University of Minnesota

Psychology Student Profile

Name: Alyssa Merbler
Anticipated Graduation Year:
Major: Psychology BS

Alyssa Merbler

How and why did you choose your major?

I have always been interested in the brain and human behavior. I started out my undergraduate career as a Neuroscience major, but it wasn't for me. The psychology BS program allowed me to integrate my interest in biological sciences with my interest in human behavior. I really liked the flexibility of choosing what classes I wanted to take, and what area of psychology I wanted to focus on.

Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.

Psychology lets you explore biology, chemistry, and human behavior all in one major. I knew that I had a big interest in cognitive/biological psychology, so I was able to take all of those classes. My favorite class was cognitive neuropsychology, a graduate level course that lets you explore how damage in different areas of the brain affects different processes, such as speech and object perception. It pulled together my interests of neurology and human behavior. The most important thing I worked on throughout my 4 years in the program was how to think critically. We often were presented different research studies, and we had to determine flaws in the methodology, limitations, etc., in order to see how much we could accept that study's findings as fact. Critical thinking extends into so many different aspects of life, I think it has been a great skill to refine.

What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)

I have a continuing involvement in an educational psychology research lab, and have volunteered in special education classrooms.

In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?

Once you find an area of psychology that you really like, take more of those classes, especially the graduate classes, even if you don't have to. You can really start to tailor your degree to what you want to study.

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