Psychological and Brain Sciences

Jaimie Berger ‘11 PSYC-JaimieBerger
F09-S10 D-plan: R-T-R
Psychology and Economics
Pre-Law

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

Psychology professors are the most interesting and engaging lecturers at Dartmouth.  The classes are always filled with fun demonstrations and I find myself looking forward to every class period.  I have never heard anyone call a psych class boring.  I know I will end up with more classes than I need to fulfill the major requirements because I’m always upset when I have a term without a Psych class!  However, a lot of the classes in the 20’s are large lecture classes, which makes it difficult to get to know the professors on a one-on-one level, and I really wish there was a Psychology FSP!

Important info for potential majors:

Don’t be afraid to talk to a professor and ask about getting involved in his/her research if you are really interested in the topic.  I have always been afraid of going in during office hours but the psych professors are welcoming and really enjoy talking to you about your interest.

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if you are interested in getting involved in research with a professor in the psych department.

Most valuable academic info learned:

If you really enjoy a subject, you will want to learn more about it above and beyond what is taught in the classroom.  If you find yourself not wanting to do the work for that class or dreading attending that extra x-hour, you should reconsider whether or not that is the right course of study for you.

Favorite class and professor:

It is hard to choose just one class because I have honestly enjoyed all of the psych classes I have taken thus far.  Whether learning how the brain processes information (in Psych 28) or why we interact with others the way we do (in Psych 23), I have found myself completely engaged and eager to learn more.  Professor Whalen made even statistics enjoyable in Psych 11 by having us design and run our own experiments.

Major classes taken:

Psych 11, 23, 28, 88; Econ 1, 10, 21, 22

Major journey:

I entered Dartmouth intending to become a Math-Econ double major, but after taking my first math class  (Honors Multivariable Calculus) decided against that path.  Early in my freshman winter I wanted to drop one of my classes and a friend recommended that I try taking Social Psych.  Within a week, I knew I would be taking many more Psychology classes.

Major-specific activities:

Psychology Research 09S; Presidential Scholar 2009-2010; Economics 1 Tutor

Thesis status:

I intend to write a thesis but have not yet decided on a specific topic, as I am still a sophomore.  It will most probably be based on my junior year Presidential Scholar research.

Other activities:

Alpha Phi – Sisterhood Chair 09W, Social Chair 09X, Director of Member Development; Club Tennis – traveling member

Off-campus program:

I hope to study abroad in London 10W.

sliderJessica Robson ‘11 psyc-rob
F09-S10 D-plan: L-R-R
Psychology major & Anthropology major modified with Economics

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

There is such a wide range of classes offered in the Psychological and Brain Sciences department, making it easy for students to follow an individual path towards their major degree.  The psychological education can be molded to suit each student’s specific interests.  I believe that this effectively increases the amount of student engagement, and promotes the development of close student-instructor relationships and collaborated efforts in research.  The opportunities for student research are amazing, and many students take advantage of this and write fascinating theses.  The one critique that I have of the department is its lack of an FSP; I think the development of such a program would greatly add to the Psychology major’s intrigue.

Important info for potential majors:

If you know that something is your passion, then go for it.  But if you are undecided, don’t be afraid to explore new subject areas for a while before making a decision about your major. Taking the time to broaden your academic horizons and foster potential new interests can also be a great way to get your distributives done in your first years at Dartmouth.

Talk to me if:

you’re interested in social psychology, need study tips for PSYC 26, are having trouble developing ideas for your PSYC 11 experiment, or are planning a double or modified major.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Over time, I have learned that going to office hours and getting to know your professors on a personal level is extremely beneficial to your education.  It makes it much easier to ask for extra help, and often provides you with a lasting relationship.  Student-professor relationships are very useful when planning your major or thesis, and can provide you with connections for your continued education or research.

Favorite class and professor:

Surprisingly, Psychology 26 (Physiological Psychology) turned out to be my favorite course even though I was previously intimidated by neuroscience.  Professor Cramer’s engaging instruction opened my eyes to fascinating topics.  This was by no means an “easy” or “fun” class, but I immersed myself in it and put forth a great deal of effort.  PSYC 26 proved to be my most rewarding academic experience; my hard work left me with an A and a newfound interest for neuroscience.

Major classes taken:

PSYC 1, 11, 24, 25, 26, 54

Major journey:

Senior year of high school, I took psychology and became fascinated by the subject.  Since I was undecided about my major when I came to Dartmouth, my parents encouraged me to explore many different fields.  But psychology was always in the back of my head, and I eventually figured out that no other subject excited me as much as psychology did.  Gradually, I have combined my studies and am now working on a double major.

Major-specific activities:

Research position for X09 pending.

Thesis status:

Undecided.  I would like to complete a thesis, but this will depend on the research mentioned above and the workload and amount of time required to complete my double major.

