This is an E-mail that I sent to an undegraduate professor of mine, but I think that it does a good job of communicating the information that I got from my visitation at Wright State. However, it really cannot express my nervousness enough.
Concerns put to rest
I went over to Wright State on Friday. It was really something. They boasted that they probably have the best physical facilities in the country. They said, “If someone has a better plant than us, I could not imagine who it would be.” I would not doubt it. Plus, the HF people have access to even more equipment at the air force base.
Everyone was very nice over there. Although it has more competitive admissions than Xavier (the only other school I visited), they seemed to be for the students. They mentioned several times why the department was so small. They said that they wanted to create a situation where an instructor has just 5 advisees. Plus, they wanted to make sure that they could provide funding for all of their students for 5 years. Yes you read that right, 5 years of funding. I will be able to work part-time for the department and finish my dissertation on time. They also said that the size of the department makes a good situation for students; to keep their Ph.D. program, Ohio law mandates that they produce so many Ph.D.’s/year so they cannot afford to loose people which means that they do their best to make sure the students get good advisement. I spoke to a student who said that the only reason that he is aware of that prevents people from graduating is that they get lured away by job offers.
I know graduate school will be a lot of work. However, going over there alleviated some of my anxiety. I was concerned that the faculty would be apathetic towards students; I would not fit in, or worse my advisor would not like me. However, he faculty members are great, I liked the students, they have a really collaborative environment , I can switch majors or advisors if I want to without any hard feelings, and my advisor chose me because he thought I was the best fit for the program, and not just based any one aspect of my record.
I have decided to specialize in personnel selection which I believe to be the Lord’s work. I am pretty excited so I am going to start reading up on the topic. I see poor personnel selection as one of the major problems in the workforce today. We can do a lot to improve job satisfaction, training, and group dynamics. However, in my mind unless you have the correct people in the job in the first place, much of that work is for nothing.
Here is an interesting thing that I found out. When I arrived at the psychology office at WSU, I asked where everyone was. Although I was a little early, for such an important event, I assumed that others would arrive early. She replied, “You must be Jason.” I then said, “How would you know that?” She said, “You are the only African American.” She handed me my packet, and I sat down in the lounge next door. I thought about what she had just said and returned to the office and asked, “Have you ever had any black students.” She said, I suppose that this will make me their poster boy for diversity. I just may get a number of pictures on their website to show how “diverse” they are.
Human factors is sexy
Human factors has to be the sexiest field in psychology. I can’t think of a single field that uses so much equipment. It’s amazing. They where all like “Come into my lab and see my million dollar virtual reality machine or look at my $200k eye motion tracking device. Almost all of the human factors people were talking about how they were developing this or that for the military or NASA. You would think that everybody would at least be interested in human facrots on some level. Maybe it’s too much for people to envision as a career, or maybe they don't like the science?