Alumni Spotlight: Charita Hill-Avent

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The University of Southern California (USC) is one of today’s most prestigious and innovative private universities in the world. Each year our graduates go on to do exceptional things with their lives, from furthering their education, to becoming leaders in their fields of practice.

Psychology continues to be one of the most sought-after majors today. Students in the online Master of Science in Applied Psychology program at USC learn to use their transferable skills to break into areas of marketing, human resources, management, and other business related fields where client interaction and understanding consumer behavior is vital to a company’s success. Many of our Alumni have gone on to thrive in numerous fields and career paths.

Listen to hear from recent program graduate Charita-Hill Avent, who shares her unique USC student experiences and talks about the impact a Master of Science in Applied Psychology degree has had on her career.

Live Alumni Spotlight: Charita Hill-Avent

University of Southern California
Master of Science in Applied Psychology Online
Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm PST

USC’s Applied Psychology Graduate Program Director, Dr. Ellen Leggett moderates.

Featuring Guest Speakers:
Dr. Ellen Leggett: Applied Psychology Graduate Program Director
Charita Hill-Avent: 2015 Alumna
Gina Chang: Enrollment Advisor
Anny Cho: Student Program Advisor


Gina Chang:Hello everyone, welcome to the Masters of Science in Applied Psychology Online Alumni Spotlight Webinar, presented by the University of Southern California. Thank you for joining us today, my name is Gina Chang and I’m an enrollment advisor on the program and I’ll be your host. Before we begin, please refresh your browsers and turn up the volume to hear the audio. Use the media player to control volume or pause the presentation if viewing on demand. If you have technical difficulties or questions for our panelists, please send them through the Q&A box.


Here’s a quick look at what we’ll be covering. First, we hear from program director, Dr. Ellen Leggett, who will share a little bit about her background and serve as a moderator for today’s discussion. Then, our special guest speaker 2015 Alumni, Charita-Hill Avent will share her unique USC student experience and talk about the impact in Masters of, of Science in Applied Psychology degree have had on her career. After a brief program overview by Dr. Leggett, I’ll go over admission requirements and important dates and deadlines. We’ll end, a brief Q&A session, student program advisor Annie Cho and I will answer as many as time allows. Now, let’s get started.


Hello, Dr. Leggett, and thank you for joining us today. Please share a little bit about yourself with our audience.


Dr.  Leggett:Thank you, Gina and thank you, all of you who have logged on to join us today. We’re really glad to have this opportunity to talk to you about our, what we feel is a very unique and special program. Myself, I have, um, joined USC and this program three years ago as a director and I, actually I’m returning to academia after a twenty year career, applying psychology in the business world. Um, I have started my career as a professor, then was wooed away by, what was then, a very new field, applying psychology, specifically, in the legal arena, and I’ve worked all over the country for the past twenty years, um, assisting trial lawyers and corporations in anticipating jury needs when they face trials. Um, so I’ve specifically been, um, at the table with corporate lawyers and business executives when they’re in a very stressful situation, nothing a company wants to be facing is, um, is a jury trial; that’s for sure. But, it’s been a very exciting career and three years ago I was asked to come back to USC, in order to, um, take up the director shift of our Applied Psychology Masters Program, and it’s been a really, um, really thrilling opportunity to have the, um, chance to shape this program.


Um, in my academic area, in my work that I did as an academic and in my work at Harvard I’ve studied, um, specifically motivation and personality and one of the books that, um, you’ll be reading in this program, is a book based on research that I’ve done. And, um, I think at this point I’d like to turn it over to, um, Gina and our guest.


Gina Chang:Thank you, Dr. Leggett. Now I’d like to welcome Charita, thanks so much for joining us today. Will you please be able to share a little bit about your background with our audience?


