Kristen Boyle is a psychology major with a fine art minor. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in experimental psychology and will graduate with a combined BS/MS degree in psychology in the spring of 2017 from St. Joseph’s University.
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?
I have had a great experience so far in my school’s psychology department. Since my first semester freshmen year, I’ve enjoyed all of the psychology classes I have taken. My professors have always kept material interesting and engaging. There were other schools I was considering, but after visiting St. Joe’s, it became my first choice. I loved the overall ideals and atmosphere of the school combined with the fact that the psychology department offered an accelerated five-year Master’s program.
What influenced you to pursue a major/career in psychology?
I chose to major in psychology because I knew I wanted a career that would in some way help people. I took a psychology course in high school and found the subject extremely interesting. Psychology seemed like a perfect fit, something that I loved learning about and a way to be of service to others, whether that be in counseling or research.
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?
Yes, I have participated in one internship at a non-profit children’s behavioral health organization. I was able to shadow psychologists and see testing and counseling performed firsthand. I feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity. I found the internship on my own, but the department does provide a lot of resources to help students, along with feedback from past interns.
What are your future career plans and aspirations?
After graduating from St. Joseph’s, I’d like to go on to pursue a doctorate degree in psychology. I’m still trying to decide if I’d like a career in research or counseling. Right now I am thinking of becoming a school psychologist or using my interests in art to become an art therapist.
What has been the most challenging aspect of studying psychology, and was this something you had originally anticipated?
One of my favorite aspects of the field of psychology is how broad it can be; yet, in a way this can also be somewhat challenging. It’s hard to narrow down what interests me most of all. I hadn’t really anticipated this, but the more classes I take, and the more I learn, the more my curiosity is piqued.
What advice would you give someone else trying to break into this field?
I would advise them to take every opportunity to experience a broad range of career paths. Don’t be afraid to job shadow a wide variety of professions and take on internship, volunteer, and research opportunities. I feel lucky to be a part of a program that has allowed me to intern, study abroad, as well as work alongside faculty in their research.
Is there anything you wish you had known about psychology ahead of time before choosing this career path?
I wish I had known how heavily I would be relying upon statistics. If I had known earlier in high school that I wanted to major in psychology, I would have taken a statistics course to make sure I liked this aspect of psychology too. Statistics are used not only in conducting your own research, but also in better understanding past psychological research.