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My Experience in an I/O Psychology Program: An Interview with Graduate Student Sadie Pavao

July 2, 2020

In the current global climate, there are many things that remain uncertain. As a society, the way we live our lives has changed drastically. But, perhaps some of the most long-term adjustments are the ones taking place in the business world. Companies across the globe have implemented policies supporting remote work and flexible hours — many allowing these practices for the very first time. We are seeing the integration of work and life in a way previously unknown to the modern workforce. 

This change brings up questions about the sustainability and long-term implications of such policies and practices. How will this affect businesses? How will this impact quality of life? These are just some of the questions industrial/organizational psychologists are regularly asking in an effort to build cohesive, enjoyable, and successful workplace environments. 

Sadie Pavao is a Sacred Heart graduate student earning her Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. In this interview, she explains why she believes this field will become increasingly important in the coming years, what the future holds for I/O psychologists, and what excites her the most about earning her master’s in I/O psychology. Read on to hear some of her story and learn more about the future of the field.

Download our guide — What Can I Do with a Master's in I/O Psychology — to learn  how you can contribute to the next generation of healthy, thriving workplaces. 

What led you to the field of I/O psychology? Why are you passionate about this discipline?

I was exposed to the field of I/O psychology at a very young age because one of my family friends is an I/O psychologist. He would often tell me about his work, and I was fascinated that he was a practicing psychologist but in a business setting. So, early on I knew that this could be a potential career path for me. 

It was my AP Psychology course in high school that gave me my first real taste of the field and, from that point on, I wholeheartedly knew that this was the path for me. I have been eager for quite some time to get into the field and I am excited to apply what I have learned in this program. I am so passionate about this discipline because it is diverse in its practices and does not limit me to one career path. I/O psychology can take my career down so many avenues, and that is what is most enticing for me.

What do you think the future holds for the field of I/O psychology? 

I believe there will be a pressing need for I/O psychologists in the future, especially during these trying times. There could be long-lasting impacts from this pandemic, and it will be important for I/O psychologists to assist organizations in whatever they need, whether that means ensuring the wellness of their employees, assisting in recruitment methods, or conducting job analysis to understand the changing work environments. I/O psychologists can help in more ways than we might expect, and organizations will only fully see this in time. 

What are your career dreams or plans? How is your program preparing you to accomplish these goals?

I’m applying for a doctoral program in I/O psychology beginning in Fall 2021. In the meantime, while I finish my master’s degree, I’ll gain experience in the field. Once I’ve earned my doctorate, my ultimate goal is to first become a consultant and eventually a professor. 

This program has broadened my understanding of I/O psychology beyond anything I could have imagined. The courses I’ve taken and the connections I’ve made have really prepared me for what lies ahead. I have gained knowledge and skills to further my career and this program will forever serve as the foundation for all of my I/O psychology knowledge.

Why did you choose SHU for your graduate degree?

I chose Sacred Heart for my graduate degree because of the unique ability to complete a two-year program in one year. I am eager to kickstart my career but knew that my best chance of doing so, especially in this field, would be to continue my education. I wanted to complete my coursework as quickly as possible, while still having an authentic learning experience. The hybrid model of the program helped me to achieve both. The in-person classes allowed me to build relationships and connections with peers and professors, while the online component allowed me to complete the program in a timely manner.

Tell me about one faculty member who made a positive impact on your graduate school journey. 

One professor that truly had an impact on me is Dr. Austin. He was my professor for the training and development course and has been incredible as both a professor and a mentor. He was always thorough and able to explain things in such a way that made sense. He engaged us in class with different activities and has been one of the most approachable professors I have ever had. He has helped me in so many ways as a student, but more importantly, he has helped me gain confidence in myself and my work.

What advice do you have for prospective students thinking about enrolling in this program? 

My advice to a prospective student entering this program would be to have an open mind. I went into the program thinking I wouldn’t find certain courses very interesting, yet I am leaving with a newfound interest in so many areas, including training and development, all thanks to a professor who found ways to make the course fun and easily applicable to the real world. Since the field is so diverse in its practices and you are not limited to what you can do with your degree, have an open mind with all your courses — even if you think you may not be interested. You may surprise yourself!

Earn Your Degree in I/O Psychology at Sacred Heart University!

At SHU, we are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals by offering flexibility, support, and opportunities to enhance your learning experience. Our MS in I/O Psychology program provides students with an advanced foundation that can be applied to a wide range of career opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about our unique program, we invite you to download our guide or request more information today!

If you are interested in learning more about a graduate degree in I/O Psychology and how it can jumpstart a meaningful career, download our guide: What Can I Do with a Master's in I/O Psychology?

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SHU Graduate Admissions Team

About the Author

We are the graduate admissions team at Sacred Heart University. We aspire to create a welcoming and supportive environment for students looking to continue their education while empowering them in mind, body and spirit. We hope you find our resources helpful and informative as you explore and pursue a graduate degree at Sacred Heart!

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