Missouri University of Science and Technology honored Dr. Amber Henslee, associate professor of psychological science, as the 2020 Woman of the Year Wednesday, during a virtual ceremony.
The Woman of the Year award is given annually to a female full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty member in recognition of her efforts to improve the campus environment for women and minorities. As part of the award, Henslee received a $2,000 stipend funded by Missouri S&T graduate Cynthia Tang, founder and former chair of Insight Industries Inc.
Henslee joined Missouri S&T as an assistant professor in 2010, and her main field of study is substance use and mental health in underrepresented and stigmatized groups. She says that through her teaching, she hopes to dispel the myths, stereotypes and prejudice against underrepresented and stigmatized groups and highlight the longstanding systemic intersectionality of race, ethnicity, sex and socioeconomic status that perpetuates stigma, specifically among those with mental health and substance use issues.
Henslee’s colleagues and students praised her not only for her teaching, research and scholarship, but also for her mentorship and advocacy for the less fortunate.
“Dr. Henslee's success as an outstanding teacher, leader in service-based experiential learning, and mentoring female students exemplifies the characteristics sought in a Woman of the Year for our university,” wrote one of her nominators. “I am amazed by how she has been able to accomplish all of this while continuing a robust research program and service load. Missouri S&T is lucky to have her as a faculty member.”
“There are many things I took away from Dr. Henslee’s courses, but I will remember for my lifetime the mindset shift I left her course with,” wrote one of Henslee’s former students. “I cannot thank Dr. Henslee enough for the impact she has had on my life, career and relationships. She absolutely deserves to be recognized for how she has made better not just me, but so many more like me.”
“Dr. Henslee is the only clinical psychologist on our campus,” noted another nominator. “S&T’s department focuses on industrial and organizational psychology; nevertheless, a considerable number of students have abiding interests in clinical psychology, and Dr. Henslee generously and graciously shepherds them through their undergraduate education and positions them for graduate school and other career opportunities. And, notably, the overwhelming majority of these students who flock to Dr. Henslee for her guidance and mentorship are women.”
At Missouri S&T, Henslee teaches Drugs and Behavior, Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology in addition to general psychology. She also oversees internships and student research projects and mentors female students and graduates. In the community, Henslee is president of Phelps County Family Crisis Services and the Russell House, which provides shelter for women and children who have survived domestic abuse. She is also active in support of Hope Alliance’s Friday Food Backpack Program, which provides food to low-income and food insecure Rolla Public Schools students every week.
Ten of Henslee’s 23 published journal articles pertain to substance use, mental health, and underrepresented and stigmatized groups, and she has delivered many invited presentations, conference papers, posters and presentations on the subject.
Henslee has earned numerous S&T awards for research, teaching and service, including the 2020 College of Arts, Sciences, and Business (CASB) Alumni Student Impact Award. In 2015, she was selected as a CASB eFellow, a faculty fast-track pilot program. She received S&T’s Outstanding Teaching Award in both 2016 and 2017, the Faculty Service Learning Award in 2013 and 2019, the Faculty Teaching Award in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, and in 2012 was named Sensational Psychology Professor in Missouri by StateStats.org.
Henslee earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Auburn University in 2008. She also holds a master of science degree in clinical psychology from Missouri State University and bachelor of arts degrees in psychology, biology and chemistry from Drury University.