This page contains brief career autobiographies submitted by alumni of Haverford College's Psychology Department. We hope this gives our students some ideas about the kinds of careers for which a Psychology major will prepare them. Biographies are sorted according to year of graduation. Some alumni have provided a link to their personal or company web sites.
Submit yours now (If you were a Haverford College Psychology major, and would be willing to participate in this project, or just want to send us a greeting.)
Ken Nakayama '62
I enjoyed my undergraduate years at Haverford immensely. A high point of my psychology experience was the Philips Visitor Program which enabled undergraduates to meet with leaders in the field of psychology and the newly emerging field of brain science.One of these visitors accepted me into his lab at UCLA as a graduate student in physiological psychology and later I did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Physiology-Anatomy, UC Berkeley.Afterwards, I took a post in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University, St. Johns, Newfoundland.In 1971, I started a long career at the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco. In 1990, I accepted my current position as a Professor of Psychology at Harvard where I also became co-director of the Vision Sciences Laboratory.
Charles E. Holzer III '65
While at Haverford I started out wanting to be a pre-med physics major but by sophomore year fell in love with psychology, especially social psychology. That summer I worked at U. Florida in Psychiatry on a project on authoritarianism in parents of mentally ill vs. normal children and a follow-up of patients returning to the community from state hospital. I also did a project on the epidemiology of race and mental illness for my soon to be lifelong mentor Paul Adams.
After graduating in '65 I went back to Florida to do alternative service as a Conscientious Objector and worked as an inpatient aid, as well as on various research projects.
I started graduate school in sociology to learn community survey methods and worked on a large mental health survey of the local county. I completed my M.A. (1973) and Ph.D (1977) in medical sociology with lots of methodological, computer, and statistical skills.
At Florida I became Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Sociology, until I moved to Yale in 1979 as an Assistant Professor to work as a methodologist/epidemiologist on the first site of the Epidemiologic Catchment Area Project (ECA). That was the first really large scale diagnostic survey of psychiatric disorders, based on DSM-III and using the DIS. As that program wound down I moved to my present Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Univsity of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where I have progressed to tenured full professor while getting to do what I like the best: surveys and other studies of psychiatric disorder and behavioral outcomes.
We have worked multi-ethnically with white, Black, Hispanic, and Asian (Vietnamese) populations; we have worked with adults and children (including children recovering from severe burns at the Shrine Hospital); and we have conducted randomized studies looking at services outcomes for case-managed, mentally-ill individuals in Houston. The best part is that I continue to be involved in teaching and mentoring from HS students, through medical students and psychology interns. The young faculty members are the greatest challenge. Even though I just received my medicare card, I love what I am doing and will continue as long as possible. It wasn't all planned this way but it has a continuity about it. Some of our work is posted on my work web site:
S. Mitchell Freedman, MD '68
After graduation from Haverford in 1968, I went to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and received my MD degree in 1972. While in med school I developed an interest in neurology and neuropsychology that had been spawned by my psychology studies in college. A medical internship at Duke was followed by a neurology residency at Duke University Medical Center. My wife (BMC '70) had the good sense to purchase season tickets to Duke Basketball games in 1973 which we have kept since then. After 2 years at Ft. Bragg, I moved to Raleigh, NC and began the practice of neurology in 1978, and I have been actively practicing neurology ever since.
I think of my Haverford education all the time.There is a beautiful watercolor of Founders Hall across from my desk. Working in the modern world of American medicine in a healthcare system that is broken, the education and values I incorporated into myself from Haverford keep me intellectually alive and personally on track.I teach medical students and residents who renew my sense of wonder and curiosity every day. As I prod them to read and explore the depths of the medical literature, I remind them that my wife and I used to go on study dates at the Haverford and Bryn Mawr libraries.They all find this rather quaint and quite dorky.
One of my patients married an artist whose designs are now featured in the museum shop of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His latest design featured gingko leaves on a neck tie. When I wear that tie, I think of Haverford.