Charita-Hill:Sure, thanks Gina. Um, and, and, um, I’m excited to be hear today. Um, as Gina said earlier I am a 2015 graduate of the USC, uh, program in applied psychology, the online program. I’m currently a finance executive for a biotech company in south San Francisco, California, um, called Genentech. My specific area of focus is oncology and managed care, and reimbursing, reimbursing and pricing strategy. Uh, I’ve been in the healthcare industry for approximately fifteen years, and also have experience in hi-tech and investment services. Uh, I am married and I have one son, and I reside here in the San Francisco bay area.


Gina Chang:Thank you, Charita. And with that I’d like to turn it over to Dr. Leggett.


Dr.  Leggett:Great. Actually what I’d like to do now is just have a, um, a conversation with Charita, so that we can, um, give you all on the webinar here a little flavor of what it’s been like for one of our graduates to go through the program. As you’ve heard, Charita has a very busy career, a very busy life, and, um, Charita, I’m, I’m interested in knowing, did you have any previous online learning experience before you came to this program?


Charita-Hill:Actually, no, I did not have any online experience, um, prior to enrolling in the program.


Dr.  Leggett:So, what was the reason for you to choose to enroll in the online program, here at USC?


Charita-Hill:The main, the main reason was, uh, flexibility. So, prior to, um, you know, after I made the decision that I wanted to go back to school to pursue a applied psychology degree, I did a lot of research in terms of finding that specific university that would allow, one, flexibility in terms of my career, um, all the volunteer activity did with my family, and when I did the research, USC actually came up as in having, um, an online program, so, to have the flexibility to be in a online program was very, um, helpful at that time, during, um, having a very busy career and family.


Dr.  Leggett:So, um, you were, you were one of our pioneers in the online program, (laughs), I know we were, um, the, the online program was also, um, still developing, but, um, you’re involvement early on was really, um crucial to helping us pave the way, so thank you …


Charita-Hill:Mm-hmm (affirmative)


Dr.  Leggett:… for, for being willing to jump in to do something new. Um, how you were able to balance work, life, and your studies, given how busy you are in your, um, in your career and with your other obligations?


Charita-Hill:So, one of the things about being in an online program is that you also have a lot of flexibility in the, in determining how you’re going to get your assignments and everything done, and the way that I was able to do it was find different times during the day, during the weekend where I would be able to, um, complete my assignments and because you’re online, you don’t have to specifically be in one, in the same place all the time, so I took advantage of, of the commuting hours, the hour to and from work, um, during the evenings a couple of hours, even during lunch sometimes I would do, would be able to do work. So, the flexibility of having the online program allows, allows you to get a lot of things done.


Dr.  Leggett:Uh, you made good use of every minute it sounds like.


Charita-Hill:Every minute.


Dr.  Leggett:(laughs) If I recall, it’s nice to kind of have the chance to, to reflect with you; I know how busy you were as a student, and you got all of your work done, there’s no doubt about that. Um, and Charita, how was your experience with other students in the program? Did you feel that you got to know other students, with everyone being spread all over the country and being as busy as you were?


Charita-Hill:Yeah, they, the one of the things that I really like about the, the cohort program was that you interacted with your fellow classmates, basically, at least two to three times a week, and you were able to do that via Google hangouts, Skype, um, we spent a lot of time on the phone, um, text, e-mail, and it actually felt just like being at a regular, full-time program if you were attending school, um, in a live-classroom environment. Um, prior to USC, I also attended, uh, a MBA program full-time where I, I went to, to the university, stayed on campus, or what-not, but it actually felt the exact same way. Although you didn’t really see your classmates as much in the USC program, you, you still had a lot of interaction with them, so they’re very comparable.


Dr.  Leggett:That’s interesting, the wonders of our virtual world, um, even in your work, I, I think I remember that you do a lot of work virtually.


Charita-Hill:I do, I, um, I did spend some time travelling a lot and, um, because I support our commercial marketing organization, we have a lot of, um, employees who are out in field sales, so the, the main way for us to communicate with people all over the country is via WebEx, via Skype, a lot of the teller, um, video-conferences, so it’s pretty much the exact same way with the USC program.


