Dr. Downey received her B.A. in Psychology with Highest Distinction from Purdue University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her dissertation research received an Honorable Mention for the 2008 Martin E. P. Seligman Positive Psychology Graduate Research Award. She joined the IU Kokomo faculty in the fall of 2007. In 2011, she was honored by the Indiana Disabled American Veterans for her work having psychology students interview veterans from the Kokomo, Indiana area.
In 2012, she received both the IU Kokomo Trustee's Teaching Award and the Amicus Award (a teaching honor awarded by student vote). Her research has been published in Psychology and Health, Eating Behaviors, the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, and in several edited volumes, including one published by the American Psychological Association. She also co-edited a volume on racial and developmental influences on lifespan development, with Dr. Edward C. Chang at the University of Michigan. In the Fall of 2013, she assumed the role of department chair. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and maintaining a near-obsession with Zumba.