Amazing Students

The UTC I-O program attracts and selects some of the strongest graduate students in psychology from all over the country and many international locations. Curious about who our current students are? Check out the bio summaries below.

First Year Students (2020-2021)  

Ashton Adams

Why I-O?

I knew I wasn’t very interested in counseling psychology, but I still wanted to pursue a career path where I would have the opportunity to help others, which is when my advisor pointed me in the direction of I-O. Our work life takes up such a vast majority of our time which is why I believe it’s so important to enjoy where you work and feel passionate about what you’re doing. I want to prevent people from dreading their workdays and instead feel passionate and motivated towards their work.

Why UTC?

I was first interested in UTC because of its ranking on SIOP which led me to take a deeper look into the curriculum and what the program offered. I was immediately happy to find not only would I be gaining knowledge in the classroom through a variety of coursework, but I would also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field and saw all the opportunities this program could give me. Once I had the opportunity to talk to the professors, I knew this was the place for me. It’s just a bonus Chattanooga is such a neat place to live!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashton-e-adams/ 

Randi Allen

Why I-O?

I took my first psychology course my senior year of high school.  Since then, I have been continuously drawn to the field of psychology and quickly discovered in college that I wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to put my passion for psychology to work.  I-O allows me to take the subject I enjoy so much and practice it in an applied, fast-paced setting. 

Why UTC?

This program is truly so special.  The curriculum is so well rounded, the faculty is phenomenal, and the students have nothing but positive things to say about the program.  What stood out to me when deciding where I wanted to go was the emphasis on gaining applied experience during graduate school.  I love that I will be leaving UTC with both the classroom education and the hands-on experience I need to succeed.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/randi-allen-49196b160/

Zac Brueggemann

Why I-O?

I was originally interested in sport psychology, but when I realized what the job market looked like for sport psychology I started looking elsewhere. I-O psychology integrates many of the same principles as sport psychology, and the opportunities with this degree are endless. Plus the idea of making work more meaningful, efficient, and enjoyable, is something I’m eager to be a part of.

Why UTC?

I had the opportunity to visit the UTC I-O program while I was still in undergrad. The program was amazing from the faculty, the structure, all the way down to the students. It’s a nationally ranked program and that is apparent from everybody involved in the organization.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zach-brueggemann-bb59a711a/

Monica Cheung

Why I-O?

I originally wanted to pursue a career in counseling, but when I discovered I-O psychology, I realized that I could leave a widespread, positive impact on countless lives in the workforce. Since full-time employees typically spend forty hours each week working, I’d love to make those hours (which is an uncharacteristically large portion of a person’s life) enjoyable, fulfilling, and meaningful.

Why UTC?

When I started my search for graduate programs, I saw that UTC was ranked #2 on SIOP’s rankings which definitely drew my attention! After some more research, I discovered the program was very comprehensive and placed great importance on both academic and practical experience which I valued as well. The course catalog also brought out my inner/outer nerd, and I heard great things about Chattanooga! (I’m still in awe of the fact that I see mountains constantly in the background!)

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/monica-cheung/

Daniel deSa

Why I-O?

I decided to pursue a career in I/O Psychology because of the massive relevance it holds in today’s world. I/O Psychology can be used to make organizations work better for people. Whether it be making sure that an organization’s jobs are designed to maximize a sense of fulfillment for those who work them or finding ways to mitigate the stress people feel at work, I/O Psychology seemed to be a meaningful career path to take for myself. I chose I/O psychology because I want to make a difference in people’s lives and work is such a defining part of the way that we connect with the world. Pretty much everyone works in some way or another and it is this work that drives all the political and economic systems that we are beholden to. I want to learn how to make the organizations that comprise these political and economic systems work at their fullest potential through the power of science and data. That is what motivates me to study Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Why UTC?

I chose UTC because I actually read what the students in the years above me had said about the program on this very webpage! I saw that the program had really excellent students. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danieldesa/

Autumn LesterWhy I-O?

