Alicia (Brannon) Canario (B.S. 1992)
* How/why did you choose Psychology as a major?
People have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I clearly remember being an 8th grader reading a book called "Why We Do What We Do". Understanding human behavior is an innate interest for me therefore deciding to major in Psychology was an easy decision for me.
* What specific skills did you develop by taking Psychology courses?
My psychology courses were instrumental in helping me develop skills related to analysis, problem solving, understanding others, cognitive resilience and relationship building.
* Outside the classroom, what opportunities/experiences were most beneficial?
I spent several semesters as a volunteer for various psychology research studies as well as working with a professor who was studying happiness. Those experiences broadened my exposure as I was still trying to determine how I wanted to utilize my Psychology degree.
* Did you believe that you “had to” obtain more schooling after your bachelor’s degree?
I did in fact feel as if I had to obtain more schooling after my bachelor’s degree. My experience is a bit different from others in that during my junior and senior year I realized that I wanted to pair my Psychology degree with an advanced degree in Human Resources. I was interested in pursuing a career in Human Resources and I wanted to gain more knowledge and competencies in the field before beginning my career. I felt that obtaining the advanced degree in Human Resources would catapult my career.
* In retrospect, what would you have done differently as an undergraduate?
The number one thing I would have done differently as an undergraduate is taking advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. Experiencing other cultures and forcing myself to get out of my comfort zone would have been very beneficial as a young adult. I have traveled abroad extensively as a professional and the experience has been so very enriching to me personally.
* If you continued more schooling after your bachelor’s degree, share your reasons.
I continued with more schooling after my bachelor’s degree to catapult my Human Resources career. I’m a very driven, goal-oriented person and my focus was learning as much as I could about Human Resources to allow me to start working in the field. I was eager to be able to not only work in the field but to feel knowledgeable about the field as well.
* Describe how you utilize your undergraduate Psychology skills in your current job/career.
It’s truly amazing how much I utilize my undergraduate Psychology skills in Human Resources. As an Human Resources professional, among other things it’s important to be able to relate to others at all levels, assess people/talent, defuse conflict, and utilize data to create solutions that positively impact others success. I also spend a significant amount of time counseling employees through various employee relation’s issues and concerns. I believe the foundation of these Human Resources skills is the understanding of human behavior. My Psychology degree has equipped me well to succeed in Human Resources.
* What pearls of wisdom can you offer to current undergraduate students?
To current undergraduate students, I encourage you to put yourself in situations that get you out of your comfort zone, get experience speaking in public as much as you can, volunteer to help others, and look fear directly in the eye and push through it because you have no idea how amazingly strong you really are!
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