Connect with Zach at email@example.com
Hometown: Gastonia, NC
Major: Occupational Health
What do you find most challenging/rewarding about your graduate school experience?
The most challenging/rewarding facet of my graduate school experience thus far has been gaining proficiency in the field of statistics and related statistical software (e.g., SPSS, SAS and R). Our field requires extensive training in research design and statistical data analysis, and although this training is particularly challenging, it is also highly useful and desirable. For example, knowledge in this arena allows I-O Psychologists to design reliable and valid measures and accurately describe the results of a study to any given audience.
What is cool about your area of study and why should people care about it?
Our field is incredibly cool, as there are a wide variety research and career opportunities that allow researchers and practitioners to use psychology to solve a diverse range of business problems. I-O Psychologists examine such topics as employee selection, workplace health interventions, and employee job attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction). Moreover, we are able to provide data-driven solutions to organizations in order to enhance individual quality of life and optimize human performance. For example, I am interested in the application of our field to sports, and more specifically, the personality traits of professional athletes that are related to performance. As an I-O Psychologist, I may be afforded the opportunity to consult the Carolina Panthers on the selection of their athletes (i.e., employees) in the NFL Draft.
Tell us about any academic awards/recognitions/publications you may have achieved:
After completing the Master’s degree program, I received the departmental award for “Outstanding Student Award for the Industrial/Organizational M.A. Program.” Additionally, my Master’s thesis entitled, “Workplace Mentoring: The Impact of Humor Style and Frequency” was selected for a poster presentation at the 29th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) in Honolulu, HI. I am involved in several manuscripts under submission to peer-reviewed journals, including my Master’s thesis, which has been submitted to the Journal of Applied Psychology for review. Additionally, I was chosen to represent the I-O and OHP programs as a speaker at the 3rd Annual Prescription for Success Conference at ECU.
What recognition are you most proud of and why?
According to Ace Ventura, “Pride is an abomination. One must forego the self to obtain total spiritual creaminess, and avoid the chewy chunks of degradation.” That said, the recognition that I am most proud of would easily be the acceptance of my thesis as a poster presentation at the SIOP conference. Other than obvious reasons such as getting to travel to Hawaii, I am also proud of this accomplishment because the fruits of my academic labor will be recognized at this prestigious conference that has a notoriously low acceptance rate for submissions. Finally, it is pleasing to know that this research is valuable to others, and that it could potentially be used to improve organizations.
How do you think your ECU graduate education has helped you?
My graduate education has given me an unequivocal advantage in the job market. Specifically, this program provides me with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be an effective I-O Psychologist. Additionally, my experience at ECU has granted me with the opportunity to serve as a graduate assistant in the Office of Innovation and Economic Development, and prepared me for a summer internship in the talent management department at Duke Energy in Charlotte, NC. Furthermore, the outstanding faculty members associated with our program are exceedingly invested in both the professional and personal development of the students.
What would you say to someone considering ECU as a potential graduate school?
When considering any school as a potential site for graduate study, it is important to do your research on the program and visit the schools of interest. If you do your research, you will find that ECU’s graduate programs are highly competitive and consistently ranked amongst the top graduate programs in the nation, particularly in the I-O Psychology field. Additionally, if you visit the campus and meet with the faculty/students, you discover the exceptional academic resources, pervasive passion for ECU football, and priority on balancing work and play. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly challenging to get accepted into any graduate school, so it is imperative that you apply to as many schools as possible, including ECU. Finally, ECU is one of the few schools that offer I-O and OHP concentrations at the graduate-level, thus making it an attractive option for students interested in these fields.
Hobbies: Watching collegiate/professional football and
basketball, Playing flag football, pick-up basketball and golf,
Practicing piano/keyboard (16+ years of experience), Hanging out with my
girlfriend, Ajsela, and our dog, Hunter, Sharpening my video game
prowess, Socializing with friends at local saloons, Listening to a
variety of music genres including
R&B and bluegrass
*Reading/Responding to emails continuously throughout the day via school computer, laptop, and iPhone (approximately 70 emails per day; from four different email accounts)
College: Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Psychology
Clubs & Organizations: SIOP – Student
Affiliate, NCIOP – Student Affiliate, SOHP – Student Affiliate, ECU Personality
and Behavior Lab – Active Member, ECU Sports Analytics Lab – Founder
Favorite class: Issues in Personnel
Selection (PSYC 6420)
Professor who has influenced you the most: Dr. Mark Bowler – Advisor
and Dissertation Chair
Dream job: Industrial-Organizational
Psychologist who is the CEO / Founder of a consulting firm
Reasons for choosing Occupational Health Psychology: I am interested in the application of
psychological principles in the workplace to solve business problems.
Additionally, I want to provide data-driven solutions to organizations in order
to enhance individual quality of life, optimize human performance, and increase
Your words to live by: "If you live each day as if
it was your last, some day you'll most certainly be right."
Significant life lesson you’ve learned while at ECU:
One significant life lesson that I have learned while at ECU has been to
strike a balance between work and life. Although it may be difficult to
achieve work-life balance during graduate school, it is imperative that
you work hard when you are engaged in academic/work-related endeavors,
but also make a conscious effort to socialize, relax, and pursue
personal interests. Finding an individualized work-life balance will
enable you to be a successful and fully functioning person during this
challenging life experience.