I have always had a passion for psychology and strategic planning. While working in Human Resources, I realized that I wanted to take it a step further and focus on big picture projects like employee retention and assessment. I-O psychology gave me the opportunity to find fulfilling work in a field I could excel in.   

Why UTC?

Growing up in Chattanooga, UTC always seemed like a good place to go to graduate school. The city was affordable to live in, I had experience working with local industries, and the campus culture seemed like a good fit for me. After seeing their SIOP rankings, reading about their curriculum, and talking to the faculty, I knew the program would be a great place to get my master’s degree.  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/autumn-lester-b2a22717b/ 

Brooke Mende

Why I-O?

I have always found I-O psychology fascinating because of how unique it is; it integrates psychology, business, and aspects of many other jobs to where there is no other field quite like it. Our lives can often be impacted by how much we enjoy our work. If any change can be made in a work environment to help people enjoy their jobs more and organizations perform better, then I want to be part of that change. My hope is to be the impact.

Why UTC?

I had heard great things about UTC’s program from my mentor at ETSU, who is an I-O psychologist himself. I had the chance to attend RCIO last year and meet the faculty and current students, which showed me that it’s not the program’s reputation that makes it great, but the people within the program who uphold that reputation. On top of that, our campus is located in a beautiful city with many job opportunities available. It really was a no-brainer for me. 

Scott Meyers

Why I-O?

I-O psychology allows me to truly understand the impact and value of psychological research and application. Being able to positively impact both workers and organizations in the future has continuously drawn me to this field. Additionally, I was attracted to the diversity and flexibility of both speciality areas and career paths within I-O. 

Why UTC?

I was initially drawn to the UTC program from its favorable SIOP rankings and detailed information regarding the program’s goals and values on the website. My decision was solidified by the wealth of opportunities for applied experiences and the comprehensive  curriculum that the program provides. It was clear that UTC would allow me to explore the diverse areas within I-O and set me up for a lasting career.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-meyers-751a15159/ 

Ashlyn Moraine

Why I-O?

I initially developed an interest in I-O Psychology through my own experiences in the workforce. Some major issues that I encountered and observed were favoritism between leadership and subordinates and how that affected employee attitudes. When my undergraduate psychology class introduced me to an area of interest that looks to address these exact issues, I knew it was for me. I-O psychology is the perfect balance between improving an individual’s life while also improving an organization as a whole.

Why UTC?

I chose UTC because of its SIOP rankings, but also because of the incredible opportunities that the program offers. The professors here genuinely care about the success of their students during AND after their education here. It was important to me to be in a program that offers the kind of support that the UTC I-O Program offers its students.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashlyn-moraine-51a6181a1/

Megan O'Rear

Why I-O?

Originally when I chose Psychology as a major, my intention was to pursue a career in counselling. With this goal in mind, I wanted to positively impact the lives of others. When I took Intro to I-O as an undergraduate, I realized that there is a lot that can be done at the level of the workplace to benefit others' lives. We spend the majority of our adult lives working, so work should be meaningful and fulfilling. I think that if you are in the right role, culture, and under the right leadership, you can find meaning and enjoyment both inside and outside of the workplace.

Why UTC?

I chose UTC originally as an undergraduate because I love the city. There is a wide variety of culture and plenty of things to do. During my time as an undergraduate, I truly enjoyed the faculty, student culture and my overall experience here. I was very interested in the I-O program due to the high rankings posted by SIOP.  I am excited to have the opportunity to be back and pursue an M.S. in I-O Psychology.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-o-rear-01693b164/

Saige Parker

 

Why I-O?

I was drawn to I-O because it is the most applied field of psychology. I have a friend who suggested I-O to me after she graduated with her masters degree, and she thought it would be a good fit for me and my interests. I took a break after my undergraduate degree and then ended up having  some negative experiences in the workplace. After that I knew that I could find a fulfilling career in improving organizations and in turn improving the effects of organizations on employee wellbeing.

Why UTC?

