Andrea Lato

What are you doing now?

I attended the University of West Florida (UWF) in Pensacola, FL from 2011 – 2013 and earned my Master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology (I/O). While attending UTM, I started out as an Accounting Major and switched to Psychology my Junior year. I chose to get a graduate degree in I/O Psychology because I felt it was a good match given my prior education and interests. I chose to apply to UWF’s program instead of others because this program focused on application, not just theory. Many courses required students to work in teams and partner with organizations in the community to complete their projects. Also, unlike most I/O programs, UWF’s program requires a course on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) law which most students, myself included, found very useful after graduation, especially if you are going into the field of Human Resources (HR). UWF also offers the option of completing a thesis or an internship. Since I chose to do an internship, my last semester was spent working in an HR department of a logistics company in Houston, TX instead of in the classroom. My favorite part about this program was the combination of psychology courses and organizational/business courses. I took advanced cognitive psychology, research methods, recruiting and selection, organizational development, just to name a few.

 

Since I graduated, I have worked in the Oil and Gas Industry as a HR Assistant, HRIS Administrator, and most recently as an HR Analyst. I am sitting for the SHRM-CP exam in May, which is a certification exam for HR Professionals.

How did UTM Psychology Program help you achieve what you have become?

I believe the UTM Psychology program prepared me well for graduate school. The courses were educational, well taught, and challenging. Courses such as Dr. MacKewn’s research class, and Dr. Merwin’s Abnormal Psychology class, were some of my favorites. In addition to enjoying the courses simply because I enjoy Psychology, the professors all had their own unique teaching styles and personalities. In addition to being teachers, the UTM Psychology faculty were also great mentors. I spent most of my time outside of class in Dr. Merwin’s office picking her brain about Psychology careers or interesting books she had read and even though it’s been 8 years since I graduated, Dr. Merwin and Dr. MacKewn still graciously answer when I call for even more advice!

What advice would you give to students who are thinking about becoming UTM psychology majors?

I never regretted my decision to major in Psychology at UTM. I was originally an Accounting major until my Junior year when I switched to Psychology and never looked back. The UTM Psychology program was fun, interesting, and challenging. One piece of advice I have for anyone who becomes a Psychology major, is to take advantage of the team building opportunities this program offers. Quite a few Psychology courses require you to complete a project (research paper, article presentation, etc.) in addition to your regular tests and quizzes, and often you have the option of working in a group or individually on your project. I always asked to work individually on my projects, and when I got to graduate school I struggled learning how to function in a team environment. I have also found this skill to be very useful in the corporate world, but for you it may be at a hospital, or a university. Either way, take advantage of the team work opportunities that the Psychology program offers. Learning to work as a team is a skill that translates whatever environment you find yourself in.

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