One of our sons graduated from Haverford recently and the other renegade went to Middlebury. I would be delighted to talk with any psychology majors at Haverford about life after graduation.
James McElwain ‘73
After four fun years at Haverford, I graduated in 1973 and went to work teaching third grade at Friends Community School in West Chester, PA, while I pondered what I wanted to do with my life.I eventually concluded that architecture was a good match, though I had never so much as met an architect in my life.I visited with some Haverford graduates who had become architects, took some adult education classes in drafting and, somewhat whimsically, entered the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Utah in 1976.I discovered that my deep lack of preparation in the technical aspects of architecture was more than compensated for by my Haverford education.In 1979, I started to work for a small firm in Salt Lake City and found myself at the cutting edge of revolutionary developments in the profession including computer-aided design and historic preservation.In 1988, my wife Cathy (BMC '73) took a position at Loyola Marymount College and I transferred my experience to Los Angeles where I worked for several firms before landing at the University of Southern California in 2002 as the staff architect for the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.I have been fortunate to work on several notable projects in my career, but attribute my success less to the technical tricks that I learned at architecture school than to the way of thinking that I learned at Haverford.I live a long way from Philly, but manage to keep up with fellow alumni in the area and have volunteered for the admissions office for over twenty years.
David Maxfield ‘76
At Haverford I took every class I could with Mary Naus, Doug Davis, and Sid Perloe. Mary was my north star. Bryn Mawr’s psychology department focused mostly on animal learning, and I took lots of courses there as well—doing a sort of double major in psychology.
After Haverford I went straight into Stanford’s PhD program, where my advisor was Albert Bandura—though I also got to work with Phil Zimbardo, Daryl Bem, Amos Tversky, and Daniel Kahneman. It was an exciting and heady time, but I decided I didn’t want an academic career. I still get together with Albert at least 4 times a year—to do lunch at his favorite Dim Sum restaurant in Palo Alto.
In 1981, another Stanford student and I started a management consulting and training firm. We focused on using the then new-fangled video technology to teach leadership and interpersonal skills.
Our first two companies didn’t make it, but the third time has been a charm. VitalSmarts has been on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies several times. We’ve now trained more than a million people in our skill-building programs. I lead our research team, and have co-authored of three of our books: Crucial Accountability, Influencer, and Change Anything. They’ve each hit the NYTimes bestseller lists. We recently sold our company to Providence Equity Partners, and hope to grow to a whole new level.
My wife, Kathy Becker, and I split our time between Park City, Utah and Del Mar, California.
Eric Turkheimer ‘76
I was an indifferent psychology major at Haverford, rescued from a probable drop-out by inspirational teaching and close personal attention from Douglas Davis.After Haverford, I did this and that while I waited to grow up.I wound up in the business world in New York City, and eventually disliked it enough to return to school.I barely got into graduate school in clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but once I got there it was a revelation.For the first time in my life I was engaged in my education, working hard and succeeding, and I knew that I was at home in the world of academia.After six years in Austin and a clinical internship in San Francisco, I took a position at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, where I have been happily engaged in science, teaching, and raising a family ever since.I study the genetics of behavior, using empirical, statistical and philosophical methods. My work is committed to the idea that a realistic view of the role of genetics in complex human behavior is not at odds with humanitarian and progressive social values.
Stephen E. Finn '78
After graduating from Haverford, I took some time off and went to Europe for a year. My Haverford statistics training turned out to be very useful, as I earned money by helping to teach a beginning statistics course for psychology students at the University of Göttingen in Germany. I also got clear that I wanted to go to psychology graduate school, and applied and was accepted in the clinical psychology program at the University of Minnesota for the autumn of 1979. There I got very interested in psychological assessment, which is still my main specialty. I got my Ph.D. from U of MN in 1984 and took a faculty position at the University of Texas at Austin. I taught there until 1993, when I left to start my own clinic, the Center for Therapeutic Assessment. (I still have an adjunct appointment.) At our Center-a small practice, research, and training institute--I developed a method of using psychological testing as a brief therapeutic intervention. I now practice, write, and teach about this method (called Therapeutic Assessment), traveling frequently around the world to do training workshops. I am very grateful to Haverford (and to my advisor Doug Davis) for my training in psychology and for providing an environment where I could come out as a gay man and grow personally. I would be happy to speak to any students who are considering careers in clinical psychology.
