Industrial-Organizational Psychology Concentration

Steven Zhou, 2024

Steven Zhou

What led you to choose to major in psychology, specifically industrial-organizational?

Work makes up about a third of your total lifetime, and it’s an integral part of everybody’s lives, regardless of what field they end up in. I believe that the research we do in I-O psychology has the potential to directly impact and improve people’s experiences of work, and given how important work is, it could make a big difference in people’s lives in general.

What have you enjoyed so far about studying your program in psychology?

There’s so much opportunity to collaborate at Mason. I know most programs will tell you that, but I think one piece of ‘evidence’ that it’s particularly true here at Mason is the amount of autonomy offered to graduate students to lead their own programs (under their major professor’s advisement of course). In fact, in I-O, it’s required to lead a first-authored piece by end of year three. The abundance of research projects makes for lots of opportunity (and need) for students to help each other out on projects.

What kind of research are you currently working on?

My research areas are primarily in leadership and statistics. I have projects in child leadership development, person-centered analysis of leadership behaviors, and alternative methods of measuring personality. I also have interests in other areas – team development in escape rooms, teaching, and academic policy ethics.

What extracurricular or other exciting activities are you involved in?

I serve on the executive board of GAPSA, which is the representative board for all graduate students at Mason. It’s been a huge honor getting to represent the interests of grad students at the university-level, especially on important topics such as academic calendars, funding and financial aid, and professional development.

What are your career goals after graduation?

I hope to continue with academia and, fingers crossed, eventually land a faculty position at a research and teaching university. I love teaching and working with students, and I’m especially interested in eventually pursuing higher education policy and administration.

What advice do you have for prospective students to your program?

Get to know us! We love sharing about what we do – most of the time, we’re just holed up typing on our computers, so having a real person interested in our work is exciting! Reach out and ask what we’re working on, what the program is like, and get connected to students and faculty. Just like for a “regular” job, networking is key to getting into a program!