Dr.  Leggett:That’s really great to hear, so the, the tools that you learn as an online student just in managing the, the virtual technology are actually tools that translate into today’s business world. Um, that’s, that’s really, uh, comment, thank you Charita. I wanted to ask you about your experience with faculty, um, obviously the faculty, some of them are here in Los Angeles, but others are in other parts of the country. What was your experience with them?


Charita-Hill:I will have to say, the, they, a lot of highlights of the program for me was the faculty, um, in the program, and it was one of, also another reason why I selected the USC program. The faculty, not only are they, um, faculty at USC, but they are also practicing, um, with then, a lot of the things that we do within applied psychology, so they’re industry professionals, they have a lot of experience, and they bring a lot of interesting theories and concepts to the classroom environment, and you also have access to them all the time, so it felt, basically, like you’re the only one in, one in the classroom. You had access to them, you could send e-mails, you could call them, you could have conference calls with them, um, and they were very, they had open-door policies as well, so it was a great experience dealing with the faculty.


Dr.  Leggett:That’s, that’s great to hear. I’m looking at this picture up on the slide, and, um, just to comment here, the faculty member over at the right is Dr. Samantha Broitman, was she involved in, um, any of the classes that you took?


Charita-Hill:Yes, Dr. Broitman actually taught a couple of the classes that I had, and one of my favorite classes, of course, is the group dynamic class that she actually taught. Great industry experience as well, she brought a lot of class, a lot of things to the classroom environment, and I would have to say a lot of the things that I did learn from Dr. Broitman, I’m actually using, um, here, at Genentech, and also doing a lot of great facilitation and training as well, so very much appreciative of what she brought to the classroom.


Dr.  Leggett:That’s, that’s great to hear, and I know that class, group dynamics and leadership, with, uh, um, is a very, um, very challenging class. Was she also, if I recall, involved in the work that you did for your capstone treatise, Charita?


Charita-Hill:Uh, yes, she was actually my, uh, second faculty advisor on my, uh, capstone treatise project, and she …


Dr.  Leggett:Would you like to …


Charita-Hill:… a lot of value there.


Dr.  Leggett:Yeah, would you like to tell us a little bit about what you did for your capstone treatise project?


Charita-Hill:Yeah, so, um, one of the things here at Genentech that we, um, decided to do was really train our executives on specific human behavior and coaching skills, and when they found that I was in the USC program and I needed to do the capstone project, um, you know, our management here thought that this would be a great project for me to, to actually work on, so, actually I designed and facilitated the, um, training here of approximately maybe twenty plus, thirty executives, and I actually wrote my treatise on my specific project that, that I actually worked on here at Genentech.


Dr.  Leggett:And Dr. Broitman, um, was, was very involved as that, as …


Charita-Hill:Oh yeah.


Dr.  Leggett:… as I know I was, and it was a great experience for us to be able to see how you were, um, applying your work here at school to the very, um, specific tasks you had in your career as well.


Charita-Hill:[crosstalk 00:12:47]


Dr.  Leggett:Um, that leads me to ask a little bit more about how the program has really, um, changed your outlook about your career or impacted your professional career at this time. Now …


Charita-Hill:Yeah, I guess going, going into the uh, into the program I specifically had, um, you know an idea of going into our organizational psychology, uh, department here at, here at Genentech, but having been in the program, um, there were so many different areas of specifically HR and marketing, where you can use the applied psychology skills, so what I’m doing right now is meeting and having a lot of different career conversations, working on many different projects to hone in on exactly that one particular area that I really want to, um, to, to work in, and the beauty of that is that you get work on many different projects, many different, um, strategic goals to, to help the company.


One of the things that I’m working on right now is developing a, uh, strategic talent development and recruiting process for, for our diversity and inclusion group. Um, we have a couple of programs that we’re working on, we’re going to be travelling in April to roll out the specific programs, but these are things that I’m working on to try to hone in on exactly what I specifically will be going into, um, in the upcoming, uh, future.