Todd Preuss '80
I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and attended George School, a Friends secondary school in Bucks County. At Haverford, I developed an interest in the evolution of the brain and cognition, which continues to be my intellectual passion. When I got my BA in 1980, there were no graduate programs in comparative cognition, so I embarked upon a PhD in biological anthropology at Yale, thinking I would become a paleoanthropoligist. (In fact, my first publication concerns Sivapithecus, a fossil ape.) Early on, however, I realized that I could study brain evolution by comparing species using the powerful neuroanatomical techniques then becoming available. Using those techniques, and more recently, methods from molecular biology and neuroimaging, I've made a career of identifying features of brain organization that distinguish primates from other mammals, and humans from other primates. After Yale, I did a postdoc at Vanderbilt, then spent 6 years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Since 2002, I've been at the Yerkes Primate Center at Emory University, where I am currently Associate Research Professor of Neuroscience. My Yerkes affiliation affords me the rare opportunity to directly compare humans to chimpanzees, our closest relatives. Throughout my career, I've had the good fortune to have mentors who encouraged me to follow my own path, notably Mary Naus (at Haverford), Patricia Goldman-Rakic and Alison Richard (at Yale), and Jon Kaas (at Vanderbilt). I've also benefitted enormously from the support of a remarkable private organization, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, which has allowed me to take my science places NIH just won't go.
Wayne Satten '81
I have now been a practicing clinical psychologist here in Tucson, Arizona, since 1988. I came to the field of psychology much more from my deep interest in philosophy rather than the biological sciences. In fact, I graduated Haverford as a Philosophy major in 1981. In many ways, I have long considered my primary work in psychotherapy as "applied philosophy." At this time, my career work is conducting psychotherapy with adults, couples, teens, and children, helping people address a wide variety of clinical problems--in other words, human issues! My approach in theory and practice is certainly eclectic. My initial grounding was in psychoanalytic theory, starting with courses with Haverford Psychology Professor Doug Davis. My career as a psychologist has afforded me the opportunity to continue my philosophical vocation to dialogue with, understand, and help others.
Kristen Herzel, Ph.D ‘84
I spent 9 years after graduation trying different jobs and trying to figure out what I wanted to do.My interests were in psychology, biology, and neurology—and I knew I wanted to work with children, but have some intellectual stimulation as well.I toyed with going to medical school but decided that wasn't right.I taught preschool, worked in various research jobs, had a baby, and went to grad school in applied developmental psychology for a year, but it turned out that wasn't what I was after, either.I finally realized that neuropsychology was the field I was interested in, and I applied to clinical psychology programs that offered neuropsych tracks or specialties.I graduated with a Ph.D in clinical psychology in 1999 (SUNY Binghamton), did an internship at North Shore University Hospital, and did my 2 year post-doc at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia.I was offered a job at CHOP, but chose to join one of my supervisors in her private practice, and I've been in private practice ever since.It's a great job for me—I have frequent client contact, lots of time to think, conceptualize, and write, and opportunities for consultation. Plus I can work from home and raise my younger son (my older son will be a freshman at Haverford this fall!).
Here's our website:http://www.home.earthlink.net/~kherzel/
Michael Kane ‘89
I earned my B.A. in Psychology from Haverford in 1989, with the idea of pursing a Ph.D in cognitive psychology to study the normal and pathological aging of memory. But first, I worked for a year doing quantitative market research for Information Resources, Inc. (I wanted to earn a bit of money before grad school). This was actually pretty good fun, and lucrative, but I envisioned a death-bed regret that I'd dedicated my intellectual life to increasing market share for Ty-D-Bol. So, I went to Duke to study cognitive aging and earned my Ph.D in 1995. I then shifted research specialties to normal individual differences in adult cognition during a two-year post-doctoral stint at the University of South Carolina. I continue this line of research today, while teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in cognitive psychology, intelligence, IQ, and skeptical/scientific thinking.
