DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY | University of Minnesota (Please load images)

Greetings Alumni,

As the new chair of the Department of Psychology, I am delighted to tell you about our Major Project course and the essential role that alumni like you play in it, providing students additional guidance from campus into the world of work. Directed by Dr. Caprice Niccoli-Waller, this capstone course for our 400 senior majors provides an opportunity for them to apply their skills to a project that has meaning for them individually.

The Major Project in Psychology class provides support to students writing their senior theses. Students may choose to build their theses from research they helped carry out in a faculty lab or work done through community internships at one of the University's partner organizations. The class is designed to help students reflect on the knowledge gained during their undergraduate studies, use that knowledge to research a psychological topic, and further refine their skills of communicating research findings to others.

Psychology Alumni Panel
L-R: Chris Cloud (B.A. '06), Co-founder of MPLS.TV; Toby Velte (B.A. '95), Global Technology Strategist for Microsoft; Nancy Nordmeyer (B.A. '76), Co-founder of Shapiro and Nordmeyer Law Firm

The class provides an intimate setting (around 20 students per section) for three psychology alumni working in diverse fields to share their career paths and experiences. Students are able to ask questions and to begin building a network of professional contacts. It is our hope that these experiences help students see the tangible connection between their academic development and the next step in their personal journeys.

Below you'll find excerpts from student interviews with three alumni who participated in the Major Project class. On our website you'll find many more. Thank you to all alumni that participated, and to all of our alumni for continuing to make our department's reputation one of the strongest in the world.

Monica Luciana
Psychology Department Chair

Bob Brunmeier (B.A. '84), Founder, OneNet USA
Interview by Ryan Hanna

Q: Psychology is considered one of the most versatile degrees to get. Why do you think that is?

A: By getting a psychology degree, you gain a variety of experiences. The College of Liberal Arts provides you with a diverse background and pulls many different components together. With a psychology degree, you learn the following: story-telling, teamwork, empathy, play, meaning, and design. Putting different people together, in a different range of classes, allows for a cross-pollination of ideas. Read More >

Steve Klein (B.A. '72), Founder Enterprise Freight Systems, Inc.
Interview by Emma Hamilton

Q: How did psychology prepare you for your career today?

A: The way I use relationships and meet people today has been the largest piece I have taken from my psychology degree. Psychology was the best decision I could have made for where I am today. I have a friend just down the street and we are still good friends today, and the communication skills that my psychology degree gave me makes keeping that relationship, and many others, possible. I meet people- men, women, old, young... I have great relationships with people that are one-third my age- that is the beauty of psychology. You solve their work problems, you become their friend and you keep that friend. Read More >

John Wetzel (Ph.D. '73), Vice President of Executive Services at Right
Interview by James Updyke

Q: What was a defining moment in your career?

A: During a time when I was transitioning to a new position at IDS Financial Services (now Ameriprise Financial), a co-worker who acted as my coaching specialist asked me "Have you ever considered doing what we do?" And the rest, as they say, is history. I have found my job to be very rewarding. I can't imagine something that I would find more enjoyable. I make an impact on people's lives by maximizing their career and personal potential--that's important to me. Read More >

Spring 2012 Alumni Participants

Ginger Bailey, Volunteer, Jeremiah Program
Pam Bednar, Marketing V.P./Manager, WomenVenture, Vision Share, Digital Technology, PDI
Laura Blomberg, HR Manager, Target
Tony Brown, Labor Relations Specialist, Metropolitan Commission
Bob Brunmeier, Founder and owner, OneNet USA
Peggy Caron, Probation Officer, Ramsey County
Amy Caucutt
, Lobbyist, Olmsted County
Chris Cloud
, Co-founder of MPLS TV
Peter Dinh
, Rehabilitation Practitioner, Community University Health Care Center
Bob Eichinger
, Founder, Lominger
Jay Elkerton, Director of Human-Centered Design, Emerson Process Management
Lambers Fisher, Clinical Supervisor, Nystrom & Associates
Darcy Futrell, Senior Associate, TEGRA Group
Jerold Gershone, Owner and CEO, StoneArch Creative
Kurt Halva, Senior Sales Representative, IBM
Ella Haman, Consultant, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Beth Haney, Consultant in public policy and anti-poverty community efforts
Bill Hansen, President of Copenhagen Enterprises, Northwest Airline Pilot, NASCAR driver
Jonathan Hoistad, Founder and Clinical Psychologist, Natalis Psychology
Mike Huck, Management volunteer, United Way, 35 years as business executive
Gayle S Junnila, Metro Regional Manager, Explore Minnesota Tourism
Bridget Keiler, Physician specializing in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Park Nicollet
Steve Klein, Founder and V.P., Enterprise Freight Systems
Tom Langseth, Senior Vice President, Allianz Life Financial Services
Cathy LaPoint, Vice President, Cherne Contracting
John Menke, Assistant Division Director- Community Corrections, Minnesota Department of Corrections
Katie Miller, Psychologist, Private Practice
Diane Nilsen, COO, Questar
Nancy Nordmeyer, Lawyer and founder of Shapiro and Nordmeyer
Kay Owen, Senior Talent Management Consultant, ATK
Cheryl Paullin, Program manager, HumRRO
Greg Rick, Owner, Cafe Cravings, Owner, Hearthstone Homes
Donna Shatava, Director of Human Resources, VMware
Toby Velte, Global Technology Strategist, Microsoft
John Wetzel, Vice President, Right Management Consultants

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