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Miami Psychology Alumna Jennifer Thomas Discusses Careers in the Industry

Written by Sarah Guenther, CAS Communications Intern

Jennifer Thomas, a marketing automation analyst at General Electric, returned to her alma mater to speak to psychology majors about potential careers in the industry.

Jennifer Thomas 2017

(Ms. Jennifer Thomas, Miami University Alumna, Class of 2013)

Thomas graduated from Miami in 2013 with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in neuroscience. During her time at Miami, Thomas worked as a RA in Clawson Hall and played intramural soccer and volleyball. She also volunteered as an events coordinator for the Red Hawk Radio Station and hosted two radio shows during her collegiate career.

Thomas revealed that her initial interest in psychology sparked in the ninth grade after stumbling upon a book by Sigmund Freud, “The Interpretation of Dreams.” She did not originally see her interest in psychology leading her to her current position. 

“I envisioned that I would become a psychologist or a high school counselor,” said Thomas. “I think that was the only thing I could envision, because that’s what I originally saw as the typical career paths for psych majors.”

As she tried to pinpoint exactly what she was passionate about, Thomas got a job as a marketing specialist at an insurance company. In this position, she began to produce regular analytical reports. Although outside of her position’s daily expectation, she found that these reports helped her team learn how to modify efforts in order to improve their impact.

Ultimately, the reports were well received and aided in her promotion to a full-time analyst position, one that previously did not exist at the company. Her time as a psychology student at Miami taught her valuable skills about collecting data and using data to tell a story, skills that she would use years beyond her collegiate career.

“The knowledge I gained from working in classrooms and research laboratories was priceless in building a solid foundation for what I would build upon after graduating,” said Thomas. “It was then that I realized I had truly been passionate about data analytics all along and finally put a title to that passion.”

Thomas’ job at General Electric is all about analyzing data and presenting it in a way that is tangible for all levels of stakeholders. She designs dashboards that help her digital team quickly interpret the visual story and take away action items that will improve impact in future initiatives.

When psychology students begin the job search, Thomas advises them to look at an all-encompassing list, or to look at the vast list of things that can be done instead of only the things that have been done.

“The list of what we can be is so extensive. There is a growing demand for deep human understanding everywhere,” said Thomas. “This demand can be found in tech and the corporate world, while more and more companies are actively seeking skilled psych majors to join their teams.”

A way Thomas suggests doing this is through networking. “Networking has been a fantastic help in understanding the vast array of options that are available to psychology majors,” she said. “The professionals that I have connected with helped me to see psychology’s broad range of opportunities as a positive thing.”

Thomas connected and networked with experienced professionals with the assistance of organizations like Miami’s Alumni Chapter, which is a dedicated community of professionals whose sole desire is for Miami alumni to succeed.

“It is a warm community that has professional networking opportunities throughout the year,” said Thomas. “My connections from that community have provided encouragement for me throughout my career search.”

In addition to networking with Miami’s Alumni Chapter, Thomas continues to keep in direct contact with Miami professors, colleagues, and classmates.

“It’s not difficult for me because these aren’t forced connections,” said Thomas. “These individuals are still working on projects, running laboratories, and teaching classes that are so interesting that I can’t help but chat with them every now and then on what fascinating thing that they are doing next.”

Thomas offered a final piece of advice to Miami students getting ready to enter the job world.

“One key factor for me was using Miami’s newly named Center for Career Exploration and Success to fine tune my resume before graduating,” she said. “Having a solid resume and an updated LinkedIn account have been huge assets to advancing me to where I am today, and I can thank Miami’s career professionals for that.”