Alumni return to campus to help judge psychology symposium projects


By: Katherine Gentry
Creative Services Student Writer

PHOTO: PSYC symposium

Every year, psychology students who have participated in independent studies and field placements have the opportunity to create posters that illustrate and share the results of their research. As the symposium has grown over the years, it has become more difficult for faculty and graduate students to find sufficient time to judge the posters. To solve this problem, the Department of Psychology invited alumni to assist with the judging. Paul Pohto (’14), one of the alumni judges, remarked, “Seeing how many students are involved now is a testament to faculty involvement and the culture within the department.”

As judges, the alumni had the chance to interact with current students while reviewing their projects. Angela Perta (’13) said her favorite part of judging the projects was getting to meet the students and hear what they are passionate about. Returning to campus also allowed the alumni to reconnect with their professors. Lily Takahashi (’16) elaborated, “The best thing was seeing all of the faculty I used to work with. The relationships I formed as an undergraduate student have continued and it was rewarding to see that my professors remembered me and it was rewarding to show them how they had an impact on my life even after I graduated.”

The alumni judges said that participating in the symposium as undergraduates helped them with graduate school, career paths and particularly with public speaking. Perta explained, “I definitely think that presenting helped me with the public speaking skills I have used since graduating. Putting students in that professional environment before they graduate is helpful to prepare them for the outside world.” Chris Frazier (’09) agreed, saying, “The presentation aspect was very helpful. I didn’t like doing it at the time and I got very nervous, but now I am more at ease with public speaking.”

PHOTO: PSYC symposium

The symposium also taught important management and networking skills. Pohto noted that the research aspect helped him to learn how to collaborate and network. Takahashi also felt it helped her in her career and said, “It helped me with my management skills. Doing research as an undergraduate student is like having another job and it has a lot of transferable skills. It’s helped me transition into the professional world and my career in general.

The Psychology Symposium has expanded and changed over time, but it continues to offer students an opportunity to share research and develop important skills that they continue to use after graduation.

Published: Friday, April 27, 2018

Last Updated: Friday, March 15, 2019

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