Although I am originally from Louisiana, I have had four family members attend UTC, so I already knew it was a great school. When I realized they had an I-O program I knew I had to apply. I was very impressed with their high ranking on SIOP, but I was sold on the program when I attended a campus tour in the spring. All of the faculty members and students were so welcoming and helpful that I knew the culture of this program was amazing.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/saige-parker-22a117116/ 

Stephanie Penpek

Why I-O?

During my first psychology class in high school, my instructor shared that she had gotten a degree in I-O Psychology. She often talked about different careers in the psychological field and made sure to include I-O as she felt that it was a very underrepresented field. Once I decided that I wanted to major in Psychology for my undergraduate degree, I enrolled in an Intro to I-O class as an elective since I had heard so much about it. From that point on, I knew that my high school teacher had introduced me to my future career.

Why UTC?

I was first interested in UTC as an undergraduate student. My sister had attended the university and, while visiting her, I fell in love with Chattanooga. As I learned more about what career path I wanted to follow, I noticed the high SIOP ranking that UTC had secured. After meeting some of the faculty members and learning more about the program (especially their response to Covid-19), I was sure that UTC was the next step for me!

Luke Ronchetti

Why I-O?

I spent my first two years at UGA as a meteorology major. I pivoted my junior year to a subject that always intrigued me: psychology. I had no idea which route I wanted to take, but began exploring options and different classes before stumbling upon I/O. My professor for my Intro to I/O class at UGA was passionate about the subject, and it led me to see the opportunities and wonders I/O has to offer as well.

Why UTC?

I was attracted to UTC due to their reputable program for applied work, but also due to their track record of producing doctoral candidates following this program. The Thesis route enticed me, since I still am unsure whether I want to pursue a Ph. D.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-ronchetti-01a06b168/ 

Braden Sanford

Why I-O?

I chose I-O because the field as a whole is a perfect fit in regards to my career interests and values. I was fascinated by the idea that not only could I impact peoples’ daily lives, but I could also be a catalyst for individuals’ personal engagement with their work, their career development, and their overall well-being. To be able to utilize an empirically-based approach to structuring healthier and more efficient work environments is kind of the coolest thing ever.

Why UTC?

While most individuals might come to UTC for the prestige, I can definitely say that my decision had more to do with the community that exists here in Chattanooga. Having finished my undergraduate degree here at UTC, I understood the level of genuine kindness and care that the faculty provided and continue to provide to their students.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bradensanford/

Bethany Sikkink

Why I-O?

When I discovered I-O psychology in my last semester of college, it stood out to me among other areas in the field because of its fast-pace and practical relevance to current issues. I could envision myself making a difference in people’s lives by applying psychology to the workplace. After enrolling in management courses, I became increasingly convinced that psychology offered invaluable insight to organizations, and decided I wanted to be a part of making that connection.

Why UTC?

UTC is a stone’s throw away from my undergraduate institution, so I was already familiar with the vibrant city of Chattanooga and the job opportunities it offers to young professionals. My main draw to UTC, however, was the professors. They are both incredibly accomplished and approachable. I could sense that this was a program that really invested in its students.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethany-sikkink-bb60521a7/ 

Jane Voss

Why I-O?

From a practical standpoint, many people spend the majority of their waking hours at work, so by bettering one’s quality of work-life, you are certainly improving their overall quality of life. I was drawn to the field of I-O because of the opportunity to study this very phenomenon- how to make work environments more conducive to employee growth, health, and well-being. Aside from this, we as humans generally feel more fulfilled when we are engaged in work that is interesting and personally rewarding. I hope to one day work as an I-O consultant for organizations looking to create meaningful work opportunities and to improve their policies surrounding employee wellbeing.

Why UTC?

Before becoming a student here, I was compelled by UTC’s strong reputation and high ranking in the report published by SIOP. The primary draw for me was that UTC prepares students to work in applied settings, while also providing the opportunity to participate in independent research. Namely, I am drawn to the well-rounded curriculum of the program, which encompasses everything from occupational health to core business skills in I-O. Aside from the academics aspect, I also was very warmly welcomed at every point in the interview process and beyond, and knew that this program’s culture would be a wonderful fit.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jane-voss/ 

Laura Waldron

Why I-O

I developed an interest in pursuing the field of I-O Psychology because it seemed like the perfect integration of my fascination with Psychology and my experience with and excitement about workplace and group organization. I appreciate that a degree in I-O will equip me with tools to be successful with many different types of jobs as well as enable me to have a real-world impact wherever I land.