Dr.  Leggett:If you look back on the program, um, from this vantage point what stands out for you as some of the highlights of the program, um, you know, now that you’re a little bit away from it, a little bit removed?


Charita-Hill:Uh, the things that stand out to me, is that I would go back to the faculty again and also my cohort, and I’ll talk a little bit about that in a, in a minute, but the faculty really brought a lot of great material, theories and concepts to the classroom environment, and, you know, I find myself applying all those things on a day-to-day basis and that is one of the things that I find is being, like the, the key highlight, highlight of the, uh, overall program is being able to, um, obtain an education and having that almost one-on-one dialogue with professors and being able to apply a lot of the different concepts in what you’re working on, and also in your personal life a lot of the concepts, uh, are very applicable.


In terms of the cohorts, um, I met a lot of great people, I still keep in contact with everyone that I was, uh, in, that was in my cohorts, and just being able to bounce different ideas, everyone had a totally different background than I did, see my background is business and finance, but they were educators, they were, uh, social psychology backgrounds, HR background, and just the diversity of everyone in the program really made it, made it fun and very dynamic.


Dr.  Leggett:Um, I think that the, you know, clearly that mirrored what my own observations are about the cohorts that we bring in and the online program. Some people are very young, coming straight out of their undergraduate program, and, and I would say, probably you met some people who were, who were at a very different point in their career than you were. Would that be correct, Charita?


Charita-Hill:Um, that’s correct, yeah, we had folks who were in many different stages in their career.


Dr.  Leggett:And, if I could ask you to talk about one of other experience that I, I know you had, uh, I believe that you actually partnered up with another student in order to carry out, um, your internship, professional development activity, and I wondered if you would talk a little bit about that, and what her background was, because it was quite different from yours.


Charita-Hill:Yeah, exactly, um, so as a point of another project that I worked on, and I’m actually still working on the project is, um, taking a look at how you can actually, um, intertwine human behavior and financial aspects of how people behave with money, and so one of the individuals in my cohorts has very creative, very innovative, excellent marketing, social media skills and those are all the skills that I really needed to have within launching the, the, specific, uh, project that I’m working on, and so I tapped into her, I, I reached out to her. She was very happy and willing to help out, but those are the things that you, you know, when you work with your cohorts you’ll find out that there are many different people regardless of where they are within their career that have such different backgrounds that, you know, once you bring everyone together, things just really work out, and just having her as a part of my team was really amazing, um, very innovative ideas, and things that I knew that I would have not been able to accomplish if it wasn’t for her.


Dr.  Leggett:That was a really, a really fun, um, fun experience for, for both of you, and kind of an innovative way for the program to meet the needs of two very different students, um, and do you still stay in touch by the way?


Charita-Hill:Actually, I am reaching out to her because, um, probably within the next couple of weeks, because I’m in the second phase of my overall project, so I’m going to need, uh, to borrow her services again.


Dr.  Leggett:(laughs) Well that’s good to hear. Um, all right, Charita, is there anything else you’d like to add? This has been a really fun, uh, trip down memory lane for me, I’m really grateful to you for taking the time to join us here today. Anything else you’d like to add?


Charita-Hill:Uh, no. I mean uh, I, you know, as I was reminiscing over the, over the program I mean, it was really, truly a wonderful experience, and I would have to say thank you to you, Dr. Leggett, as well for all of the assistance and guidance that you provided, so much appreciated.


Dr.  Leggett:Thank you, that’s, that’s just great to talk to you, Charita. Um, what do we, should we talk a little bit more, Gina, about what the program actually entails at this point?