My first tenure-track position was at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, from 1997-2000. In 2000, I moved back to North Carolina, to UNC-Greensboro, where I'm now an Associate Professor of Psychology and an Associate Editor of the scientific journal Memory & Cognition. My UNCG website can be found at: http://www.uncg.edu/~mjkane/
Matt Schulkind '90
I left Haverford in 1990 with a BA in Psychology.After one year working as a research assistant in the Educational Psychology Department at Temple University, I began my graduate studies in cognitive psychology at Duke University under the guidance of David Rubin.While at Duke, I met and married another experimental psychology graduate student, Tamara Rahhal.We left Duke and moved together to the University of Illinois; Tammy had a tenure track job and I had a post-doc. (It’s a small world: I met Rebecca Compton at Illinois; she was also doing a post-doc at the time.)Soon after Tammy and I arrived at Illinois, we realized it was not a great fit for us.I missed being part of the kind of small intellectual community that I had grown to love at Haverford, and Tammy wanted more family time than a typical tenure-track position offered.Although ideally I would have returned to “the Ford” as a professor, I was thrilled to accept a tenure-track position in the Psychology Department at Amherst College.I started at Amherst in the Fall of 2000 and am now an Associate Professor. Tammy initially took a visiting position at Trinity College in Hartford and has subsequently moved to a permanent administrative/teaching position at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.I owe a great deal to my Haverford education – and to the Psychology department, in particular – for giving me both the desire and the tools to succeed in an academic career.I would be happy to speak to current students or alumni who are considering a similar path, especially those who are concerned about how to cope with having two academics in the same family.
Here is my website: https://cms.amherst.edu/people/facstaff/mdschulkind
Gabriel Dichter, Ph.D ‘93
I am a licensed clinical psychologist conducting research in the Department of Psychiatry at UNC-Chapel Hill.I’m also an adjunct professor at Duke University Medical Center.My research uses functional brain imaging (fMRI) and psychophysiological techniques to examine core deficits and response to treatment in autism spectrum disorders and affective disorders.
Here’s my website: http://www.bbi.unc.edu/staff/dichter.html
Justin Warner ‘93
I graduated from Haverford in 1993 with a psychology major and a then-new concentration in neural and behavioral sciences.After Haverford, I worked in Washington, D.C. as a science writer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.I wrote and produced short science radio program, wrote and edited a kids' science radio comedy/mystery show (which won a Peabody Award in 1996), and created and wrote activities for a kids' afterschool science program.Somewhere in there I started performing and teaching improv comedy and writing short plays.I earned a master's in playwriting at Catholic University in 2002, juggling school, improv, and my work for AAAS.My first full-length play was inspired by the neuropsychological disorder Capgras Syndrome, in which a patient believes his or her parents have been replaced by exact doubles; it's been produced in NYC, London, LA, Florida, and Kansas.I moved to NYC in 2003 and was accepted into the BMI Musical Theater Workshop as a librettist, and later, also as a lyricist.At the moment I'm working on more plays and musicals, writing other kinds of freelance material, including alumni magazine profiles and songs and sketches for a corporate entertainment company, and still doing some science writing.Plus, I have a son, born 2005.I suppose it sounds like a leap to go from psychology to playwriting, but really, it's all about being interested in human behavior.For more info, visit:
Heather Donaldson Cormons ‘95
After graduating from Haverford in 1995, I was unsure of what I wanted to do and ended up in Washington, D.C., working for a consulting firm.When that two year position was over, I took some time to figure out what to do next; in the meantime, I worked as a whitewater rafting guide in West Virginia.Ultimately, I returned to school and received a Masters in Education with a concentration in Montessori Education from Loyola College in Maryland.My interest in children and education began during my time at Haverford.I took a class in Developmental Psychology and did my senior thesis on the relationship between children’s developmental levels and computer use.I have been teaching since 2000, primarily as a Montessori elementary teacher.When my husband’s time in law school took us to California, I left Montessori and worked with students with learning disabilities, primarily teaching reading.I am now back East, working in Charlottesville, Virginia as a Montessori elementary teacher.Being a Montessori teacher has been very rewarding, and the Montessori approach to education has been supported by much psychological and educational research (see Angeline Lillard’s book Montessori:The Science Behind the Genius).
