Jackie Cavanaugh is a senior psychology major. In the fall, she will be starting a Master’s degree program in Health Psychology at Western Kentucky University.
UofSHealth Psych: Where are you from?
JC: Philadelphia, PA.
UofSHealth Psych: Why did you choose the University of Scranton?
JC: I originally heard about the school through my dad, who is an alumnus. Once I had the chance to visit I fell in love with everything about the university.
UofSHealth Psych: Why did you choose Psychology as your major?
JC: There has just always been something so interesting to me about learning about behavior and the mind that no other discipline can challenge.
UofSHealth Psych: What advice would you give to first years in the Psychology Department?
JC: Get as involved as possible! We have so many clubs, activities, labs, and opportunities in the Psychology Dept. Putting in that extra effort of being a TA or going to a club meeting will really enhance your experience at the University. It will also allow you to gain skills and experiences that many students in other Psychology programs may not have the chance to get.
UofSHealth Psych: You had a chance to work with professors outside of the classroom. What did you do with them?
JC: I have had the chance to work as a teaching assistant for Dr. Buchanan, Dr. Cannon, and Dr. Arigo. I have also been involved working on research with Dr. Cannon and Dr. Arigo.
UofSHealth Psych: So how do you get involved in research?
JC: I would definitely suggest finding out about the different labs we offer here. If you find anything particularly interesting go and talk to the professors, from my experience everyone here has been very helpful and welcoming.
UofSHealth Psych: Is doing research that important? What about field work?
JC: Research and field work are all very helpful in rounding out your psychology education. Though the department does not require any of these in its core curriculum, by engaging in these activities you can really take your education in the field to the next level. These are also the types of experiences that grad schools and employers want to see on your CV.
UofSHealth Psych: Did you get to go to any conferences? What was that like presenting?
JC: I attended the Society of Behavioral Medicine conference this past April in San Antonio, TX. It was very interesting to present a poster. Many people who were knowledgeable in the Health Psychology field approached me with some great questions about my project. I also presented at the University’s Celebration of Student Scholars (pictured at the top of this post).
UofSHealth Psych: What are you doing after graduation?
JC: I had a decision between grad school and taking some time off to build up my experience. I choose graduate school because the program that I am attending in Kentucky is allowing me to pursue a degree and gain experience.
UofSHealth Psych: You had choices in grad programs. What made you pick one over the other?
JC: I was debating between Loyola University Maryland and Western Kentucky University. The factors that helped sway my decision to WKU were the teaching and research opportunities offered. Speaking with Dr. Brausch, the head of my lab, and finding about the interesting research projects also influenced my final decision.
UofSHealth Psych: Favorite thing about the city of Scranton? What will you miss?
JC: Steamtown Mall… Just kidding. I love that Scranton has the ability to simultaneously feel like a city as well as a small town. It has all of the essential stores within walking distance and then a non-essential but much more awesome hipster coffee shop. I’m going to miss having the best of both worlds!