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SPIOP hosts event on careers in the psychology field

(Photo courtesy of Caylee Weintraub)

Professor Terrence Leary had an important message for students on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Students Promoting Industrial and Organizational Psychology event.

“More than anything else, you must love what you do.” Leary, who is the Assistant Professor of Psychology at FGCU and the faculty advisor of SPIOP, was one of four guest speakers who came to the event to discuss career opportunities available to students planning to enter the field of industrial and organizational (IO) psychology.

The event was hosted by SPIOP, a student organization dedicated to helping psychology majors find employment after graduation.

Over 145 students attended, crowding the Sugden Ballroom to listen to guest speakers discuss topics ranging from internship opportunities to the demand for psychology majors in businesses like the car rental service, Enterprise.

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“The goal for the event is to help the transition from internship to employment,” Leary said in an interview.

In 2014, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics ranked IO psychology as one of the fastest growing fields on the job market, projected to have 50 percent growth in the next eight years and an average median pay of over $80,000 annually.

But what is industrial and organizational psychology, and why is this profession so prized?

“There are so many career paths available to IO psychologists, ” Leary said.

Speaking at the SPIOP was one of the representatives those companies looking for IO psychologists: Enterprise.

As a car rental service, it seems that Enterprise would offer little to those looking to enter the IO field. However, Kayla Siwiec, a talent acquisition leader at Enterprise, said quite the opposite is true.

“We love psychology majors first and foremost,” Siwiec, who is in charge of interviewing potential interns, said. “One of the great things about working for a company like Enterprise is that we hire from within, which means that managers and even our CEO are employees who have worked their their way up.”

If those interns show promise, Enterprise hires them as full-time employees.

“We hire 70 percent of our interns for full time employment,” Siwiec said.

Those employees will be able to rise through the ranks of Enterprise, obtaining a human resources position for a major company in less than two years.

“Enterprise is a great company. I’ve learned how to run the business, how to run human resources and I get to drive amazing cars,” SPIOP officer and Enterprise management trainee Jabari Fletcher said. “Whenever companies see jobs on your resumes, it makes you that much better.”

The event also focused on small scale local internships that also offer opportunities to IO majors. Kayla Glover, who works in career and services at FGCU, discussed the resources at FGCU that are available to all majors who are looking for internships or co-ops.

“Doing internships can really open your eyes,” Glover said.

Organizations like Valerie’s House, which provides counseling services for grieving families who cannot afford formal counseling, and St. Matthew’s House, which connects homeless people with community resources, offer internships and employment for IO majors seeking a more clinical setting.

“Leave your backyard,” Leary said at the conclusion of the event. “Go to Dallas or New York or Atlanta.[IO] is an exciting field. The whole world is in front of you.”

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