Being an applied psychology major at UIC was one of the best decisions I made during my undergraduate career. I knew that I wanted more of a hands-on component to my education; the internship requirement of the applied psychology track gave me just that. PSCH 385, taught by Kathryn Engel, showed students how the real-world worked. We learned the basics of public speaking, professionalism, confidentiality, and research projects. Not only did we learn these concepts in class, but we also applied them directly in our internship settings.
I had the amazing opportunity to intern in the Narcotics Unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. My internship responsibilities included assisting the assistant state’s attorneys in identifying offenders for alternative treatment courts. Besides for the on-site work, I wrote an extensive year-long research paper evaluating the demographics of the participants of a new deferred prosecution program. The attorneys benefited from understanding the types of people who were successfully and unsuccessfully completing the program. I would not have been able to write that paper without the help of my applied psychology background, especially PSCH 385. Furthermore, Kathryn was an instrumental character in the completion of the paper.
Being an applied psychology major helped me decide my future career. I knew that I wanted to work with people directly. Therefore, I knew social work was the right career for me. I will be attending the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration in the fall. A huge thank you to the psychology department for helping mold me into the person I am today.