From the military to music and the Tudors to teaching for new Psychology lecturer

News Page 4th December 2018

A former US Army soldier has followed an academic ‘call to action’ and signed-up as the University of Northampton’s latest psychology lecturer.

Paxton Culpepper, originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia joined the University of Northampton last month.

He specialises in evolutionary and biological psychology, specifically in relation to the ‘behavioural immune system’ (evolved behaviours that help us avoid contact with infections. For instance, withdrawing from unpalatable situations and items).

Prior to joining Northampton, Paxton worked as a teaching assistant at Stirling University, where he is in the final processes of submitting his PhD thesis which looks at the relationship between the behavioural immune system and human social behaviour, such as religiosity and xenophobia.

His varied background has seen him serving in the US Army during the invasion of Panama (1989 -1990). While in pursuit of Panamanian Defence Force soldiers, his platoon squad found themselves fighting hyperthermia and near-death drowning in the rising tides of the mangroves in the Panamanian jungle. Paxton took the lead on ensuring their rescue with the aid of local fishermen.

He also spent a brief time in Hollywood pursuing a career in music and acting, performing with his band in all the hotspot clubs in LA and ending up with small credited roles in hit TV series such as Friends and ER. He also appeared as the lead character in a music video for the band K’s Choice.

Paxton is also distantly related to the English Culpeper/Colpeper family, whose most infamous scion (Thomas) was a chief courtier to Henry VIII during the monarch’s brief marriage to Catherine Howard.

Paxton said: “I’ve had what you can call a very interesting life, but all of those experiences have led me toward what I really love – psychology and communicating this to others.

“This is my first full-on teaching ‘gig’ and it’s been fascinating joining University of Northampton, moving down from Scotland, getting used to the teaching style here – from an evolutionary perspective, I’ve been adapting!

“As a recent student myself, I know where mine are at and how to help them progress, so I’m looking forward to running with this now I’ve hit the ground.”

Find out more about Psychology (undergraduate and postgraduate) courses at University of Northampton.

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