Steffanie Bodnar, M.S.
Class of 2014
I began the OPWL program directly after receiving my Bachelors from Boise State in Psychology. Being a recent grad I didn’t have a ton of work experience and everything I learned for my Bachelors was so broad that I felt unprepared to do what I really wanted in life. I knew I liked Industrial Psychology and was thrilled to find the OPWL program so closely tied to that subject.
The staff and Professors all truly want you to learn the material and become part of the OPWL community. Every person within the OPWL department has a passion and intelligence for the subject that is contagious. Instead of operating on all theory the courses are project driven and allow you to work with clients in the “real world”. This aspect serves as an invaluable learning tool, because not only do you have your educational focus, but you learn how to work with clients who probably don’t care about OPWL subjects as much as you do. As somebody with a limited working history being able to directly transfer what I was learning in class to what my client’s needs were, was a great experience. While going through interviews I was not only able to speak about OPWL subjects, but actually show evidence of when I have worked with those subjects. As a younger professional, I believe these experiences gave me a huge leg up.
Being a Graduate Assistant is also another great feature the OPWL program offers. I cannot say enough about how much I learned from the experience and how great all of the Professors I worked for were. As a GA you are not treated as a lackey student, doing busy work. Instead the Professors I worked with cared about what my interests and goals were and assigned me valuable tasks. I was even able to use one of my Graduate Assistant projects as a writing sample during an interview.
If you are a recent graduate or young professional who has a desire to learn from an educational setting and build real life experience in a developing field, this is a great program to explore!