Gina Chang:Absolutely. So, allow me to give you a brief overview of the program, um, first we do require an internship, which is, um, basically your professional development experience, learning opportunities, and allows students to put their knowledge and skills to use in a real-world organizational situation. Um, that is tied in with your Capstone Treatise, which is focused examining your specific chosen area of applied psychology. Um, following that would be your elective courses, uh, you can choose electives that best fit your career goals as well, as well as a curriculum, basically the innovative, contemporary coursework in organizational and consumer psychology. Um, you do have support in not only the faculty, but as well as the student support staff and your enrollment advisors. The program …


Dr.  Leggett:And, Gina, if I could add here, you heard, um, everyone on the call here today, you heard Charita speak about her internship, which is, um, basically the, um, the project that she spoke about doing with one of her cohorts members. They developed, um, a business plan together and, um, were working on, um, developing a marketing plan for a new enterprise that Charita has in mind, um, you also heard Charita talk about her treatise capstone project, which is what she did at her current employer, doing a new project, and, uh, as two elective courses she mentioned the group dynamics and leadership course with Dr. Broitman; that was one of her elective courses. Just wanted to, kind of, tie that back to what you’ve already heard her describe. Thanks, Gina.


Gina Chang:Well said, thank you so much, Dr. Leggett. What I’d like to do is go over the admission requirements, um, the first step would be to start your online application. What we would need is evidence of your degree, from a regionally credited institution, transcript from colleges and universities attended to conduct, conduct a GPA evaluation. Um, we do we require GRE test scores, followed with three letters of recommendation, your personal statement of purpose as well as your professional resume or curriculum vitae. Please contact your enrollment advisor to begin your application and further details.


Dr.  Leggett:Yeah, and Gina, I’d just like to add there that, you know, that list of, um, things that are required, we read every application, um, with every single thing that you submit, it’s a whole list review of the entire file, looking for what your stated, um, goals are and whether your career goals will match what we think we can offer in this program. I mean you heard Charita describe her goals for the program as trying to find a bridge from her financial work into more organizational consulting and change work, and even some of her diversity work now, but, um, we look at everything, so, uh, because the program is so unique, we’re really looking to see whether you can bring something to the program that will, um, help, um, help even other members of the cohort, and whether that we feel that the professors have, and the courses have things to offer you, given your goals.


Gina Chang:Exactly, yeah. Well, I would like to share some important dates and deadlines. We are now accepting applications for the summer and fall of 2016 term. Here are a few dates to keep in mind in order to meet application deadline requirements. For the summer 2016 our application deadline falls April 15. Our fall, our application deadline falls August 5, and spring our application deadline falls November 18.


Now, what I’d like to do is, um, program advisor Anny Cho and I would like to answer any questions, please go ahead and submit your questions, type it into the Q&A box. If we don’t get to your question today, one of us will follow up with you directly. So, one of the questions, it says if you’re working while in the program, can you apply that to your internship class?


Dr.  Leggett:Okay, that’s an interesting, that’s an interesting question. Um, you know, the internship, for people that are already working, the way that we think of the internship is really that it’s a professional development opportunity that takes you above and beyond your every day work, and, um, you know I think that we fall short of just saying if you’re working that’s enough, because we hope that everyone in the program is trying to do some movement forward, movement forward in their lives, in their personal growth and their career growth, and if you just continue doing your job as you’ve always done it before, you’re not having that opportunity to grow and this is, after all, what school is about, so with USC standing behind you, what we urge students who are working to do is to talk to their employers about other opportunities to stretch and grow.


Gina Chang:Charita, do you want to say a little bit about how that worked for you? Now I know that you ended up doing that for your, um, your capstone treatise, but what was your, um, perspective on the, on the opportunities of [inaudible 00:24:57] and the requirements for the treatise, and the, uh, excuse me for the internship.


Charita-Hill:Yeah, so, I think, um, just to echo some of the comments that Dr. Leggett just mentioned that you, you know, when you think about your capstone and your treatise project, if you are working, you kind of want to do something that’s really a little bit different than what you’re working on in order to kind of like, make use and apply all the different things that you are learning in the USC program, and I think that’s kind of like one of the things that, um, if you take a look at the project that I worked on, even though it was, you know, at my company and I was working on it, it was something that was totally different than my normal job in, in finance. It was really much more of coaching and HR related, totally using a lot of the concepts learned in the program, and also working with folks who are outside of my, um, day-to-day activities.