Debra Glick ‘04
After graduation in 2004, I worked for two years as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Psychotherapy Research Program (Department of Psychiatry) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.I worked with several doctors on a large number of studies and had the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the research process from the initial planning of studies to publications.In 2006 I started my Ph.D program in Clinical Psychology at Suffolk University in Boston.I completed my Master's thesis in May and am starting to think about dissertation topics, while I am also receiving clinical training.I spent last year working in a community mental health center and this coming year I will be working at a veteran's hospital outside of Boston.I also work as a teaching assistant and am planning on teaching a course as an adjunct professor next year.Ultimately I would like to combine clinical work, research, and teaching in my career.
Stephanie Rudolph ‘06
I graduated from Haverford in 2006. While I have yet to work directly in the field, my experience analyzing studies and statistics has proved incredibly useful. After graduation, I was a Haverford House Fellow placed at Community Legal Services where I assisted low-income Philadelphians struggling with employment issues. As a result of this experience, I decided to apply to law school. While the LSATs were not my strength in general, my psychology training prepared me extremely well for the logic section of the exam. In fact, many of the questions asked about weaknesses or strengths of psychology studies very similar to those I had read at Haverford.
I later worked as an environmental journalist in Traverse City, Michigan for the Michigan Land Use Institute—an organization started by a Haverford grad. In that position, I consistently worked with potentially intimidating statistics and studies which I found very digestible thanks to my experience.
Finally, I left my journalism job to travel in South America for six months.I spent the majority of that time working on a small, organic farm operated by an Argentine family. Given that I will likely work with immigrant communities as a lawyer, I wanted to learn Spanish.
I currently work in Philadelphia selling organic produce for a local farm in Clark Park. I am also a part-time barista at a local cafe. In August, I will be moving to California to attend Stanford Law School (class of 2011). I intend to work as a public interest lawyer after I graduate. Thanks to my work as an environmental journalist (and farmer), I have become especially interested in issues of environmental racism, fresh/healthy food accessibility, and environmentally responsible farming.
Amy Havassy '07
After graduating from Haverford in 2007 I moved to Philadelphia and searched for jobs in social work. I have now been working at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, which is the>public defender's office, since August 2007. I work in the Child Advocacy Unit as a Social Service Advocate (previously called "Child Advocate Social Worker") where I work with foster kids and advocate for them in Family Court. The job provides a nice mix of>psychology, sociology, social work, and law. Although I enjoy social work, I'm hoping to change careers and go to nursing school in the next couple years.
Lorna Quandt '07
In April 2007, the month before my graduation from Haverford, I applied to several jobs in research.I decided to accept an offer at UCLA, and so shortly after I graduated, I headed on out to Los Angeles to work in the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging in the UCLA Neurology Department.The group I work for is called the Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Lab, and I work as a staff research associate.The primary project I am working on is looking at the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol and methamphetamine on the brains of developing children.I work with these children and give them a whole battery of neuropsychological tests--testing their IQ, memory, verbal abilities, spatial abilities, etc.I also conduct MRIs and functional MRIs to look at the structure and function of their brains.Currently, I'm planning on applying to graduate schools to pursue a Ph.D in psychology or neuroscience, staring in the fall of 2009.