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Psychology

Your lab work will begin with your first course, and the hands-on approach to study will give you an early grounding in the scientific method. You will find many opportunities for research and fieldwork, for instance during a semester at the New England Center for Children.


Sabrina Yurkofsky '15

Communication, psychology and an alumna’s path to the TV industry

As a Hamilton College student Sabrina Yurkofsky ’15 wanted to pursue a career in the television industry, and she majored in two subjects she thought would help her get there: communication and psychology. With help from the College Career Center, she did internships related to the field. And she received a prestigious Hamilton fellowship that allowed her to spend her senior year doing a research project to evaluate sexism on television and its effects on viewers. The work combined both disciplines. (Note: communication is now offered only as a minor at Hamilton.)

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Now Yurkofsky is pursuing an MBA at New York University’s Stern School of Business as a recipient of the William R. Berkley Scholarship. She’, concentrating in entertainment, media and technology and intends to enter the television and film industries.

Both her Hamilton majors helped her understand the relationship between people and the media they consume, she says. Her communication studies focused on the messages themselves. “The study made me think more critically about the messages we receive, which led to my interest in media effects from the psychology perspective,” she says.

In psychology she explored the impact of media messages on the viewer. “I learned how to conduct a quantitative experiment examining this impact. As someone who wants to go into television production, I consider it an obligation to understand the potential positive and negative impacts of such media on viewers,” she says.


Byron K. Johnson ’09

A graduate’s progress: scouting out signs of financial crime

Byron K. Johnson ’09 majored in psychology because he was fascinated by human behavior and thought the course of study would be useful in a career as a criminal defense lawyer. Well before he graduated from Hamilton College, however, Johnson figured out that law wasn’t for him, but he hung on to the psych major. That was a good thing.

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Johnson works as a lead analyst in financial crimes compliance at GE Capital, where he puts his knowledge about human behaviors to use.

Johnson says that of all the things he learned at Hamilton, the most important were critical thinking and writing skills. In particular, he credits Todd Franklin, the Sidney Wertimer Professor of Philosophy for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring, with sharpening his abilities in those areas. “I always thought that I was an OK writer, and now I’ll never forget the first time I turned in a paper, how he just tore it up,” Johnson recalls. But Franklin was supportive. He encouraged Johnson to come see him during office hours and worked with him on all elements of writing well. “It was eye-opening,” Johnson says.