Designed for Action: Senior Psychology Major Takes YCP Experience to Multi-Semester Internship
Isabel Cox ’23 is a very busy student.
She’s involved with several activities on campus, including serving as a Resident Assistant, Senior Senator for Student Senate, and Student Ambassador. She’s also involved in the York Honors Community as a Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellow.
“Honestly, I don't know how I have free time,” she says, laughing.
But what’s occupied most of the senior Psychology major’s time for the past two semesters is her internship with The GIANT Company’s corporate office in Carlisle, PA. Isabel, who is from Stafford, VA, loved her internship, and she’s been working for the company nonstop since the beginning of the year, as GIANT has extended it.
“I've fallen in love with the job, the company, I mean, everything about it,” she says.
Finding the right field
Since her first year at YCP, Isabel has known she wants to work in industrial and organizational psychology, a new and developing field within the psychology field itself.
“I didn't want to take the traditional path of a therapist or psychologist or counselor,” she explains. “It's not that I didn't like it, I just knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do career-wise.”
However, she knew she wanted to apply the concepts within psychology to business. With the help of her academic advisor, Associate Professor of Psychology Perri Druen, Ph.D., Isabel discovered her interest in industrial and organizational psychology. A previous internship at Chick-fil-A helped her confirm this. She sent out a survey to analyze team member satisfaction and employment, and then presented her findings to the company with suggestions for improving employee satisfaction and retention.
At the time, she didn’t know she was completing work within industrial and organizational psychology, but she did know it felt right.
“I felt that this was definitely the field for me,” she says.
After searching for additional internships in a human resources role, something students interested in pursuing industrial and organization psychology can do to gain more experience in the field, Isabel stumbled across an internship with The GIANT Company’s corporate office. A few phone calls and sometime later, she secured the internship.
“I started with the company and I've had no regrets,” she adds.
Figuring out a path
Since starting with The GIANT Company, Isabel has completed several projects. She spent much of her time researching and rewriting job descriptions for the company, compiling lists of helpful information and what ideally should and shouldn’t be in a job description, such as benefits and 401K information.
“I initially did about 60 hours of researching. I researched things such as what's trending right now and job descriptions—what should be in them,” she explains. “And then another thing that I saw that was trending was that the company was giving three to five competencies that they're interested in, showing what they're looking for in an ideal candidate.”
She’s also working on completing an extensive list of free resources for GIANT employees who may need them in the region where they work. Isabel created flyers with a QR code for employees to scan, so they can receive information confidentially.
“It's such a cool thing that the company does,” she adds.
Throughout her entire internship, Isabel has felt supported by the management at The GIANT Company, and her internship advisor at YCP, Carla Strassle, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Director of Experiential Learning, Internships, and Practica in the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education.
“She's been a really big advocate for me. She even loves this company as much as I do just from how highly I've talked about it every week in our meetings,” she says.
She also believes that she was well prepared for this internship by her YCP education. She credits York College’s personalized attention as a contributing factor to her positive experience.
“When I was looking at colleges, I knew that I wanted to go somewhere that was small, private, and liberal arts-oriented, because the education you get there with the smaller classes is more personalized,” she says. “I am not a number to them. I absolutely fell in love with York.”
Isabel also says that her Psychology and Business courses provided opportunities for critical thinking, something she utilizes during her time with The GIANT Company.
“They give us different projects because they like to challenge our thinking,” she says. “It’s not just ‘write this paper.’”
She absolutely loved her internship, and The GIANT Company was pleased with her as well. Isabel says the company wants to keep her on after graduation, full-time, and even if they don’t have openings at the time she applies with them, they’ll create a position for her.
“I think the feelings are mutual. I love them. They loved me,” she says.