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St. Joseph's Psychology - Q&A with Emily Grossner

Meet Emily Grossner. Emily earned her B.A. in psychology from Franklin & Marshall College in 2012 and her M.S. in experimental psychology from Saint Joseph’s University in 2015. 

What has your experience in psychology been like at St. Joseph's University? Were there other schools you were considering, and if so, why did you choose this one?

My experience in the Master’s program in experimental psychology at Saint Joseph’s University was wonderful! This program provided me with countless research and academic experiences that have shaped me into a strong student in the field of psychology. While in this program, I was able to take graduate courses in multiple areas of psychology that I had not been exposed to during my undergraduate years. I was also able to delve further into statistics and research, both of which are skills necessary for continuing my education in a doctoral program. SJU was my top choice for a Master’s program because it provided me with the opportunity to work closely with one mentor and focus my research in a specific domain. I believe that this mentorship model is important for graduate school because it allows students to form strong relationships with professors and develop a niche within this vast field. 

What influenced you to pursue a major/career in psychology?

Since high school, I have been fascinated by the workings of the brain and how it influences our behavior. I was not originally interested in the therapy aspect of psychology, but I knew I wanted to focus in cognitive or neuropsychological research. It was not until coming to Saint Joseph’s University that I was able to strongly focus in the field of neuropsychology and pursue both clinical and research interests. 

Have you participated in any internships? If so, how many, how were they, and did you find the schools resources to be helpful in helping you find this opportunity?

After my first year in graduate school, I was offered an internship at a clinical neuropsychology office and sports concussion clinic. This was exciting for me because the Master’s program at SJU is an experimental research program and does not provide clinical experiences. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with clinical neuropsychologists and discover how my research relates directly to a clinical population. My mentor was incredibly helpful in helping me to secure this internship. I was able to use his connections in the field to network with other neuropsychologists and find an internship that suited my strengths, as well as provided me with new experiences. 

What are your future career plans and aspirations?

In a few months, I will continue my education in a Ph.D. program in clinical neuropsychology at Penn State University. I will be continuing my research in neuropsychology, specifically focusing in recovery from traumatic brain injury. My ultimate career goal is to become a professor or researcher in an academic medical center. 

What has been the most challenging aspect of studying psychology, and was this something you had originally anticipated?

I think my biggest challenge in studying psychology has been breaking into a specific domain within the field. Psychology in general is such a vast field and I have found it challenging to narrow my focus to a particular area and find faculty who specialize in my area of interest. This was a challenge that I did not originally anticipate when I first began my undergraduate studies, as I did not initially realize how many areas of psychology there truly are. 

What advice would you give someone else trying to break into this field? Is there anything you wish you had known about psychology ahead of time before choosing this career path?

My advice for students entering psychology would be to build strong connections with multiple professors and mentors. All of my professors have provided me with many skill sets and multiple viewpoints on research and psychology. Professors also have connections to other psychologists outside of the university, so there are always countless networking opportunities to be had. I wish I had learned this lesson earlier so that I could have begun networking and forming new connections from day one! 

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