P&N Person of the Week: Molly Weeks

Sunday, March 4, 2018
P&N Person of the Week: Molly Weeks

In July of 2000, a fifteen year old Molly Weeks (then Molly Stroud) stepped off a plane in North Carolina. Dressed in a sweatshirt, she quickly realized she wasn't in Northern Alberta anymore. She left behind figure skating, synchronized swimming, cross-country skiing, and curling to call this new, humid land her home. In addition to adjusting to the dramatic differences in climate, Molly had to acclimate to a new school environment, one with much more emphasis on college education than she was used to. Molly also had to make new friends. Socialization and the creation of friendships intrigued Molly and eventually led to her career in developmental psychology. 

How many years of service do you have at Duke?

I started as a graduate student in 2007, and I graduated with my Ph.D. in the summer of 2013. I've worked here since then. So, I've worked here for five years but been here for eleven. 

What do you do at P&N?

I started as a graduate student with my Ph.D. in developmental psychology. I worked with Steve Asher, and my research focused on close relationships and friendships and how they contribute to emotional well-being in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. I originally thought I would do that research with children, but Steve and another graduate student, Kristina McDonald, were doing research in the Duke Social Relationships Project. They were looking at friendships and well-being in college students. I became involved in that study and grew more interested and engaged in that area. Data collection for that project ended in 2010. When I finished my Ph.D., I became involved with a task force on advising on campus. Soon after I graduated, we officially started the grant for the You @ Duke study (http://www.youatduke.org). This is a longitudinal study in collaboration with three other campuses: Davidson College, Furman University, and Johnson C. Smith University. The cohort we have followed are now seniors, so we are wrapping up data collection this semester. One of the many interesting facets of this project is the collaboration between researchers and practitioners.

What do you like about P&N?

I like the people I work with phenomenal colleagues who are friendly and passionate about their research. I love collaborating with them. 

What's your favorite P&N memory? 

I loved my cohort during graduate school. I sowed close relationships with my female peers, and their friendship helped me through the intense graduate school experience.

What are your hobbies?
I love to read. I love Young Adult (YA) literature, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, and historical fiction. And Harry Potter, of course. I also love to cook. I love to eat, as well, so I guess I'm just a foodie! I love the Refectory, Guglhupf, and Vin Rouge on special occasions. I also love spending time with my husband and daughter, who is almost two years old. 

Publications: 

Asher, S.R., & Weeks, M.S. (in press). Friendships in childhood. In A.L. Vangelisti &D. Perlman (Eds.) The Cambridge handbook of personal relationships (2nd Ed). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Vanhalst, J, Soenens, B, Luyckx, K, Van Petegem, S, Weeks, MS, and Asher, SR. "Why do the lonely stay lonely? Chronically lonely adolescents' attributions and emotions in situations of social inclusion and exclusion." Journal of personality and social psychology 109.5 (November 2015): 932-948.

Asher, SR, and Weeks, MS. "Loneliness and belongingness in the college years." Wiley-Blackwell handbook of solitude: Psychological perspectives on social isolation, social withdrawal, and being alone. Ed. RJ Coplan and JC Bowker. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. 283-301. (Chapter)

Weeks, MS, and Asher, SR. "Loneliness in childhood: Toward the next generation of assessment and research." Advances in Child Development and Behavior. Ed. JB Benson. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2012. 1-39. (Chapter)

MacEvoy, JP, Weeks, MS, and Asher, SR. "Loneliness." Encyclopedia of adolescence. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2011. 178-187. (Chapter)

P&N person of the week profile by Madison Catrett (Trinity '21) 
Have a nomination for P&N person of the week? E-mail psychneuro@duke.edu