing, his work finds an intersection between basic and applied science. His current appointment is as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of the Psychology program at Delta State University. Previously, at Delta State, he coordinated the Okra Scholars program from 2016-2019, a cohort-model retention program funded through the Department of Education’s First in the World grant, and the First Year Seminar from 2016 – 2022. Prior to joining the faculty at Delta State, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Centenary College of Louisiana, and the Associate Director for Research and Technology at the Center for Decision Sciences, a center within Columbia Business School at Columbia University in New York City. He now maintains a role with Columbia as a research affiliate / variable hours officer of administration, and technology consultant.

In addition to his research, Dr. Westfall also has career ties in information technology, where he has worked as a consultant since 1997, founding his own firm, Bug Jr. Systems. As a consultant he has developed custom software solutions (including native Windows 32 applications, Windows .NET applications, Windows Phone 7 and Android mobile applications, as well as ASP, ASP.NET, and PHP web applications). He has also served as a senior network and systems architect and administrator (on both Windows and Unix networks, and hybrids) and has also been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) 2008 – 2012. He has authored several books, and presented at academic as well as technology conferences and gatherings.

In addition to his academic and technological pursuits, Dr. Westfall also is a licensed secular minister, available to officiate weddings and other events, and enjoys knitting and crochet in his spare time.

Dr. Westfall is married to Karey A. Westfall, and both are natives to the midwestern United States. They are doting godparents to Kaden & Nathan, and Uncle/Aunt to Ryleigh, Ryan, Amelia, Rhett, and Grant.

Dr. Westfall is available for public and private events, speaking on a variety of topics, custom tailoring them to your group. Topics include…

  • Psychological Processes involved in Decision Making, Memory, and Learning.
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Information Technology, programming, and security.
  • Self-publishing.
  • Blogging, community engagement, and internet marketing for individuals.
  • Social networking, tailored specifically to educators or writers.

If you are interested in having him at your event, please use the contact form.

Detailed Chronological Biography

1997: Founded Bug Jr. Systems (As Bug Jr. Software), recruiting a team of technology enthusiasts and professionals to work on web development projects and custom Win32 software development in Borland Delphi. Released a number of shareware applications, and began working on network design and administration projects.

2001: Certified as an MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), and CompTIA A+ Certified technician. Began teaching A+ Certification courses at The University of Akron, while studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

2003: Continued teaching A+ Certification, as well as a new two-course sequence, Computer Repair & Maintenance, a course designed for non-technical learners focusing on operation and repair of a computer.

2004: Graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Akron (UA), as a presidential and university honors scholar. Applied and accepted to the experimental psychology MA-PhD program at The University of Toledo (UT).

2005: Teaching interests gradually shift from Technology (at UA) to Psychology (at UT). Taught Principles of Psychology discussion and lecture, and TA’ed for Cognitive Psychology. Also appointed a Contributing Editor for Pocket PC Thoughts, a Thoughts Media network website.

2007: Awarded a Masters of Arts in Psychology, conducting research on individual differences and decision making. Taught Research Methods in Psychology, Principles of Psychology, and Cognitive Psychology.

2008: Recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) – Windows Mobile Devices.

2009: Awarded Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD), offered and accepted a postdoctoral position at Columbia University, with the Center for Decision Sciences, as an Associate Director.

2010: Windows Phone 7 Made Simple and Mandate (Self-published) released. Launched and served as Executive Editor of Android Thoughts.

2011: Fast Food Calorie Lookup, an Android smartphone calorie database, released and downloaded by more than 50,000 users within the first 3 months. Before exiting the Google Play store in 2016, it would be downloaded more than 400,000 times.

2012: Beginning Android Web Apps Development released. Accepted a visiting assistant professor position at Centenary College of Louisiana.

2013: The Big Picture: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff invited talk given. Taught several courses, including History and Systems of Psychology, Judgment & Decision Making, Learning & Memory (traditional and accelerated)

2014: Accepted and began current position as Assistant Professor of Psychology, Division of Counselor Education & Psychology, at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi.

2015: Engaged in external speaking and consulting activity while serving as the Subject Pool coordinator for the department of Psychology, Delta State University. Awarded “Outstanding Faculty Member, College of Education and Human Sciences”.

2016: Appointed Coordinator of the First Year Seminar program in February, and the Coordinator of the Okra Scholars program in May. Both programs housed in the Delta State University Student Success Center, a group dedicated to retaining and graduating students, providing academic support, advising, and services to first year and international students, as well as pilot programs such as Okra Scholars.

2017: Awarded “Outstanding Faculty of the Year” by the Delta State University Panhellenic council. Research presentations at the Southeastern Psychological Association annual meeting as well as the American Psychological Association annual meeting in August. Appointed Psychology Program Coordinator.

2018: Oversaw effort and successful vote to require First Year Seminar for nearly all incoming students at Delta State by Fall 2019.

2019: Elected President-Elect of the Delta State University Faculty Senate. Honored as Delta State’s HEADWAE award recipient, recognized at the Mississippi State Capitol. Authored the online curriculum for First Year Seminar 300, a transfer-specific first year experience/seminar tailored for distance learners. One in the Same, and Franklin: The Ghost Who Successfully Evicted Hipsters From His Home and Other Short Stories published.

2020: Assumed position of President, Delta State University Faculty Senate. Promoted to rank of Associate Professor, with tenure. Authored Practical R 4 and an additional book on installing and managing your own Virtual Private Server.

2021: Authored a revision of Pro Data Visualization Using R and JavaScript: Analyze and Visualize Key Data on the Web.

2022: Published an article on construction of a psychology research subject pool using Open Source Software in the journal Teaching of Psychology.

2023: Published an article on equity in pay for female vs. male basketball coaches , branching out into new realms of statistical analysis and collaboration. Presented at APA Annual Conference. Ran my first 5K.

2024: Served on the Ad-Hoc Budget Committee at Delta State, working to identify more than $5 million in budget cuts or revenue increases.

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