What are you doing now (career and/or educational wise)? Pursuing a PhD in Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology at the University of Central Florida. My research interests include studying the cognitive mechanisms of technological anthropomorphism, or why people perceive and treat technology as if it is humanlike.
How did your degree in Psychology help you in acquiring the position (or getting into the program) that you are currently in? The Psych major was helpful for getting into a Psych graduate program. Specifically, the education from Georgia Tech, the experience in the Engineering Psych labs on campus, and my Industrial Design minor helped me get into the applied field of Human Factors psychology.
How do the knowledge/skills learned in your undergraduate program assist you in your current position or program? I definitely received a strong foundation in Psychology that has helped me in my graduate courses. Some of the other requirements for the major, like taking a CS course and allowing freedom for a minor, helped shape my Psychology interests to focus on applied, experimental psychology. Most of all, the availability of lab experience was essential. I was able to get several years of research experience as an undergrad, which is not common for other majors at GT or for Psych majors at other universities. The hands-on experience helping to design and run studies was absolutely essential for my success as a graduate student.
What is your favorite memory of your time with the School of Psychology? I loved the small class sizes. You got to know your fellow majors very well because you all ended up in the same classes.
What advice would you give current and future GT Psychology Majors?
Take advantage of research opportunities. Look up the labs on campus and reach out to the faculty members. Get started on research as soon as possible for your schedule (I started second semester of Freshman year).
Take electives outside your major and try to get a minor. This is important to get experience in interdisciplinary settings as well as get more of the specific, applied skills that aren’t always taught in your general psych classes.
Focus on narrowing down your interests. Psych is a big field, and it is far more fruitful to focus on becoming an expert in one part of it than just having general knowledge. If you are interested in HCI, look into a CS or ID minor. For I/O, consider a business certificate. For clinical, a minor in biochemistry or even do the pre-health track.
Get to know the grad students. This is where the most honest and up to date information about post-undergrad life is going to come from.
Involve yourself across campus. Not only does it help widen your skills to include organization, leadership, and time management, but it helps spread the word about the psych major to others on campus.