So, I think that’s kind of like thinking differently on how you can use the skills and concepts that you’ve learned to bridge yourself into whether it’s a new career, for me, that’s, that’s where I’m bridging to, um, or to advance yourself to another role or to a different, um, department within your company. Those are some of the things to, to keep in mind when you’re really thinking about the capstone internship, and the, the project and all those things. What are you going to do differently versus what you’re doing in your current role, and try to make use of those concepts that you’re learning.


Dr.  Leggett:Yeah, thank you, we’ve had students do really interesting things, um, at their current place of employment, and, um, that doesn’t always work out, but if you are full-time employed, it is one of the first places that we ask you to, to consider and to brainstorm with, with your, um, employers about.


Gina Chang:What other questions do we have?


Anny Cho:So one just came in, can you please share information about a few of the key textbooks and theoretical frameworks that are used in the program?


Dr.  Leggett:I’ll talk about one and I’ll ask Charita, maybe, if she has a favorite as well, but I mentioned that one of the books that read in the program, um, is a book based on work that I did, um, when I was at Harvard, and that book is called Mindsets, and its, uh, author is Dr. Carol Dweck, who is a professor, now at Stanford. She was at Harvard when I was there, and she was my, um, she was my, um, dissertation director and professor at Harvard, but, um, many years later, fast forward, she’s written a book for the, for the general lay audience, for the public. It’s not an academic book, but it is applying all of the work that we’ve done for the last twenty years or more, um, motivation and, um, she has chapters in there devoted to business, to athletics, um, to raising families, and, uh, this concept of mindset, whether you are a growth mindset oriented person or a fixed mindset person, is something that we set up early in the program and is  referred to throughout the program. Um, so that’s of course one of my favorites (laughs), but what, um, Charita, what might you add as something that stands out in your memory, as a concept or book that was important to you?


Charita-Hill:Yeah, the Mindset, actually comes to mind, that was one of my favorites, um, as well. We, we also spent some time doing conflict mediation and resolution, so that was, um, we had a guest speaker come in and talk about that, so that one comes to mind as well. We also went through different types of leadership styles, and I’m not going to go into the specific contents, but just highlight some of the things that we did. So we talked about the different types of leadership styles, um, chain management styles, we spent quite a bit of time on emotional intelligence, um, also we did facilitation and training, um, performance management, and also another interesting course that I remember is the psychology of interactive media. How does the interactive media, um, tv ads, television ads, you know, affect the overall human behavior, so those are some of the things at a very high level that, um, that really come to mind when I think about some of the things that we’ve done in the program. All very, very interesting concepts. All also very, very relevant as well.


Dr.  Leggett:Great, thanks Charita, and by the way, Charita, you, your primary interests were on the organizational side, but, um you’ve made reference to some of the courses that, um, were more actually on the consumer psychology side, um, and the psychology of interactive media was primarily on the consumer side, but, um, the book that we’re reading on the consumer side now, we are, we have incorporated into the program, um, a book about the history of the company Lego, any of you who have memories of playing with Lego’s as a kid or are parents have kids playing with Lego’s now.


We actually read a book about that organization and its, um, challenges and the changes that they went through, which mostly involved identifying what children what to play with now, on the consumer side. Their primary consumers, our children, and to know what the psychology was of children today, compared to what it was when the company was founded entailed a re-engineering of their mission, their, um, strategy with the toys, their, um, and ultimately the organization itself. So, we do read that and that has become, um, a new classic in the program I think, since you, um, were in the program, Charita. What other questions do we have?


Anny Cho:I actually, um, have a question that was for Charita. How do you discuss [inaudible 00:31:26] colleagues on your resume? Um, their concern is that the title of degree may not clearly communicated the skills developed by the program.


