Hello everyone! My name is Robert Viera ’23 and I’m from Ware, Massachusetts. I’m a sophomore undergraduate psychology major here at Clarkson University. If you are a prospective student considering Clarkson or a current Clarkson student thinking about changing your major, I hope this blog can be of use to you! Today I’ll be sharing with you some of my favorite things about my academic experience.
Before I jump in, some of you may be wondering, “What exactly is psychology?” Well, psychology is the study of mind and behavior — from exploring the activity of individual brain cells to the complex interactions between individuals and our society. It explores the nature and causes of abnormalities in the search for effective treatments to relieve people’s chronic mental health suffering.
Many high school students aren’t aware of the many career choices there are in psychology. There’s actually a wide range, including becoming a clinical, counseling, developmental, educational, forensic and legal, health, school, or sports psychologist; or working in industrial/organizational psychology, experimental psychology, or neuroscience. Psychology is also a great major if you are a pre-health (pre-med, pre-PT, etc.) student, as it provides a great foundation in physical and mental health.
So now I’m sharing six things I love about my major, the Department of Psychology, and the great times I’ve had as an undergrad at Clarkson.
One thing that drew me to Clarkson was the 97% job placement after college. Of the students graduating in the Class of 2019 who used our Career Services Center, 97 percent were placed in their chosen field of study in their first year after graduation. Also, Clarkson grads earn salaries in the top two percent in the U.S.
I also chose Clarkson because a close family friend, who was an alumnus, introduced me to the University. He had gone to Clarkson 30 years prior and had great things to say about his experience and the success it led to. In fact, his son, who is my best friend, also decided to attend Clarkson!
My favorite thing about psychology is that I get to help people. I love being able to give back to the world in a positive way. I chose to major in psychology because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, especially young teenagers. I know how important it is for young teens to have strong role models to help them navigate the challenges that arise.
I was very interested in psychology from a young age in high school and I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life. I was interested in math too, but I didn’t love it as much as psychology. When I graduate, I would like to work closely with young adolescents and provide them with counseling or mentorship.
Research Opportunities in the Department of Psychology
You should consider studying psychology at Clarkson because of the many opportunities the University has available. Early in your college career, you are able to participate in research with faculty or become a teaching assistant for a class.
I am currently on Dr. Lauren Petley’s research team for her hearing and attention lab. Our end goal is to create an auditory attention networks test similar to the visual attention networks test. Once we have results from the auditory test, we plan to compare them to results of the visual test to see if any brain regions are specialized for either visual or auditory attention.
I have had a lot of fun learning how research is conducted and being a part of something meaningful. In fact, our lab team plans on presenting at the University’s annual Research and Project Showcase (RAPS).
I have had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant (TA) for Dr. Petley’s Intro to Psych class and I have also had the opportunity to participate in research, as I mentioned above. I began my TA position in my second semester here and started research last semester. Being only a sophomore, I was pleased to be able to take on these roles so early on.
I’m looking forward to taking advantage of some of the many professional experiences available to me like internships where I can work with professional psychologists in a clinical setting. I also hope to take advantage of Clarkson’s Study Abroad Program for a semester.
If you come to study psychology here, my advice is to get involved in the Psych Department. The whole department is full of great faculty members and you won’t have the opportunity to meet all the people the department has to offer unless you get involved.
As I am on Dr. Petley’s research team, I have gotten to know her the best out of anybody in the department. She is a wonderful professor and person. The psychology community at Clarkson is not exactly huge, but everyone in the department is super supportive and great to talk to as well. This allows for tremendous bonds to be formed throughout your years here.
Extracurricular-wise, I am a member of the Clarkson Barbell Club where we work on things like creating healthy habits, stress reduction, muscle growth, and the ability to be the best version of yourself.
I am also a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity. Joining a fraternity or sorority provides a great opportunity for leadership and other responsibilities. To join a fraternity or sorority you have to have a minimum 2.5 GPA and most chapters help their members achieve higher grades through study hours and by using each other as a resource. They also organize social functions, like picnics, faculty dinners and trips to area attractions.
I’m only in the middle of my sophomore year, but as I look back on my first year-and-a-half in the Department of Psychology, I realize how much I’ve loved my time here and all the experiences and opportunities that I’ve had. I can honestly say that choosing Clarkson and Psychology specifically is one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am grateful to this program and the University for the amazing college experience I’ve had.