MPS in Applied Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Hina Ullah

Hina Ullah

Describe your current area of research and/or your academic interests:

My area of interest is employee wellbeing, particularly for underrepresented minorities. Minorities, including ethnic and gender minorities, caregivers, neurodivergent individuals, immigrants, and those with invisible disabilities, have unique needs and are often overlooked in wellbeing research and policies. My interests lie in the research and the application of the research to enhance wellbeing and reduce burnout for marginalized groups.

Why did you choose George Mason to pursue your studies?

After moving to Northern VA from Toronto, Canada, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from George Mason. As an undergraduate, I took pride in the Mason community and benefited from the academic, research, and networking opportunities Mason offers. After my undergraduate degree, I pursued a career in social services, working and volunteering with multiple non-profit organizations. I was looking for a career change, particularly in organizational change and leadership development, and recalled some of my professors from Mason's Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology program from my undergraduate days. During my research, I discovered Mason had recently launched a virtual Applied I-O program. Due to my familial demands, the schedule seemed to be a good fit, and since I am interested in an applied focus, Mason was the only choice for me!

Are there faculty or staff members who have made a difference thus far during your Mason career? Please give an example of this impact if possible.

The MPS program director, Dr. Afra Ahmad, and the assistant director, Dr. Kevin Stagl, have significantly impacted my experience at Mason. Dr. Ahmad and Dr. Stagl have advised and mentored me in academic and professional arenas, as I navigated my career path and areas of interest while at Mason. Dr. Ahmad has encouraged me to stretch beyond my comfort level, which has allowed me to gain competencies and apply them to my professional and academic opportunities. Dr. Ahmad focuses on the interests and wellbeing of all of her students and is exemplary in ensuring that her students are reaching their full potential.

How do you hope to use your degree and studies in the future?

I hope to utilize my I-O degree to make a meaningful impact on employees in the workplace, particularly those from marginalized groups. Many individuals have unique personal, societal, social, or familial challenges they face in their lives; although these challenges can build resiliency, they require unique solutions in the workplace. I hope to use my knowledge and competencies gained from this degree and the experiences at GMU to help organizations and leaders meet the needs of minority and marginalized individuals and help impact the wellbeing of all employees. As Ruth Bader Ginsberg said, “real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” I hope to utilize my education and experience to create meaningful change for employees from all walks of life.

How will the Dean’s Challenge scholarship support your studies?

I am honored to be a recipient of the Dean’s Challenge Scholarship. The scholarship will provide opportunities for me to further my professional development and make a meaningful impact on employees and organizations.