Charita-Hill:Oh, that’s, that’s a great question, so, um, I think what you, it really depends on what area that you’re trying to go into and I, I find that when I have the degree listed on my resume, I also list the concentration of the area focused, and a lot of my colleagues here, and even all of the executives that are in our human resource area are very familiar with the applied psychology degree, and it, it doesn’t come across as, you know, what does that mean, or how do you apply it, but it’s applied psychology is something that you can apply in many different disciplines, so I have not had an issue with that. But one of the things that I do, um, list is my concentration on, on the degree, and I [crosstalk 00:32:18] organizational psychology listed as my, as my concentration, but I’ve had some really interesting conversations on the degree, um, when I’m talking with people about it and they’re always very interested to find out, oh what are you covering this week in class, or, you know, how can we apply some of the concepts that you’re learning into our organization, so people have really been fascinated by, um, me pursuing the overall degree, but I, I think you’ll be fine, just make sure you kind of like, list the concentration that you’re focused on.


Dr.  Leggett:Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah I would agree, I think that’s a great, um, um, suggestion, Charita, and it’s certainly one of the things that we recommend to all students in the program as well, um, that you identify applied psychology with the kind of interest that you have. Even if it’s listing coursework, or describing that your interest is consumer psychology, organizational psychology or many students list both. They say emphasis in consumer and organizational psychology and there it is, (laughs) so it’s a door opener, and, uh, you get to explain what, what’s unique about our program. We do, by the way, ask you to update your LinkedIn profile within the first couple of weeks of, um, one of our classes and that is a topic of discussion, how do you put onto your LinkedIn profile and your, and your resume subsequently, um, information about what you’re doing now in the program, so we don’t leave that up to chance. What other questions do we have?


Gina Chang:A question came in, uh, do you think a graduate of this program could also work in IOS consulting?


Dr.  Leggett:IO consulting? Industrial organizational consulting? Absolutely. That is exactly what Charita is talking about, it’s exactly what our faculty, um, Dr. Broitman’s background is in, is in organizational psychology, um, that’s what we’re, what many of the graduates, um, seek to do. IO stands for, some of you who may not know that term, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, IO psychology, um, is, um, you, there are some programs that are specific to that, and they would potentially be, many of them are two year programs if you were to go full time on campus, our program is different in that extract many of the key principles, but we merge with it more research, we merge with it, um, the consumer psychology as well, because we feel there are many similarities in that, um, knowing consumer psychology will only help in your ability to communicate with employees as well. We basically think of this program as a focus on where psychology can be used internal to an organization, which is the organizational focus or external to an organization, which is the consumer focus. Great question, though.


Anny Cho:And, we have a question, what can a potential student do, now, to prepare for a successful matriculation through the program, regardless of a business/psychology background?


Dr.  Leggett:I’m going to ask, first Charita that, because, um, you came in without a psychology background and with a business background, what would you recommend to people who may of, um, not a psychology background, Charita, and then I’ll speak to the psychology part of it.


Charita-Hill:I would say, for me, I, um, just thinking about, um, you know my background and coming into the program, you know, not having a psychology background was not, um, something that was, that really kept me from learning, um, overall I was very excited about all of the new concepts that I was, that I was learning, um, an I think, you know, um, having a psychology background is not something you need to go into the program, because the program is designed in a way where, you’re actually able to really apply all the things that you’re learning to your day-to-day life, your work environment, and to the program. We had a lot of live discussions, a lot of, um, you know, homework assignments on, you know, taking some of the concepts that you learn in the program and trying to apply to your day-to-day work environment, or your personal life. So I would say that having a psychology background is not a deterrent, but it’s, you know, just coming into the program and being open to learning new concepts is, uh, is something that, um, you want to be very open-mind, open-minded about.


