Ami Patel, 2023
When are you graduating?
How did you choose your specific area of study?
The field of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology originally piqued my interest during my undergraduate education. Through my indirect and direct experiences with the workplace, I was dissatisfied with the quality of workplace interventions that were intended to enhance the employee experience––there was a clear scientist-practitioner gap. I chose to study I-O psychology to better understand the psychology of people in the workplace through the scientist-practitioner model. The interplay between contributing to and applying research embodies my professional aspirations as it relates to making the workplace better for all!
How did your academic experiences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences impact you?
It is abundantly clear that our I-O psychology graduate program is one of the best! Between learning from renowned researchers in the field, collaborating with peers in both the Master's and Ph.D. degree programs, leveraging the program's prime location and relationships with preeminent organizations for I-O psychologists, and connecting with the impressive alumni network, I am grateful for my experience in the CHSS.
Of which accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud?
The Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) has been such a salient part of my graduate experience. Community service has always been a focus of mine, and VPA provided me an outlet to do such through the application of I-O psychology. It has been gratifying to work alongside my peers to provide free volunteer assessments to nonprofits across the country. I am particularly proud of my work as the VPA Director this past year, and that of my fellow executive board members, in our contributions to strategically enhance the program during our tenure.
Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career?
Absolutely! Both as a professor and as a mentor, Dr. Reeshad Dalal has been a vital support to my success in this program. Dr. Seth Kaplan has been instrumental in my program experience as a professor and fellow collaborator. It was a privilege to learn from Dr. Steve Zaccaro in my first-ever graduate class and as my faculty advisor. Allen Chen is an exemplar of teaching assistants and was essential to my statistical training. Shea Fyffe is a wealth of knowledge that I was fortunate to benefit from.
What advice would you give to an incoming cohort of graduate students?
The experience is what you make of it! Put your best foot forward in your classes, build relationships with your cohort, and learn from your professors; seek and take all the opportunities you have access to. This is such a fundamental time in your career and I encourage incoming graduate students to use it wisely!