What was your favorite experience while concentrating in the UM Psychology Department?
That is hard to say. I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I liked the research and working with individual faculty members.
Favorite Psychology class & why
Mathematical Models, taught by Clyde Coombs. It was a new topic then and is an important topic now.
What was your first step after undergraduate graduation & how did it impact your career path?
My first step was to try to find a job. I moved to Chicago (that was as far as I could get away from New York City where I was from). I needed to make money and finding a job with a BA in psychology was next to impossible. That is true now also. Psychology is a Ph.D field. I had taken a number of statistics classes and was therefore able to get a job with those skills first at an insurance company and then working for the Chicago Civil Service Commission writing civil service examinations. This job impacted my career path only in the sense that I realized that I had to use my statistics skills for work. I then had several jobs in San Francisco and Los Angeles before being encouraged by my psychologist colleagues that if I wanted to work in any aspect of the field of psychology I needed to go to graduate school and get a PH.D. That is what I did. I returned to graduate school at UCLA nine years after getting my BA.
What are you doing today?
I work in public mental health as a manager and specialize in performance and outcome measurement- figuring out how to make our clinical programs effective.
What inspired you to enter that field/job/profession?
My major area in the Ph.D program was in research design and measurement with a minor in personality theory. I worked as a researcher and then realized that I needed to have a content area. Thus, I completed a post doctoral program in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Child/Adolescent. From there I had the opportunity to practice and supervise and eventually manage programs. I always continued research and realize more than ever that to be a psychologist one must know science and math. These skills allowed me to progress and combine a variety of interests.
How do you use your psychology undergraduate experience in your work?
Very little. It was the background I needed to go to graduate school where I acquired the necessary training to become psychologist. Undergraduate education in psychology is not a terminal degree. It is preparation for graduate education and to make choices regarding which of the many specialties within psychology to peruse.
What excites you most about the future of your profession?
As a psychologist in the applied world I realize that if psychology in that arena is to continue we must vastly change our training. Education is neurology, physiology, biology and math and statistics is a must. Without that psychologists will be lost and replaced by nurses, social workers and others who are less expensive employees. Psychology must move in the direction described here.
What advice do you have for students getting a Degree in the UM Psychology Department or considering your profession?
My suggestion is get out into the world, get some experience, figure out what you are interested in and if it is psychology determine what aspect of the field you are interested in and after a few years find the right Ph.D program for you. If you are interested if not do something that you are interested in. Don’t make decisions impulsively. You will have to work for years to come and you want to like what you are doing. Work experience helps make that decision and that takes a bit of time. Some people are clear about their career bath at graduation from undergraduate school. If that is where you are, then go to grad school right away.