Carla Sharp, Ph.D.

Psychology Professor Dedicated to Her Students’ Success

Donors are among the most influential people to improve their communities. That’s according to Carla Sharp, psychology professor at the University of Houston, who said this special group can improve society as well as the overall quality of life for many through generous gifts to UH.

“Donors are in a critical and very important position to really disseminate their influence so much further than the University itself by reaching communities through the University,” said Sharp, Ph.D., associate dean for faculty and research in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

As director of the Adolescent Diagnosis Assessment Prevention and Treatment Center and the Developmental Psychopathology Lab at UH, Sharp conducts research that examines interpersonal communication. When two people interact, both are engaged in a sort of mind reading to better understand each other. But Sharp said that sometimes, due to traumatic experiences, a person might not be able to “mind read” during a conversation, and that can lead to misunderstanding or conflict. Her studies help those with traumatic backgrounds learn to acquire this important conversational skill.

Sharp previously worked at Baylor College of Medicine, but she joined UH for the teaching opportunities. “I really missed the interaction with psychology graduate students, and in order to work with students, I had to be in a Ph.D. program,” she said. “UH has one of the best Ph.D. programs in the country. It was kind of a no-brainer for me to move over from Baylor College of Medicine to UH.”

Among Sharp’s most rewarding experiences is witnessing her students succeed in the field of clinical child psychology. “When they do have success and when I see them flourishing and passing along what they’ve learned from me to junior students or to the patients they treat, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment because I know that knowledge is spreading,” she said. “That the skill to assist young people and their families is spreading.”