Nicole Shields (B.S. 2005)

Nicole Shields

How/why did you choose Psychology as a major?

I took a few psychology classes in high school and loved them. I knew that was the area I wanted to study after taking those courses.

What specific skills did you develop by taking Psychology courses?

Taking psychology courses allowed me to develop the skills I needed to work with others in teams. I also use the knowledge from the child psychology courses I took on a daily basis when I work with children. I am able to apply interventions that are appropriate for a student's developmental stage based on what I have previously learned.

Outside the classroom, what opportunities/experiences were most beneficial?

I think getting involved in any of the research labs or courses that take you off campus are very beneficial. I had the opportunity to work in the Infant Cognition Lab, where I was able to focus on collecting data ana reearch. I also took part in one of the year long community courses that allowed me to visit elementary schools and deliver personal safety presentations to students through the Child Assault Prevention Project. Participating in this course helped me determine where I wanted to go in my career path.

Did you believe that you “had to” obtain more schooling after your bachelor’s degree?

I was interested in working with childrent and I really wanted to work in a school setting. Because of this, I did feel the need to obtain more schooling. In order to be a School Social Worker or School Psychologist, you need to continue your education beyond your bachelor's degree.

In retrospect, what would you have done differently as an undergraduate?

I think I could have spent more time talking with my professors, expecially when in smaller or upper level courses. I was very diligent about attending class and completing my work, but I did not always take that extra step and engage with my teachers.

If you continued more schooling after your bachelor’s degree, share your reasons.

I wanted to work in an elementary school setting in a counseling role. This required further schooling.

Describe how you utilize your undergraduate Psychology skills in your current job/career.

I use knowledge I gained from my child psychology courses and other psychology courses when working with children at school on a daily basis. I use what I have learned when planning lessons, behavior plans, working with teachers, working with parents, and many other areas.

What pearls of wisdom can you offer to current undergraduate students?

Follow your interests and try different courses or opportunities that allow you to explore those interests.