Why I Majored in Psychological Science

Vidusshi Hingad ’25

My decision to major in psychology at Pomona College was more than an academic choice; it was a path to self-discovery that began with a high school International Baccalaureate (IB) course. Arriving at Pomona with an open mind, I sampled various subjects, but it was psychology that truly resonated with me. Its appeal lay in the blend of two passions: a genuine interest in understanding human behavior and a love for the precision of research methods.

Psychology, in its vastness, ranging from forensic psychology to child development, has been a catalyst for my personal growth. It constantly pushes me to question and reassess my assumptions (or heuristics), shaping a more nuanced understanding of the world. The faculty in the department have been instrumental in this journey. Their support and guidance extend beyond academics, fostering a community where I felt valued and encouraged.

This journey through psychology led me to embrace the concept of 'ikigai'–finding joy and fulfillment in what I do. Psychology is more than just my major; it’s the prism through which I view life. It has intertwined my academic pursuits with a deeper, more personal exploration of my place in the world.

On seldom occasions does one enter a classroom and has their life changed. Psychology did that for me. It's not just a discipline I've studied; it's a lens that has refined how I interact with knowledge. As I step into a world increasingly in need of human understanding, empathy, and the ability to interpret and predict human outcomes, my education in psychology at Pomona College has uniquely equipped me. It has instilled in me a blend of data analysis and critical thinking skills, honed my ability to empathize and understand diverse perspectives, and provided me with the tools to anticipate and analyze human behavior. This comprehensive skill set prepares me to engage with the world in a way that is insightful, informed, and deeply attuned to the complexities of human nature.

Sara Garza Gonzalez ’25

I thought I was set as an international relations major my first semester at Pomona, having loved the idea of intersectional politics as the vessel for social change my whole life. I quickly realized that what I loved about politics was understanding the why behind people’s behavior, what drives people to their decisions, and hence, understanding the general idea of people having personalities. I had also always loved listening and talking to as many people as I could, and ever since discovering my passion for psychological science, it has only grown.

After getting to know the professors and the major through Pomona’s website during the winter break of my first year, I sent an email to Professor [Sara] Masland wondering if we could schedule a Zoom meeting to talk more about what majoring in psychological science means at Pomona. In the next couple of days, we met for a Zoom meeting, she hired me for her research lab, and I knew I had met the people I wanted to surround myself with for the next three and a half years I had left at this school. The people at Pomona’s Psychological Science Department and their openness and curiosity for others are why I chose this major.

As an international student, I found it difficult at times to find a sense of community and belonging during my first semester, but the warmth of the Psychological Science Department and Sandy’s smiles and snacks (our incredible Academic Coordinator) helped me build a new home away from my first home. After many insightful lab meetings, late nights studying at Lincoln Hall, various community work efforts, and life-changing friendships, I am very grateful to be part of this department and this discipline.

I now know and value how psychological science is another vessel with which we can bring about social change.

Rosa Gerdts ’24

I majored in psychological science because of a social psychology class I took in high school. I loved the idea of understanding why and how people behave the way they do, especially as a means of understanding people who come from distinct backgrounds and coming to common solutions.

As I have taken various courses in the department, including Psychology of Health and Medicine, Child Development, Social Psychology, and Human Development of the African Diaspora, I have become interested in developmental psychology and promoting optimal health outcomes through a holistic perspective of well-being. As a Mexican American, I am especially interested in how psychological research can be utilized to reduce health disparities. Moving forward, I plan to pursue research, which the department has prepared me well for. My coursework in research methods and statistics, as well as my senior thesis, have allowed me to explore the potential of research and understand its process, which has set me up for success as a research assistant at Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute, the AMH lab at the Berger Institute, and the DSCShop at Pomona.

What especially stands out about the department is its supportive professors and faculty, who have guided me throughout my undergraduate experience with sincere warmth and kindness.