What was your favorite experience while concentrating in the UM Psychology Department?
My favorite experience was getting involved with research. It grounded psychological research and theories for me. It gave me a better understanding of the foundation upon which psychological concepts are formed. I also enjoyed the research experience class in which we heard about the graduate students’ and post-doctoral fellows’ experiences. There are statements I remember hearing that I repeat to students today.
Favorite Psychology class & why
My favorite psychology class was Hormones and Behavior (Psychoneuroendocrinology). I enjoyed having a peek at the intersection of many different biological systems. At the time, it was wondrous to me how interdependent our psychological and physiological systems were.
What was your first step after undergraduate graduation & how did it impact your career path?
I spent a year working with a research team at the Department of family practice and preparing my graduate school applications. Taking the extra time allowed me to submit successful applications. Then, I entered a doctoral program in behavioral neuroscience.
What are you doing today?
I am currently an assistant professor in the department of Psychology at Marquette University. Some of the courses I teach include Biopsychology, Health Psychology and Research Methods. My research focuses on the ways that emotion impacts behavior. In particular, I want to understand under what circumstances do we need our emotions to help us engage in beneficial behavior. And, when we engage our emotions, what are the behaviors and decision we make.
What inspired you to enter that field/job/profession?
Introduction to Biopsychology inspired me in my sophomore year. I was fascinated by the inner-workings of the brain and the outward expression of those processes. But, the thing that really made me move forward was when the professor said in our last class that neuroscience needed more researchers. It was the first time I heard that was a career option. I was intrigued by the prospect of being able to ask and answer questions and get paid to do it.
How do you use your psychology undergraduate experience in your work?
I received a very strong educational foundation at the University of Michigan. In fact, I experienced the classes in my graduate program as an enhancement on the knowledge I already had. I still reflect on some of the information and examples from my undergraduate courses as I teach my own.
What excites you most about the future of your profession?
I am excited to see my fellow researchers continue to bridge psychological and biological processes.
What advice do you have for students getting a Degree in the UM Psychology Department or considering your profession?
My advice is for the students to get involved in the research process as early as possible. They should thoughtfully complete the in-class research assignments, because those assignments could be the start of a research career. And, they should interact with their professors.