Other activities:

Varsity Women’s Track & Field – heptathlete; Delta Delta Delta sorority – PR committee; Big Green Readers

Internship experience:

I interned in the Estate Planning division at Rochford Law Group in Irvine, California during the summer of 2008.  It was a wonderful experience, and led me to develop great communication and organizational skills.  My duties included preparing trust documents, drafting client letters, and locating deeds, among other things.  Although not necessarily the perfect complement to my psychological education, it did give me insight into the inner-workings of family relations and inheritance, as well as a good overview of the business world; the experience has proved beneficial in my subsequent academic endeavors.

sliderKelley Weed ‘10
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Psychological and Brain Sciences major, Linguistics minor

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

I love the psych department! Every course is really interesting, and I’m going to end up taking several more psych courses than I need to complete the major. My least favorite thing is that there is some overlap between some of the lower level courses.

Important info for potential majors:

The psych department assigns one advisor to all of the undergraduate majors. This means that you have to make more of an effort to develop individual relationships with your professors.

Talk to me if:

you need help picking classes or figuring out your D-Plan. I love that stuff! Also if you’re thinking of taking the Psychology GRE.

Most valuable academic info learned:

It’s a really good idea to go to an extra class or two at the beginning of the term, so if you change your mind about one of your classes, it will be easy to switch. “Shopping” is also a good way to find courses you’d like to take in the future.

Favorite class and professor:

Jan Scheiner is hilarious – I’ve taken all four classes that she teaches. I also loved Emotion (Psyc 53) with Paul Whalen and Perception (Psyc 21) with Professor Tse.

Major classes taken:

PSYC 1, 11, 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 52, 53, 59, 60

Major journey:

I didn’t get into Ling 1 freshman fall, and Psyc 1 was my backup. I ended up getting into Ling after a week, but by that point I loved psych and didn’t want to drop it, so I dropped a different course instead, and ended up becoming a psych major.

Major-specific activities:

Research assistant in the Heatherton Lab

Thesis status:

I’m still figuring out whether I’ll be writing a thesis, but if I do it will be on the relationship between working memory and emotional self-regulation.

Other activities:

Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble; Epsilon Kappa Theta – President; Tour Guide

Off-campus program:

Linguistics FSP in New Zealand, 08W

Internship experience:

I was a WISP intern with Professor Robert Norman in the Math Department in 07W and 07S. During my freshman summer (07X) I had a fund accounting internship at Fidelity Investments in Boston, MA. During 09X I’ll be interning at the Harvard Laboratory for Developmental Studies.

sliderManasi Desai ‘11
F09-S10 D-plan: FSP-L-R
Psychology and economics double major
Pre-law

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

I love the wide range of classes offered and the flexibility of the major. There are of course a few requirements in terms of electives, but other than that, you are free to take the classes in the areas of psychology that interest you. The professors are also a huge plus. They are leaders in psychology and psychological research and are so passionate about the material they teach. However, as the classes are popular, they tend to be extremely large.

Important info for potential majors:

Talk to me if you are interested in social psychology or abnormal psychology. Also, if you are looking for research opportunities, I know of professors who always need people in their labs.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Try to get to know your professors; they’re fascinating people who know basically everything about what they teach. Even though many of the classes are large, the professors do want to get to know you and appreciate it if you make an effort to get to know them. This  will make your search for recommendation letters much easier and will add to your overall academic experience.

Favorite class and professor:

I loved social psychology with Professor Hull! Not only was the material fascinating, but Professor Hull also was hilarious. He made the class really fun with the real world examples he showed us like his favorite Seinfeld clips. He also added a personal element to the class through his teaching style and his passion for the subject. I highly recommend taking this class because it will make you look at the world differently.

Major classes taken:

Psych 1, 10, 23, 24, 28, and 52

Major journey:

Ever since high school, I was interested in how the brain works and how people think. I took cognition in the spring and absolutely loved the class. After that I had a pretty good idea I wanted to take more classes and possibly be a major, so I took abnormal psychology, which was amazing. After abnormal I didn’t need much more convincing, but then I took social psychology, which assured me that I needed to be a psychology major.

Major-specific activities:

Research in social neuroscience

Thesis status:

I intend to write a thesis in social neuroscience under Professor Heatherton’s direction.

Other activities:

Vandana-president 08W & 08S; Alpha Xi Delta-phil chair-09X; DCGH; Book Buddies

Off-campus program:

transfer term in London at Queen Mary, 09F

Internship experience:

In 08X, I worked at the Lanier Law Firm in Houston, Texas as a researcher and assistant. I had the privilege of attending a few depositions where I got to see a psychologist evaluate witnesses’ mental stability.
I will be interning this summer and in 09S in Professor Heatherton’s lab and will be doing research in social neuroscience under postdocs.