Faculty Profile: Etsuko Hoshino-Browne, PhD
Dr. Etsuko Hoshino-Browne can pinpoint precisely the origin of her fascination with psychology. She was in elementary school in her native Japan, a youngster who was not widely accepted into the social circles of her classmates. She felt ostracized. One day, she tripped in the schoolyard and cut her chin. Blood gushed from the wound as she was led to the infirmary for treatment.
When she returned to school the next day, the other students suddenly began to include her in conversations and activities. Even as a young girl, Dr. Hoshino-Browne was stunned by the fact that one seemingly insignificant incident could change the behavior of her classmates so radically, and her love of social psychology was born.
Now a PhD with 17 years of experience as a college professor, she continues to share this story with her students today.
With her upbringing in Japan, education in Canada, and professorial experience in the U.S., Dr. Hoshino-Browne has a unique cultural and ethnic background with extensive experiential insight into the inner workings of three cultures. She has a passionate interest in examining cultural influences on social psychological processes. And because she is an Asian American, she is fascinated by the psychological processes of stereotyping and prejudice.
“To reduce prejudice, we have to understand each other,” she says.
She has been on the Neumann faculty for only eight years, yet in an alumni survey conducted in the fall of 2020, she was named by several graduates as the person who was the greatest influence on their undergraduate experience. This recognition surprised and pleased the professor.
“I think most students consider me demanding,” she admits. “In the classroom, I emphasize professionalism, critical thinking, and good writing. In the Japanese culture, we think about things in the long term, and those qualities will be important to students toward being successful in their future careers. I just hope to play a small role in assisting them to achieve their goals.”
Dr. Hoshino-Browne took a circuitous route to Neumann. Early in her life, she held a job in Tokyo with a Canadian provincial government and was transferred to its Toronto office in Ontario. There she met her late husband and stayed to earn an Honors BA and PhD in Psychology at the University of Waterloo. Her husband passed away during her doctoral studies, and she came to America, completely without a social network, to take a job at Swarthmore College, where she taught for eight years.
“Losing my husband, and my time at Swarthmore, which was a very competitive environment, made me a better and more compassionate teacher,” she explains. “I enjoy my time in the classroom and enjoy even more my interactions with students during office hours. I like to get to know them and learn about their experiences and their hopes for the future. My curiosity about people is why I like psychology and teaching.”
Recipient of the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award for 2020-21, Dr. Hoshino-Browne has dozens of published articles and conference presentations about social psychology and cross-cultural psychology to her credit. She has taught a variety of courses at Neumann and Swarthmore, including Critical
Thinking in Psychology (an honors seminar), Senior Seminar, Organizational Psychology, Research Methods, Cross-Cultural Psychology, and Social Psychology.
When she is not teaching or researching, she enjoys a daily walk with her husband. She also enjoys reading Japanese books, gardening, and cooking. Both she and her American husband are vegetarians.