Why UTC?

UTC’s SIOP rankings are what initially attracted me to consider it for my studies, but as I read more about the program and talked to the faculty, I felt like it would be the perfect fit for me. The integration of practical experiences with course material that teaches you to be a scientist-practitioner as well as mentorship from highly educated and involved faculty seened like it would best equip me to step into the world of I-O Psychology. Getting to live in Chattanooga is a nice bonus to an already great program!

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-waldron-974a331b5/

Katie Werth

Why I-O?

When I decided to study psychology, I knew that I wanted to find a way to benefit and empower disadvantaged groups in America. In my first term, I stumbled upon I-O psychology and found out about the subfield of Diversity and Inclusion, which is all about how to empower and include minoritized groups in the workplace. When I realized the kind of impact I can make through research and potential interventions at work, I was sold. Since then, I have been devoting my time to helping minoritized employees and investigating topics related to sexual harassment.

Why UTC?

Meeting some of the faculty at conferences as an undergrad peaked my interest, and I fell in love with the program from there. Having professors with both Occupational Health Psychology and Diversity and Inclusion specialties was the most important factor for me when deciding on a program, and UTC definitely has that. In addition, the course offerings are very competitive with PhD programs in the field making it a great program to go to if you are on the fence about going all the way to a doctoral degree.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-werth-388464169/ 

 

Second Year Students (2020-2021)

Piotr Broda

Why I-O?

I want to be in a position where I can help people enjoy their time in the office and view their assignments as more valuable and fulfilling. I'm also interested in group dynamics within the workplace: how different personalities mesh on teams and how to empower and enable employees to be their best selves while at work.

Why UTC?

Speaking with current students convinced me that UTC was the right fit.  The professors are passionate about not just the field but the students as well. I couldn't have asked for a better environment. The program also emphasizes applied work experience which is integral to my career path and professional development.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/piotr-broda-95a98b105/

Ali Corominas

Why I-O?

I developed an interest in I-O psychology because I felt it was an incredible opportunity to combine my experience in the workforce and my passion for studying human behavior. I was especially drawn to that fact that there are so many diverse job opportunities within the field that can be applied to real world settings and can truly make a difference in peoples lives.

Why UTC?

I was looking for a program that fostered a scientist-practitioner model of I-O psychology and one that taught adaptive techniques that would help in any future relevant situation instead of a strictly if-then approach to better prepare me for entering the field. UTC was able to give me all of these things along with their outstanding ratings through SIOP. All of these things along with the supportive environment from the cohort and faculty made this the perfect place for me.

Jessica Freim

Why I-O?

The vast majority of adults will spend a huge portion of their lives at their jobs and I believe that work should be a place where employees actually enjoy what they do! By being an I-O Psychologist, I will be able to help employees succeed, which ultimately makes the organization as a whole be successful.

Why UTC?

I have family in Chattanooga and spent many summers coming to visit, so I have always been in love with the city and the diverse range of activities it has to offer. On top of that, UTC is a fantastic program with great faculty and amazing opportunities!

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-freim-44410911b/ 

Why I-O?

During my previous master’s program in sport psychology, I was fascinated to learn about the similarities between professional sport organizations and common workplaces and the impact that organizational issues have on the well-being and performance of athletes. Further exploration of this interest led me I-O psychology and the discovery that my passion for improving performance is best realized at the organizational level, applying psychology principles and research to improve the productivity of businesses and the lives of employees. 

Why UTC?

There are many reasons that I chose UTC’s program over all others, including its prestige, comprehensive and flexible curriculum, strong alumni network, and excellent internship and employment opportunities. Most important to me, though, is the support you receive from faculty; they will truly dedicate their time and use their resources to help you achieve your personal career goals.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/coryhelfer/  

Jackie Keaton

Why I-O? 

