Industrial-Organizational Psychology Concentration

Tiancheng (Allen) Chen, 2023

Tiancheng (Allen) Chen

What led you to choose to major in psychology?

I have always found psychology fascinating. I also had some business background (a bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration) and worked in hotels before. So, I was very excited to learn that IO psychology studies people in the workplace. I decided to learn more about it, and then I just fell in love with it.

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

The one thing that makes me enjoy the most from studying IO psychology is that I can make real differences in the real world. The scientific principles and practices learned from IO psychology could be applied in the real world. For example, I once worked at Arlington County Human Resources department and was involved with Arlington County Fire Department Captain II promotional assessment center. The most qualified candidates selected through the designed assessment center were put into work to serve the community. It is always nice to think back that I was a part of the force that makes it happen.

What kind of research are you currently working on?

My research interests include organization climate and culture, groups and teams, leadership, training, and computational modeling. I am currently working on two research projects. One is about applying longitudinal methods to analyze archival data to explore the relationship between climate for sacrifice and work-to-family conflict over time. The other is an undergoing meta-analysis on team reflexivity and team innovation.

What extracurricular or other exciting activities are you involved in?

My major extracurricular activity is practicing martial arts. I had practiced Kempo Karate for six years and Okinawan Karate for three years. Now, I am into Wing Chun Kung Fu, and I have been learning and practicing Wing Chun since March 2019.

Some of my other extracurricular activities include hiking, attending concerts/theatres, reading, and traveling.

What are your career goals after graduation?

My main career goal is to become a scientist-practitioner and work in the applied field. I want to work either in government or consulting firms to apply IO psychology to the real world. I would also like to be an adjunct professor in the meantime to share real-world practices with students.

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

I have a few advice for prospective students to my program:


  • Regarding research interests, make sure you and the faculty you are applying to work with is a good fit
  • Check out our program’s graduate student handbook to have a general understanding of the requirements and milestones
  • Feel free to reach out to current students and ask questions about the program (I am happy to share my experience and answer questions, and my email is