Kelly Bennion, PhD, EdM, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Her research uses a combination of behavioral, eye tracking, polysomnography (overnight sleep monitoring), and neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI) approaches to understand the effects of sleep and stress on memory for negative and traumatic experiences.
Dr. Bennion received her PhD in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience from Boston College. She has received grants supporting her research from sources including the US Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, American Psychological Association, and Psi Chi. She was also a visiting scholar at the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School in 2015, where she researched the effects of sleep restriction on adolescent cognition.
Dr. Bennion also earned an Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her commitment to teaching has been acknowledged by her receipt of the 2020 Early Career Award for Achievement in Teaching (College of Liberal Arts, Cal Poly), 2017 Professor of the Year Award (College of Liberal Arts, Cal Poly), 2015 Teaching Excellence in Psychological Science Award (American Psychological Association), and the 2015 Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award (Boston College).
Dr. Bennion is passionate about mentorship and outreach, particularly in the spirit of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has founded four mentorship programs for psychology and neuroscience students at Boston College and Cal Poly, coordinated neuroscience events throughout the greater Boston area for children, college students, and older adults, and organized several events promoting Women in Science. In addition to her role as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Bennion serves as a Faculty Fellow in the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion at Cal Poly running the BEACoN Research Mentoring Program for underrepresented students.
In addition to her expertise in sleep science, Dr. Bennion is a strong promoter of health, fitness, and work-life balance, and is a life-long dancer. Dr. Bennion danced professionally in the Boston area for six years as a member of the Adagio Big Band Jazz Company, the Boston Cannons Dance Team, and as a New England Patriots Cheerleader – ending her tenure with the Patriots with their Super Bowl XLIX victory in her home state of Arizona in 2015.
Dr. Bennion’s scientific commitment to researching the importance of sleep (especially as it relates to cognition and emotional well-being) and her personal commitment to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle makes working with MedFit a perfect match.