I wanted to pursue I-O Psychology because it is a field that encompasses the topics that interest me (diversity, gender, health & medicine), and also provides opportunities to do both research and applied work in those areas. For me, it is not enough just to study the topics that I am passionate about, but I want to be able to apply them in the real world and make a positive impact in people’s lives.

Why UTC?

I chose UTC because the faculty research interests were so well aligned with my own, the program has an excellent reputation, and there were so many opportunities for graduate assistantships and funding. I really liked how open and communicative everyone was throughout the application and decision making process, which really set the atmosphere of the program apart from other schools.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jacquelyn-keaton-21509a161  

Ronnie KinoshitaWhy I-O?

I was shocked by the small percentage of psychology students specializing in I-O (around 4% reported at the time) because I found it to be disproportionally the most applicable information for the most people. As soon as I learned the topics of interest for I-O, I could not stop thinking about how my studies could positively impact the lives of employees who might not have the resources to instigate change themselves.

Why UTC?

The school and faculty had an excellent reputation for developing scientist-practitioners in I-O, and TN had a robust Academic Common Market option for out-of-state students. I looked at the curriculum and knew this was the training with which I wanted to start my career.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/veronica-kinoshita/ 

Paige PulfordWhy I-O?

Working in the business world, I kept experiencing situations where teams and leaders would want their workplaces to be better—they wanted more work life balance, better team communication, and more efficient ways of doing work. The problem was they had the strategy for the business, but they didn’t have a strategy for their people. I chose I-O psychology to learn how to lead effective, healthy, sustainable change that matters to organizations and the people that fuel them. 

Why UTC?

I’m originally from Miami, but Chattanooga is home. I like to say that the city is great and the people here are even better. When I began to explore UTC’s I-O psychology program, every touch point—emails, face-to-face meetings, and the website—were equal parts welcoming and impressive. I was sold.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/paigepulford/ 

Ellie Risinger

Why I-O?

Throughout my life I always knew I loved psychology, but when it came time to decide my career path I ultimately knew the traditional clinical route wasn’t for me. I aspire to interact more directly with a working population in order to positively impact their day to day lives and health. An MS in I-O psychology was the perfect fit.

Why UTC?

I initially found UTC due to the impressive SIOP rankings, applied because of the welcoming faculty and the opportunity to focus on occupational health, but ultimately committed because every person I have met in association with the program, and even in Chattanooga as a whole, has been nothing but welcoming and kind. The sense of community here is incomparable to anything I’ve experienced before.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-risinger/  

Ali Turner

Why I-O?

I-O Psychology emphasizes the connection between psychological theory and organizational effectiveness by basing decisions on empirical research and continuous data collection. The organizations that choose to utilize this strategy often rise above those with the best of marketing strategies, product designs, or service offerings. This field feels like a natural next step for the future of businesses and any chance to improve job satisfaction is a major advantage to both the employer and the employee.

Why UTC?

UTC has a community that thrives off of cooperation rather than competition. Its faculty clearly care about the progress of the students and strive to provide continuous opportunities for growth. It was important to me when picking a program that I felt welcomed and supported, and UTC has exceeded my expectations every step of the way!

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/aeturner717/ 

Jennifer WalkerWhy I-O?

I became interested in I-O Psychology because it allows for the application of science and theory to solve real life organizational problems that affect overall organizational performance, as well as the employee experience. I appreciate how the field of I-O Psychology intersects with multiple industries and differing positions, creating numerous opportunities.

Why UTC?

UTC was on the top of my list due to their high SIOP rankings, although I became sold on the University after visiting. It became apparent that this University truly cares about the success of each student through the high faculty support and numerous internship opportunities. I feel as if I am surrounded by the strongest caliber of students attracted to this field and am excited to see how we grow as a cohort!

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferannwalker/ 

Megan WarrenbrandWhy I-O?