Dr.  Leggett:I think that, um, the, the background in psychology can be extremely helpful, because we do, do as Charita, you may recall, a lot of reading of, of primary sourced academic psychology research articles, and, um, clearly if you’ve got some experience doing that, you’re going to have a leg-up. The additional, um, area that you might want to brush up on is statistics, because we do, um, do I think increasingly in the program put an emphasis gaining research skills, both quantitative and qualitative, but I think, finally, the most important thing is to just stretch your own, um, ability to think about new career areas, and be willing to explore the kind of fields where psychology can go in the future.


One thing that this program is not, is a blueprint, how to do a specific job, it is, you know this is a top university, and it’s not so much a job-training program, as it is a, giving you tools, tools to learn, and tools to advance your career through your own, um, incorporation of what you’re learning, so being creative about what things you might want to do in your career in the future would be a good way to spend some time preparing for this program.


Gina Chang:Thank you, Dr. Leggett. Um, we do have another question that came in regarding the internship or professional development aspect. Does USC provide different companies that are looking for interns or do we need to go through different companies and find them on our own?


Dr.  Leggett:Yeah, that’s a great question too. Um, I think there are two answers to that, in addition to what you’ve already heard about. First base, first thing we always do is refer students if they’re employed to look closest to home first, but, um, the other two answers are dependent on where you live in the country. If you live in Los Angeles, the resources of the, um, the, the career center are, um, are very useful, and the career center posts jobs in the Los Angeles area all of the time and you can go online and you can search for those jobs, and many of our students in the Los Angeles area, whether they’re on campus or online have found their internship opportunities through, um, SC connect, it’s called.


Um, if you are not in the Los Angeles area, there are also websites that the career planning office makes available through the career services here, and those are other search, um, search engines and career aggregators that find and, and make public internship opportunities, but the students in the online program, no matter where they are seem to be incredibly resourceful and they have come up with opportunities that are extremely creative, we have one current student who was actually taking a break in her career, um, who found an internship opportunity to go to Thailand, and she is right now in Thailand studying, or actually doing web development, social media, for a non-profit in preservation of, um, reforestation and elephants, but that’s kind of an extreme example, (laughs), of what you can do with this internship, and we, USC, had nothing to do with her finding that.


So, wherever you are in the country, or indeed the world, I think that your local resources, um, can be very, um, helpful and finding things in Minnesota, in New York, in Pennsylvania, in China, these things have happened, and it’s not because faculty here have connections, or that USC has a list and says pick one of these, it’s because students have brought interests and they find ways to meet them with our support.


Gina Chang:Thank you, Dr. Leggett. Um, let’s take one more question, um, we have, uh, someone who’s interested in learning more about career opportunities and employee wellness and how this program would help prepare them for their pursuit in the path.


Dr.  Leggett:The question is a career in the wellness field? Is that right?


Gina Chang:[crosstalk 00:42:13]


Dr.  Leggett:Okay. Sure, let’s, um, that’s a really good question, because I think the same could be said for the entertainment field, or the technology field, um, because this, this program doesn’t train you for a field, as much as it trains you with skills that are applicable to any field. Any organization or any business has employees and they pretty much all have consumers or clients, and in the wellness field, patients would be considered clients, for example, and doctors and healthcare staff would be considered employees, so any wellness organization or medical facility would have need of people who are attuned to employee needs, and they would also have needs for people who are externally focused marketers, and, um, thus people from our program have found those type of opportunities in the wellness and healthcare field, as they have in almost any field you can name, um, where the list gets longer and longer of what kind of field students are entering. As long as you’ve got that psychology background with an ability to focus and articulate, um, how you can meet needs of the consumers, whether they be patients, I consider jurors my consumers, um, uh, or employees then you’ve got a career opportunity.


Gina Chang:Thank you, Dr. Leggett. Um, well, in respect to everyone’s time I wanted to remind everyone that if we didn’t get to your question today, one of us will follow up with you directly. I wanted to thank you, everyone who’s participated today, if you have any additional questions or may think it’s time apply, please reach out to myself or Anny Cho, our contact information is on the screen. This concludes today webinar and thank you again and have a wonderful day.


Charita-Hill:Thank you all very much.