Jessica Leffers '16
Psychology Major, Education and Cognitive Studies Minor
Ph.D. Student, Cognition Program,
“From the broad selection of courses to choose from to the supportive and knowledgeable professors, the Psychology Department played a vital role in helping me get to where I am now.”
What has been your career path since graduating from Goucher?
I graduated from Goucher in 2016. I majored in Psychology and had minors in education and cognitive studies. Currently, I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Cognition program at Northeastern University in Boston. My Master’s Thesis focused on how intuitive conceptions of race influence recognition memory for faces from different racial groups. My dissertation will further explore these relationships with an emphasis on the developmental trajectory.
What were your most influential and valuable experiences at Goucher?
From the broad selection of courses to choose from to the supportive and knowledgeable professors, the Psychology Department played a vital role in helping me get to where I am now. I was able to be a part of two research teams during my four years at Goucher, working with Dr. McKim and Dr. G in two very different areas of research. Some of my peers actually referred me to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where they were doing internships in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, so I also became an intern there for the last two years of my time at Goucher. Finally, I was fortunate enough to be a supplemental instructor three times, which helped me solidify the fact that I wanted to become a professor so that I could help other people understand how cool and important psychology is.
What advice do you have for current students interested in preparing for a path similar to yours?
My advice for recent graduates is: When you’re choosing which jobs or schools to apply to, pick a broad selection in geographic areas you want to be. When writing personal statements, be descriptive and honest about your research interests or career goals. But also acknowledge that you don’t need to know exactly what you want to do at the time of applying, being open to new experiences can make you a competitive applicant! When you go for interviews, just be yourself because you need to know whether you can have a working relationship with your future advisor; this is fundamental to your graduate career.