H. Shellae Versey, Ph.D.


H. Shellae Versey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT

Age: 38




H. Shellae Versey deeply values the flexibility her job in academia offers. “Professionally, I love the fact that I can choose to find out more about topics I am really interested in, such as communities — community formation, giving back and what that means for a community’s strength. And I get to bring that research into my classroom. Personally, I appreciate that I also have time to be present for my kids in a very real way. My family sustains me,” she remarks.


An assistant professor of psychology at Wesleyan University, Versey teaches an interdisciplinary mix of psychology and health. “I am passionate about the ways in which cities work and the ways in which people who live in cities operate within those environments for better or worse,” she notes. She is now researching neighborhood change and gentrification, and how being displaced affects people’s health.


Versey’s interest in psychology and health began during childhood. “I loved storytelling. Psychology is the study of human behavior, and my entrée into public health was spurred by wanting to mix understanding why people do the things they do and how it affects them. The marriage of the two works for me,” she explains.  


An Alpha Kappa Alpha soror and the recipient of academic and professional fellowships, awards and honors, Versey has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tuskegee University, a master’s in public health, with distinction, from Columbia University, and a master’s in epidemiological sciences and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan. She launched The Greater Good Project out of her passion for giving back to her community. “It allows me to apply my professional expertise, identify an important need in the fields of philanthropy and social-emotional development, and use my skills for a larger purpose that extends beyond my research,”