Robert J. Sternberg's spectacular research career in psychology had a rather inauspicious beginning; like many of the psychologists profiled on this Web site, his interest in human intelligence began at an early age. In Dr. Sternberg's case, however, the interest was intensely personal. In elementary school he performed poorly on IQ tests, and his teachers' actions conveyed their low expectations for his future progress. Everything changed when his fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Alexa, saw that he had potential and challenged him to do better. With her encouragement, he became a high-achieving student, eventually graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University . In a gesture of gratitude, Dr. Sternberg dedicated his book, Successful Intelligence (1996) to Mrs. Alexa ( personal communication , July 29, 2004; portions retrieved from ;).