Satia Miller, ‘12

Hometown: Hackensack, NJ
BS, Psychological Sciences and Society, Technology, Policy

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
I was looking for a place I would feel comfortable. I knew regardless of where I went that it was going to be a lot of hard work, but I really wanted to be happy. WPI is one of the few tech schools that has an actual campus and school spirit; you come on campus, and you can feel the WPI experience.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
The philosophy of Theory and Practice is much more efficient than spending time in the classroom learning theories that you have no idea how yet to apply. By combining theory and practice, WPI students have more time to devote to learning, experiencing, and doing, as opposed to learning – stop – then applying.

The most important thing that working in teams has taught me is conflict resolution. When I get into the workplace and have coworkers with different views and perspectives, I will know how to resolve those differences in professional and amicable ways.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
WPI’s greatest strength is its student body. There are so many different cultures, interests, and perspectives on campus that you get a piece of what the real world is going to be like. WPI is also unique in that it doesn’t try to compare itself to others; it has its own expectations that it sets for itself. It’s happy to be its own awesome entity, and that makes me proud to be a WPI student.

How have the professors in your particular department impacted your studies and your life?
Dr. Jeanine Skorinko was the first person I spoke to upon deciding to switch majors. I went into her office – the door is always open – and inside a half hour, she explained the entire field of social psychology in a consistently enthusiastic and passionate manner. She truly loves what she does and makes us care about what we are learning. She offers extra help, extra credit, and gets us involved in lab research. Most importantly, she believes in my work. She encouraged me to submit my IQP abstract to the Society of Psychological Study of Social Issues national conference in 2010. As the youngest one there, I was terrified to present, but she prepped me, convinced me that I could do it, and attended with me. I ended up meeting many people and making important connections for grad school.

What are your research projects?
For my MQP for my Society, Technology, Policy major, I’m looking at the impact of efficiency information on giving decisions on campus to charitable causes. I’m interested in whether or not students are aware how the money is going to be used, if it matters to them or changes how they participate in these events, and if knowing this information would impact future giving decisions and participation. Professor Alex Smith and Professor Kent Rissmiller have been really encouraging and offered me an enormous amount of support. They helped me to find a project that meant a lot to me as well as go through the entire research design process and execution.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
I plan on attending grad school in order to pursue a PhD in social psychology. Upon completion of that degree, I hope to enter the field of academia, be a professor, do my own research, and continue to be involved on the college campus.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • A research assistant in two labs on campus: the Social Psychology Inquiry Lab and the Experimental Economics Lab
  • A brother of Alpha Phi Omega: a co-ed service fraternity
  • A member of Active Minds: a national organization focused on changing the conversation on campus around mental health issues facing many college students.

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Charles O. Thompson Scholar

Additional comments:
The social sciences department is small, but has a lot to offer to students. Because it is small, they have the resources to be able to send students to conferences, get them extra help, and allow them to work in labs from freshmen year if they’re interested. In applying to grad school, I’ve had interviewers tell me that I have the research experience of a second year grad student, which is something I couldn’t get at other, larger schools.

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