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Psychology & Sociology Double Major Plans Future in Social Psychology

Jessie Malone is a senior majoring in psychology and sociology at Seton Hill. She also has minors in Gender and Women’s Studies and Genocide and Holocaust Studies. Jessie is dedicated and passionate about psychology and how she applies her knowledge and skills of psychology to her other courses. I enjoyed talking with Jessie as she shared her thoughts on why she chose her majors, and how much she has grown to value them. 

Why did you choose Seton Hill University?

It’s simple  - I loved that it was a very welcoming campus.

Why did you choose to major in psychology?

I was always curious about why people do what they do and why they behave in certain ways. In the beginning, I was a little naive and didn’t know everything about psychology. However, my understanding of the field shifted a lot from freshman year to now. 

How do you like being in the Psychology Program?

It is difficult and a challenge, but I love the information I learn. I also love the professors who teach the courses here, and I enjoy that Seton Hill is a small school, so everyone in the major knows each other. 

Is the Psychology Program what you expected?

I didn’t know a lot about psychology at first. I am a first-generation college student, but since coming here my expectations have been exceeded. I appreciate that the professors are very personable and I have the ability to ask direct questions.

How did your opinion of psychology evolve once in the major?

There’s a lot more to psychology than I thought when I first came to Seton Hill. I only thought of psychology in the abnormal psychology or counseling setting. When you take psychology courses here, you learn about the different aspects of psychology. You dip your toes into every discipline. 

"I appreciate that the professors are very personable and I have the ability to ask direct questions."

What key aspects of psychology and sociology most interest you?

I have a niche interest in social psychology. Social psychology ties in with my second major in sociology, because psychology focuses on learning about the individual person and sociology focuses on society at large. Choosing sociology as my second major was essentially like a puzzle piece that finally fit together with everything else I was taking. 

What are the top three skills you can say you have acquired through your courses?

I would have to say critical thinking is the most important skill I’ve gained. [Then] written and oral communication. 

What would you say were your favorite classes?

I think they’re all good in their own way. The classes that stood out to me the most were Social Psychology, Personality Theory, and Psychology Research and Applications. 

Are there any interesting experiences or acknowledgments that you had as a psychology/sociology major?

I had the opportunity to participate in conducting a research study along with other students and faculty. The study focused on diversity on Seton Hill’s campus, and we were to present it at the Eastern Psychological Association conference held in Boston. Due to COVID-19 we were unable to present. I was able to conduct my own independent research study with Dr. Jacobs for my internship. Taking information from the Seton Hill diversity study, I was able to learn more about the qualitative research process. Again, while this wasn’t finished because of COVID-19, I was able to learn new information and gain new skills.

What are your plans after graduation?

I hope to go to grad school for social psychology and get my Ph.D. in social psychology. I’m not set on a specific school yet, but I’m most interested in Syracuse University because of the social psychological research that the professors are doing. They are focusing on topics that interest me.