Workplace interactions have always intrigued Alexandra Anderson. Even before she enrolled at the University of Houston, the senior psychology major was fascinated by how people communicate and work together within their professions.
As it turns out, UH was the perfect place to explore this curiosity as it hosts the noted Industrial Organizational Psychology (I/O) program. Anderson will graduate in May, and her intense interest in workplace psychology have earned her a spot in this year's Organizational Science Summer Institute (OSSI) May 23 - 28 at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
OSSI is the only such program of its kind, specifically designed to encourage historically underrepresented undergraduate students to learn more about graduate studies in the field of organizational science and to foster interest in research and potential careers.
Only 10 student fellows were accepted for OSSI from a competitive pool of students from across the country and around the world.
Students attending this event will engage with participating faculty members to discuss research interests, network with peers and professionals, participate in research seminars and take Graduate Record Examination preparatory classes.
"I am pleased to have this experience," said Anderson, who came to UH from Africa's Ivory Coast. "OSSI has a great reputation for preparing students for graduate school. I have received excellent training as a student here at UH and, now, I hope to learn more about planning for research and how to apply for grants and secure funding."
Research has been among Anderson's academic priorities as an undergrad. She is particularly interested in investigating gender and minority workplace issues.
"Alex has been an extremely active and great student," said Christiane Spitzmueller, professor of psychology and one of Anderson's mentors. "She has mentioned that she hopes to work for the United Nations or a similar organization. OSSI is a great step towards getting there since it will allow her to gain research experience with other students who come from really strong undergraduate institutions."
Anderson learned about UH through several friends from Africa, who were attending classes here. Based on their feedback, and after seeing the campus' diversity through brochure photos, she instantly was attracted to UH.
"I like it here," she said. "I didn't know that much about research until I came here. I've discovered that I enjoy it very much, and I am grateful for the mentorship of the professors here. Everything I learned at UH and I/O has prepared me for the next step in my academic journey."
Started in 1950, I/O prepares students for careers as active contributors to the psychology of work. In addition to specialized coursework, students collaborate with faculty members on research focused on a host of work-related topics including assessment, counter-productive work behavior, criterion development, customer service, decision-making, emergency management, interviewing, leadership, labor-management relations, occupational health and safety, organizational attitudes and behavior, organizational climate, personality, recruitment, selection, social effectiveness, training, work motivation, work productivity and workforce diversity.