Alumni Highlight: Industrial-Organizational Professionals!

Welcome to this week’s Alumni Highlights. We’re back to featuring a single incredible track in psychology: Industrial-Organizational. There are several career fields in which psychology is blended with other disciplines and Industrial-Organizational is one of those fields. Specifically, the Industrial-Organizational field blends knowledge from the disciplines of psychology and business! 

How did Jordan become a Human Resources Generalist?

Human resources was never really the position I thought I’d end up being in as a psychology major. I learned so much while earning my degree that I knew there were multiple paths that I could choose from. After receiving my degree from Roanoke, I went on to obtain my Master of Science degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Northern Kentucky University. I/O Psychology is about the study of the workplace and learning about employee performance, employee satisfaction, organizational development, training and development, and much more. I learned more about how statistics is used in a workplace setting and what types of workplace processes and policies can come from data obtained by my employees. While earning my degree, I realized that human resources was a position in which encompassed a lot of what I learned and was a gateway into being able to make more of a difference for employees in a workplace setting.”

What does Laura enjoy most about her role as a Senior Recruiter?

Helping candidates navigate our interview process and eventually being able to extend offers! Creating that positive experience and being a part of their journey is extremely rewarding. I love that we can offer these programs and knowing this opportunity can change someone’s life is everything.”

What is Kaitlin’s favorite part about being an Associate Consultant?

Every project is different, and I really like that it allows me to constantly learn something new every day! One day, I might score an employee assessment or interview to predict who will be a good hire for an organization. Another day, I might work on writing development reports that focus on employees’ strengths and development areas for rising leaders in an organization. Some days I might help with brainstorming and creating a selection system with a client to ensure employees are being hired fairly and accurately. These are just a few of the many things I’ve worked on, and I really enjoy the close-knit team setting that makes this work fun!”

What are some of Destinee’s duties as an Organization Development/Human Resources Coordinator?

I assist and support in the design, implementation, delivery, and ongoing maintenance of people programs that improve employee experience and organizational effectiveness in various areas such as employee engagement, performance management, leadership development, career development, HR initiatives, and culture.”

What responsibilities fall under Jessica’s role as a Personnel Psychologist? 

“Essentially I work with a lot of data and concepts related to the human element of work. A few example topic areas I may cover include understanding what skills are needed for a certain position, how to best evaluate if a training is effective, ensuring that selection systems are valid, analyzing exit survey data, and designing a data management system for personnel related data.  These are just a few examples, but essentially if you think about data Human resources might collect, it is likely that someone in my field would be involved in some way!”

From senior recruiter and Human Resources staff, to personnel psychologist, our alumni showcase some of the many opportunities within the field of industrial and organizational psychology. By sharing their experiences, these alumni hope to inspire the next generation of I-O psychology folks to explore and pursue their passions. 

We also asked our alumni to reflect on the Roanoke courses or experiences that have been most relevant to their current careers.

In terms of influential classes, alumni named PSYC-202 Research Methods in Psychology, PSYC-204 Quantitative Methods, PSYC-382 Industrial-Organizational Psychology, and PSYC-251 Social Psychology. 

Several alumni noted how instrumental the Roanoke College faculty mentors have been to their success. Many of them had never known about the field of Industrial and Organizational Psychology before they were exposed to it either in their coursework, or through individual professional development conversations with faculty. 

Alumni also highlighted specific research and internship experiences they had during their time at Roanoke that helped facilitate their successes after graduation. Kaitlin Busse mentioned both when saying, “[In] Dr. Powell’s research lab… I was able conduct research on an I-O Psychology topic area and present findings at the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology conference” and “I interned in a variety of HR roles during my summers (e.g., talent management, learning and development) where I gained practical knowledge of what it’s like to do this work in a real-life setting.”

Laura Pope, MS, sums up the sentiment shared by many of our alumni: “Truly, all of my experiences within the department helped set me up for success. I learned those invaluable ‘softer skills’ needed for a successful career (i.e., time management, problem-solving, working with others, achieving goals, etc), not to mention great general advice from professors.” These words echo the impact that Roanoke College’s psychology department and faculty have had on our alumni, emphasizing the value of both academic and personal development. 

If this series hasn’t highlighted it enough yet, we highly encourage you to seek out professors who inspire you and be open to learn from our very own experts in the field!

As Alumni Weekend approaches in just over one week, we look forward to showcasing our final set of alumni stories in the coming days. Stay tuned for next week’s spotlight on more than one exciting career path!

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