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Psychology faculty

Psychology Faculty

Meet the MVC Psychology faculty! We are determined to provide exceptional, high-quality, rich and meaningful learning experiences for our diverse learners. We can't wait to teach and learn with you.

Full-time Faculty Part-time Faculty Emeritus Faculty


Full-time Faculty

Adviye Tolunay-Ryan, Ph.D.

Adviye Tolunay-Ryan

I have been teaching full-time at MVC since fall 2006. Before joining MVC, I taught at Bogazici University and Bilgi University (Istanbul, Turkey), University of Rhode Island, and Rhode Island School of Design as associate faculty. I am originally from Turkey, where I earned my BA in Psychology and my MA is Social Psychology (Bogazici University), before I moved to US to further my graduate training. My MA thesis was on the relationship between dogmatism, religiosity, and moral reasoning. My Ph.D. is in Experimental Social Psychology (University of Rhode Island) and my dissertation was on group identity effects on moral reasoning.

Adviye Tolunay-Ryan

My main areas of interest are social influence and persuasion. In addition to teaching General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Social Psychology at MVC, I serve as one of the Assistant Chairs for the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Department, and an Academic Senator. I have participated in the Study Abroad Program twice at our district, and taught in Dublin, Ireland, in Spring 2015, and in Florence, Italy, in Fall 2017. One of my favorite things about teaching at MVC is having the opportunity to work with a diverse group of students, and I look forward to seeing you in one of my classes.


Adam Felton, Ph.D.

Adam Felton

I'm a full-time psychology professor at MVC. My main focus at MVC is teaching our class on research methods and our class on statistics. I'm originally from Indiana where my undergrad (associates and bachelors) was in computer information systems. I then flip-flopped into social science and earned a master's degree in social and cognitive psychology. I taught at a community college for two years before moving to Riverside to go to their doctoral program.

Adam Felton

After completing the program, I joined MVC. My research background is in social psychology, psycholinguistics, and cognitive neuroscience. I've done studies using surveys, intelligence testing, visual field techniques, and structural MRI. My ideal students have the following traits: interested in the field, helpful with peers, and resilient in the face of difficult material (complex research designs and statistics).


Sara Yerushalmian, Ph.D.

Sara Yerushalmian

I joined Moreno Valley College as a full-time psychology faculty, in 2018. I currently teach PSY 1 (Introductory Psychology); PSY 9 (Developmental Psychology); and PSY 35 (Abnormal Psychology, my main area of interest). I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona, then moved to San Diego to pursue a doctoral degree. Before joining MVC, I taught at various academic institutions including CSU San Marcos, UC San Diego, MiraCosta College, Palomar College, and Park University.

Sara Yerushalmian

I am extremely passionate about my work as an instructor and pride myself in empowering my students through inspiration and education. I am a first-generation college student and readily identify with and relate to MVC's student body. I aspire to develop meaningful connections with my students and am conscientious of individual readiness and learning styles. I believe that learning is bidirectional and all students bring value to the learning process, and embracing diversity not only enhances students' learning but also strengthens our sense of community and respect. On a personal note, I speak three languages and have a deep appreciation for other cultures and diversity. I enjoy raising my young daughter, spending time with people, and participating in outdoor activities. I am looking forward to seeing you in my class!


Kyla Rankin, Ph.D.

Kyla Rankin

I am very excited to be the newest full-time professor in the Psychology Department at MVC. I started higher education as a first-generation college student at Clovis Community College and completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at California State University, Fresno. I recently received my Ph.D. from University of California, Riverside

Kyla Rankin

Most of my time at UCR was spent conducting research on how people can effectively cope with stress, but my passion for teaching led me to MVC where I taught as a part-time faculty for nearly two years. As an instructor of research methods, statistics, and other psychology courses, I work with students to find creative ways to connect material to their own lives, build the skills to answer their own scientific questions about psychology, and learn through interactive and engaging activities. It is also important to me that my students participate in the learning community so we can all learn from each other and that they see their time in class as an opportunity for growth. My past and future students continuously inspire me to also grow as an instructor. I look forward to seeing you in class and supporting you as you navigate your own academic journey!


Associate Psychology Faculty

To contact associate psychology faculty, click on their name for a fillable email form or contact them at the email address provided.


Retired/Emeritus Faculty

Travis Gibbs

Travis Gibbs, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

Travis R. Gibbs, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at MVC, retired in June of 2020 after 29 years of teaching, including 4 years of part-time at all of the colleges in the Riverside Community College District and 24 years as a full-time professor at MVC. During his time in the District, Dr. Gibbs served as a Senator on the Academic Senate for 25 years and was MVC's Academic Senate President for 6 of those years and concurrently served asthe District Senate President for 2 of those 6 years. Additionally, he was MVC's first Department Chair of the then Communications, Humanities, and Social Sciences Department and was responsible for getting that department established. Dr. Gibbs represented MVC when he was RCCD's 49th Distinguished Faculty Lecturer in 2009. He became one of the first two full professors at MVC in 2010.

Travis Gibbs

"My time at RCCD and specifically at MVC, was an honor and a gift for me," Gibbs said, talking about his experiences. "I graduated from RCC in 1975, 10 years after graduating from high school and after dropping out years earlier from a 4-year university. As a returning, albeit reluctant college student, my experience at RCC and the educational professionalism nearly all my professors afforded me, left a positive imprint and a desire to give back to the District and to the community college mandate. Nonetheless, I was again sidetracked, and did not return to a 4-year university until 1986. The experience of being a many-time college dropout, along with how I was welcomed back to the collegiate fold despite my absences, guided my efforts as a professor. Students come to college to change their future direction, not to be stuck where they had been—so I endeavored every class to make it a new start for all of us.

"It was a pleasure and an education MVC and the students afforded me. I am grateful—thank you!"

Psychology faculty in regalia smile at camera Four psychology faculty smile at camera Psychology faculty at a Psychology Club meeting



Become a Psychology Instructor at MVC

All inquiries about part-time faculty employment opportunities in Psychology are subject to funding and need. Review available positions on the Diversity & Human Resources job board.

After filling out an application, inquiries regarding part-time employment may also be directed to Adviye Tolunay, Ph.D. at or (951) 571-6346.