Course Highlight: PSYC 110 Pursuing your Purpose

PSYC 110 – Pursuing your Purpose is a 1/2 credit course that assists students in considering career paths and informs them of the opportunities available to them within the Psychology Department and across the College. The course is particularly well-suited for sophomores or others who have recently declared the major, but all are certainly welcome and have benefited from the course. The course will meet virtually one time a week on Tuesday evenings with part of the class being synchronous and the rest of the work being asynchronous.

Three students that recently took this course, Kristianna Jenner, Emily Gabrielian, and Kristi Rolf took some time to answer questions regarding this course:

Why did you decide to take PSYC 110?

Kristianna Jenner: I decided to take PSYC-110 because I needed a little more direction and guidance. Psychology is just so broad and I felt like I needed a different perspective on the field as well as to gain more practical information for my future.

Emily Gabrielian: After the fall semester of my sophomore year, I decided to switch my major from biochemistry to psychology. I really enjoyed the psychology courses that I had taken before, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with a psychology major. Right after I declared my major in psychology, Dr. Allen recommended this class to me. Dr. Allen emphasized that this class would help me find my path in psychology and would allow me to learn more about the amazing opportunities that Roanoke College and the psychology department has to offer. I decided to take PSYC 110 because I really wanted some guidance on what I wanted to do with my psychology major.

Kristi Rolf: I decided to take PSYC 110 on a friend’s recommendation because I had just declared it as my major and was totally in love with psychology, but had no idea what discipline or career path I wanted to pursue.

What did you and other students do in the class?

Kristianna Jenner: So in the class, we get to learn more about the practicality of the science of psychology. We do our own research to find out what things we are interested in and to find the degree requirements, location of the prevalence of jobs, and also the salaries. All of these are super important for making decisions on where you want to go to school, where you may end up living, and what things you’re genuinely interested in. There is also a community-Based learning aspect of the course, where we go out into the real world here in Salem and the surrounding towns to shadow people who are working in the fields (or are adjacent) you are interested in.

Emily Gabrielian: One of the reasons why I loved this class so much was because of the other students in the class. During this class, the students really get to know one another and become more comfortable with sharing their goals and dreams. Everyone in the class was motivated to learn more about the opportunities that Roanoke has to offer. Also, everyone in the class wanted to discover the potential paths they could go after graduating from Roanoke. It was clear that everyone in the class wanted to grow and develop. I am thankful for this class because it gave me the opportunity to connect with my peers and create new friendships.

Kristi RolfEach week Dr. Powell assigned readings and/or activities on a certain topic that we discussed in class that ranged from potential career choices to resources at Roanoke College. Everything we discussed was backed up by empirical articles and Dr. Powell brought guest speakers in for many classes which really enriched our learning. In the second half of the semester, Dr. Powell and Jesse Griffin from the office of civic engagement helped match each of us to a location for job shadowing where we would complete 20 hours before the end of the semester (sadly last semester we had to cut the job shadowing short due to COVID-19).

How has PSYC 110 helped you and what did you get out of it?

Kristianna Jenner: I learned about aerospace psychology, which might just be the coolest thing ever. I never would have found this entire subfield had I not been in this class. Aerospace psychologists work with airline personnel, airplane manufacturers, engineers, and airlines themselves. They work to help make the skies safer for everyone and the interfaces easier for those working in the airline industry. I found this to feel like it was something I could see myself doing with my life and I found the guidance I wanted out of the class.

Emily GabrielianAlthough our time was cut short due to the Coronavirus, I still got so much out of this class. This class helped me figure out that after Roanoke, I want to go to graduate school in order to further my learning and work towards becoming a counselor. After every class, I was so giddy about all of the opportunities that Roanoke has to offer. I was so excited about the opportunity to study abroad, complete an internship, and conduct research. Also, from my volunteer experience at the West End Center, I realized that in the future I want to work with children. Overall, I got so much more out of this class than what I was expecting. This class truly made me more motivated with my studies and more excited about what the future holds.

Kristi RolfPSYC 110 helped me the most by providing clarity on my degree path at Roanoke and all the resources that are available for me in the department and throughout the College.

Why would you recommend PSYC 110?

Kristianna Jenner: I definitely think that if you’re struggling while considering the future or even if you’re like me, where all you want is just a little more guidance on life, this is the class to take. Overall, I think that this class will only help, never hurt.

Emily Gabrielian: I would recommend PSYC 110 because this class gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself, but also learn more about what Roanoke has to offer. When I would talk with my friends about this class, they all emphasized how they wished their majors offered a class like this. Even if you know what you are going to do after Roanoke, I still encourage you to take this class because you may discover that there is another path that is more interesting. Also, this class gives you the opportunity to give back to the community and meet new people. I fully recommend taking this class because it will be so beneficial for you and your future.

Kristi RolfI would recommend PSYC 110 because it is a fantastic tool for getting more involved in the department and absorbing lots of wisdom from Dr. Powell which has been invaluable for me!

If you are interested in taking this course or would like to know some more information, please reach out to Dr. Darcey Powell at




Get Connected!

Twitter: @RC_Psychology
Linked In:
Instagram: rcpsychology