I have always been fascinated with Psychology and figuring out ways to help people. Throughout my time working in the food service industry, I began to notice how different forms of leadership and levels of experience had an impact on the overall satisfaction of the organization. It became clear to me that studying Industrial-Organizational Psychology would allow me to combine scientific theories and practices to improve worker wellbeing and performance within high stress industries.

Why UTC?

With a combination of diverse course options, applied and professional opportunities, resources for funding, and the welcoming students and faculty, UTC was the obvious choice for me. The program culture, amount of collaboration within the cohorts, and Chattanooga’s scenic location solidified my decision.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/megan-warrenbrand/ 

Lexi WellsWhy I-O?

When I was in undergrad we did not have an I-O psychology course and we did not have a chapter about it in my careers in psychology class. I did not hear about the field until my mentor started to ask me about my career goals, and while he was a little disappointed I did not want to pursue clinical research he pointed me to I-O. Ever since diving into the field I have fallen in love with how easily applied the subject is and how it can make such a huge difference in employee's lives in a relatively short time span.

Why UTC?

I chose UTC for the amazing faculty and how their areas of interest lined up with mine, the strong academic community, and the connection I felt from everyone I interacted with while applying to grad programs. Also, Chattanooga is a thriving city with plenty to do regardless of your hobbies and is absolutely beautiful.

Kelby WengerWhy I-O?

I loved Industrial-Organizational Psychology long before I knew the technical term for the work. With a background in business, I spent years obsessing over ways to make workplaces more enjoyable, profitable, efficient, and healthy. This program is an exciting new chapter for me to continue my quest to make work better for everyone.

Why UTC?

I initially became interested in UTC because of their exceptional rankings amongst master’s I-O programs. Once I visited, I fell in love with the area, the rigorous program, and the people. Now that I’m here, I see that all my impressions were correct; the UTC I-O staff has crafted a uniquely challenging and supportive culture that will allow me to take my career to the next level.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kelbywenger/     

Camille WheatleyWhy I-O?

A passion for people, research, and a "workaholic" tendency are what initially attracted me to I-O. Understanding the human components of organizations, and the reciprocal relationships we have with our workplaces interests me to no end. I-O is an attractive field that joins science and methodology with practical applications to facilitate organizational efficiency and still look out for those getting the job done.

Why UTC?

While researching terminal masters programs, I was incredibly impressed by UTC. The accessibility of program information and help from the faculty demonstrated the level of support and commitment the I-O program has to its students. After hearing how much effort and thought goes into selecting students and curating the UTC I-O community, I was honored to receive the offer and knew it was the place for me.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/camille-wheatley-5322b4184/  

Corrine WolfeWhy I-O?

I chose I-O because in every job I have held since I was 16, I was continually finding flaws in the organizations and thinking about what I could do to fix them. I learned about I-O my freshman year of undergrad and instantly knew it was the field I wanted to be in because it allowed me to combine both business and psychology. 

Why UTC?

I chose UTC because they have one of the highest ranking terminal masters programs in I-O according to SIOP. When I began the application process, their communication, from the graduate school to Dr. Cunningham to the current students, was unmatched by any other program I applied to. Also, UTC has a diverse faculty with many interesting areas of research so I knew it would be easy to find my place in the I-O industry here.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/corrine-wolfe  

Jake ZernerWhy I-O?

I-O Psychology interests me because it allows me to combine my interests of psychology, business, and health. I chose this field because I want to apply these interests so that I can make a difference in the lives of people. Specially, I am interested in helping employees develop a healthy work-life balance and developing programs to improve their physical and mental health.

Why UTC?

I chose UTC because it offers the most opportunities to learn about Occupational Health Psychology as a master’s student. Additionally, the program provides a strong base of knowledge of all areas of I-O Psychology. Dr. C answered every single one of my questions and I could tell the faculty here really prioritize the needs of their students and that made me feel confident this would be a great place to pursue higher education.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jakezerner/ 

 


Looking for more perspective?

Here are two recent video testimonials from a couple of our alumni: