Dr. Mallavarapu earned her MS (2004) and her PhD (2009) in Experimental Psychology, with a subspecialty in Animal Behavior from Georgia Institute of Technology. She teaches Introduction to General Psychology, Research Methods, and Learning and Behavior at KSU. She regularly collaborates with undergraduate students on research. Dr. Mallavarapu’s research interests include zoo visitor behavior, nonhuman primate social behavior, and comparative cognition. She has conducted various studies on nonhuman primates at Zoo Atlanta, including post-conflict behavior, computer-assisted enrichment, and object permanence. Currently, she is collaborating with Dr. Lauren Taglialatela on a project on zoo visitor behavior. One of the goals of this project is to determine if, and to what extent, conservation education installations at zoos impact the knowledge, attitude, and behavior of zoo visitors. Another goal is to identify key variables that may influence visitor interest at different exhibits (such as type of species, animal size, activity and visibility, exhibit type and placement, visitor fatigue, lighting, visitor density, etc.).
Dr. Mallavarapu has presented her research at several national and international conferences and has published her research in the American Journal of Primatology, Animal Welfare, and Primates. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, the American Society of Primatologists, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.