Jiaju Wu

Psychology Researcher

Meet Dr. Jiaju Wu, an acclaimed researcher, writer and teacher who is shaping the future of School Psychology with a focus on twice exceptional students (gifted students with disabilities).

A native of China, Wu stands to benefit his adopted country by helping parents and teachers to understand and nurture gifted students’ social and intellectual development.

From introducing undergraduates to the mysteries of psychology to delving into the complexities of behavioral and academic interventions at the graduate level, Wu’s teaching transcends classrooms and boundaries.
His original works have appeared in the Roeper Review, Innovative Higher Education, Interventions in School and Clinic, and the Journal of College Student Retention. He’s been an invited speaker, served as a proposal reviewer for the National Association of School Psychologists and as a peer reviewer for School Psychology Review, Psychology in the Schools, and Gifted and Talented International.

In short, Dr. Wu is a trailblazer with no plans to stop researching, writing or teaching.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

I teach three days a week and spend the rest of my weekdays getting to know my students and reading. I like to do research on weekends. No matter what day it is, I always do a little research. Attending workshops and networking helps me make the most of the time I spend researching and writing.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I relate my research to practice. For instance, my article, “An Investigation of an Early College Entrance Program’s Ability to Impact Intellectual and Social Development”, examined how gifted students’ perceived peer acceptance affects their social development. It was so exciting to see that our gifted students thrived intellectually and socially at the college level. I’m glad to know that my work has helped other educators better understand their students.

What’s one trend that excites you?

As a student-oriented instructor, I am delighted to watch students learn and apply their knowledge in the real world. Since I believe asking questions is a part of learning, I really enjoy chatting with my students and answering their questions both in and out of the classroom. I learn from them, too!

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I prioritize my tasks and always work on the most challenging one in the morning.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Travel to new places and meet new people. Like a Chinese proverb said, “read ten thousand books, travel ten thousand miles.”

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

Psyduck is a powerful Pokemon species.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Reading fascinates me. I constantly borrow ideas from books I have read so I recommend everyone read for pleasure every day.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

If I feel overwhelmed, I take a break and walk outside with my Husky named Peter.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Attending professional conferences has really benefitted me because I get to meet people from other universities with similar research interests. At this year’s National Association of School Psychologists convention, I met several folks who are also interested in gifted education. They ended up helping me distribute new research surveys.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

I did not pass my first Board Analyst Certification Exam by two points. I learned to change my study strategy and improve my self-control. For example, I designated three hours per day for two months to study. Consequently, I passed the exam and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

No matter what you are doing, be persistent, stay positive, and trust yourself. You, not others, are the one responsible for your own success.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

A few years ago, I used an app to collect behavioral data. It helped me save time to do interventions.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

I always wanted to buy a robotic vacuum. I finally bought one over the summer. It is so convenient but I’m not sure my dog loves it as much as I do.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

I just read Walter Isaacson’s “Einstein: His Life and Universe”. It was refreshing to learn about the link between Einstein’s imagination and freedom.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

I really liked “The Shawshank Redemption”. It was so exciting to watch Andy escape. His cleverness paid off.

Key learnings:

  • Read books and travel to new places.
  • Trust yourself
  • Don’t just attend conferences, make connections at conferences.