In February 2020, the Department of Psychology collaborated with the Joyce K. Salzberg Center for Professional Development in the College of Liberal Arts for the inaugural Psychology Lunch and Learn Series. We invited four professionals working in various subfields of psychology to meet with groups of undergraduate students. Each speaker hosted an intimate lunch in Weiss Hall, during which the students were able to converse with the professionals about their career trajectory and life’s work. Eric Schlesinger,[PM1]  Lisa Simon, Julia Parish-Morris, and Natasha Andrews were our featured guests.

Dr. Eric Schlesinger is a Psychology alum with a background in Human Resources and Career Counseling. He offered students advice about career exploration and goal setting. Lisa Simon is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in therapy for eating and body image disorders. She discussed the steps it took to become a licensed therapist and own a private practice. Following Lisa’s visit, Class of 2020 graduate Olivia Allison shared her thoughts on the event. “I believe that I now see a larger scope of clinical/counseling work and what it takes or the different routes to get there. It was very nice to hear about a more non-traditional path and learning about how Lisa has excelled in her career.” 

Dr. Julia Parish-Morris is a Psychology alumna who is a Research Assistant Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine and a scientist at CHOP’s Center for Autism Research. Julia was able to offer guidance about opportunities available for students interested in working in autism research. Neuroscience student Lizzy Fulop stated “the thing that stuck out to me most about Dr. Parish-Morris’ comments was the lack of studies of girls and women who are diagnosed with autism and how the majority of research is done by males.  She really stressed the importance of diversifying science and research, which was inspirational to me as a young woman in science.” Lizzy credits Julia for inspiring her to apply for the a summer internship at the Center for Autism Research, which Lizzy later secured. The final invited professional of the Lunch & Learn series was CLA alumna Natasha Andrews, Director of Programs & Community Engagement for Girls Inc. Natasha discussed how she navigates various roles at Girls Inc., including training and outreach, mentoring services, and case management. Natasha also informed students of the internship opportunities available at Girls Inc. 

Junior Psychology major Mayur Rajesh reflected on how the event series helped him understand the value of networking. “This has shown me that professionals are also people. Although students might feel like professionals are very accomplished and formal, they have been through the same experiences as current students in college.” We look forward to hosting this career series again next spring, this time in a virtual format. If you are interested in contributing your expertise as a participant, please complete this survey.

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