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St. Joseph's University Psychology - Q&A with Patrick Ryan


Patrick Ryan is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and doubling with a Bachelor of Art in Quantitative Economics. He is a rising sophomore, planning on graduating in 2018 from Saint 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 nothing but positive experiences with Psychology at Saint Joseph's University. My teachers have provided great classroom experiences and, while I have not had the opportunity to conduct research yet, I have taken part in many intriguing studies. In choosing a school to study Psychology, there were a variety of options for me. However, what made SJU stand out was a particular meeting I had with a faculty member while visiting the school during my senior year. The faculty member was Dr. Anastasio, who I had the pleasure of having as my professor for Intro to Personality. She assured me that there would be countless opportunities for research and particularly catered to my interests in the fields of behavioral research and Behavioral Economics.

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

Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point first sparked my interest for the inner workings of the mind. After reading this work, I decided that I would take a Psychology elective and seek out more books on the topic. These inquiries supported my ultimate decision to pursue Psychology as a major.

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?

Currently I am interning at a small family wealth management firm where I assist in organizational work and research on various foreign and domestic markets. Since I only just completed my freshman year at the university, I have not had the opportunity participate in an internship connected to Psychology. However, as an upperclassmen at SJU, students have an opportunity to participate in a Psychology internship as an experiential requirement. While I have not participated in this program, some students that I know mentioned how helpful the department was in their internship searches. 

What are your future career plans and aspirations?

I can’t say with any certainty what my future career plans and aspirations are, I feel like they have been changing every day. I would like to do something related to the field of Behavioral Economics. I think applying Psychology to other fields to better understand behavior and decision making is extremely interesting.

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

For me, the most challenging aspect of studying psychology has been focusing on the biological aspect of the subject. The biological makeup of the brain and body may not have been something that I originally anticipated to study, but I welcome it. While it is difficult at times to remember various structures and functions, it is an aspect of Psychology that I enjoy learning about.

What advice would you give someone else trying to break into this field? 

My advice to anyone thinking about breaking into the field of Psychology would be not to be deterred by what people say. I have encountered many people who think that I’ll never get a job with a Psychology degree or who tell me how much education I will need for a decent job. I firmly believe that if you work hard, you will be successful. So if the field interests you, study it!

Is there anything you wish you had known about psychology ahead of time before choosing this career path?

I would say that I wish that I had known more about applications of Psychology and different avenues of careers. I knew that Psychology interested me but that I did not have any desire to be a clinical psychologist. Through my own research and discussions with professors I have found many applications for the field. However, this would have been very helpful information to know before choosing Psychology as my major. 

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