Alumni Reflections

"I believe (or at least like to think) that I have made many wise decisions in my life. One decision I have made that I know was possibly the wisest of all, was majoring in Psychology. I have used all that I have learned studying Psychology at St. Mary's College of Maryland on a daily basis. Since obtaining my degree I have been employed by two highly accredited organizations that have provided me with numerous life-changing experiences. I worked as a Caseworker with the Choice Program where I worked with at-risk and gang-involved adolescents and their families. I then worked for the Institute for Family Centered Services as a Family Centered Specialist, where I provided home-based family therapy. Had I not received a degree in Psychology from such an incredible college filled with such highly-educated and motivated professors, I would not be writing this post about my past successes. Best major there is (in my opinion)." ~Brian Mansky '07

Students Reflect: "Why I studied psychology"

Hope Lobkowicz '05 (Government Affairs Senior Associate with Pew Environment Group)

"I chose to major in psychology early on in my undergrad career at SMC. I was interested in animal behavior and cognitive psychology, but what helped me to make my final decision to major in this discipline rather than something like biology, for example, was the major's wide range of courses...Psychology is a great foundation for any future studies, and conducting any research study as an undergraduate will really help you get a hold of the field's general principles and applications. "

Abby Rotholz '05 (earned her MA in Counseling and Guidance with a minor in Native American Studies at New Mexico State University in 2013)

"Psychology is not a field that trains you with technical knowledge but instead gives you better insight into what it means to be human. Studying psychology at St. Mary's has helped me to develop a deeper and more intuitive understanding of behavior, motivation, and thought processes both in myself and in those around me. Learning about how and why people think, desire, strive and ultimately act the way they do can result in a fresh perspective on a lot of human interactions. Psychology is so interesting because it utilizes scientifically rigorous standards of empirical study to help explain our most personal aspects--how and why we are who we are. Of course not all psychological theories are empirically proven, but if nothing else, these provide food for thought and encourage educated introspection. A rudimentary understanding of human psychology is undoubtedly beneficial, both personally and professionally, to anyone not pursuing a career in hermitage. I plan to use the base of knowledge procured at St Mary's to work with kids in a residential treatment facility. Grad school (probably child clinical psychology) will come sometime after that, and eventually I would like to be a child and family therapist."

Brian Jobe '03 (Graduate Student, UMBC & Intern at Kennedy Krieger Institute)

"Finding psychology was a serendipitous experience for me; starting out as a computer science major and not being completely happy with that major. After my first psychology class, I realized the potential to use psychology as a tool to help people overcome their problems, and I've never regretted the switch. My time at St. Mary's greatly prepared me to enter in the research field, with especial importance given to my work on my SMP. The year-long project was a great learning experience, culminating in the joint presentation by Professor Nutt-Williams and myself at the 2003 EPA conference in Baltimore."

Patrick Vargas '92 (Associate Professor of Advertising, University of Illinois)

"At SMCM I changed majors a number of times, finally settling on philosophy because I was interested in finding answers to "big questions." Ultimately, philosophy didn't provide me with answers; it only increased the number and quality of questions I had. I took an intro psych course to fulfill a requirement, and found that I enjoyed it a great deal. In particular, I enjoyed the research methodology employed by scientific psychologists. Here, I thought, was a way to get some answers! Around the same time I developed an interest in stereotyping and prejudice. Social Psychology offered a way to combine my interests. I had the good fortune to work with Prof. Donna Eisenstadt (now at St. Louis University) on a variety of social psychological research projects, and found myself increasingly interested in the field. Prof. Eisenstadt helped guide me to Ohio State for graduate work, and the rest is history."

Leon J. Henry '88 (Executive Director of the MD Regional Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families)

"I knew early on that I wanted to work in human services, but needed an academic background that would enable me to truly understand people, the culture they operate in and the internal motivation that govern behavior. Even though I did not become a Psychologist, having a background in human behavior is a critical tool in understanding people and how my work can influence or improve their situation."