Remarks to the Psychology Graduates
Michael Domjan, Professor and Department Chair
We are living in an exciting time. The world is being transformed by technology. Technological innovations have substantially increased worker productivity, and that in turn has contributed to the extended period of economic prosperity we are enjoying. The common impression is that these changes depend only on advances in computer science and electrical engineering. But, there is another critical factor human behavior.
Technological innovations can increase productivity but only if people show up to work, only if they have been properly educated, and only if their personal lives are stable enough to permit them to concentrate on the job. Technology cannot escape the human element and that is where you come in that is where psychology comes in.
As a Psychology major, you learned about the fundamentals of human behavior. You learned how to formulate focused questions, how to look for answers to those questions, and most importantly how to evaluate evidence in support of those answers.
You learned about all that in one of the best Psychology Departments in the world. The students and faculty here are truly remarkable. For example, Dr. Peter MacNeilages work on the origins of human speech was recently published in Science magazine and attracted the attention of the NBC evening news, as well as MSNBC, the British Broadcasting System, a Brazilian newspaper, and CBS National Radio. Dr. Robert Helmreichs research on factors that lead to human error in medicine was the subject of articles in the New York Times and a report on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. Dr. Cindy Meston recently won the Athena Institute International Research Award for her work on female sexuality. This award will provide $175,000 to support Dr. Mestons research. Dr. David Buss won the Robert W. Hamilton award for his new textbook on Evolutionary Psychology.
In the past year alone, the Psychology faculty published 10 books and 220 research articles. They served on 11 editorial boards, and brought in 5 and a half million dollars in research funds to the University. This money has enable more than 400 undergraduate students to get first-hand experience working in psychological research laboratories. That experience has in turn enabled those students to obtain admission to highly select graduate and professional training programs. For example, two of our graduates, Jennifer Minix and Mary Schuneman will be studying towards a Ph.D. in Psychology at Florida State University and Penn State, respectively. Ronnie Shalev and Jimmy Lee will attend Medical School at Texas Tech University. Jennifer Jupio is going to medical school at the UT Health Science Center in Houston. Michael Strange is going to the University of Tennessee to become a Veterinarian. Molly Hart and Jason Laas-Sugrue are going to Law School at Case Western University. Some of you will be pursuing careers in other helping professions or perhaps business. Whatever path you select, on behalf of the faculty, I wish you all the best of success in your future endeavors.
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