Name: Megan Reed
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
Research Area: Social Psychology (SOC)
Research Specialty: Social Perceptions and Evaluations
I graduated from UC Davis in 2013 with degrees in Psychology and Art History. I initially took courses in both areas purely for fun, but came to see how both were related to my broader interest in how human perception and subsequent evaluations are subtly biased, both in art appreciation and in everyday interactions. I decided to apply to graduate school in my senior year after working in several different Psychology laboratories and conducting my honors thesis on creativity, experiences that gave me a real taste for research and Social Psychology as a field.
What is a typical day like for you?
There is no “typical” day for me. My schedule is very flexible. It depends on the day, the week, and even the quarter we are in. I usually come into the lab in the morning to work with research assistants, put together studies, analyze data, and prepare for meetings. The remainder of my time is usually spent with classes, both classes I am taking and I am the teaching assistant for. I took two classes per quarter during my first two years, but I am largely beyond classwork at this point, so I no longer take more than one class per quarter.
What best prepared you for a PhD in Psychology? What did you do in your undergraduate career that prepared you to be a PhD student (lab work, teaching, research)?
The work I did outside of my courses helped prepare me for graduate school. I began working as a research assistant (RA) in my sophomore year at UC Davis. My work as an RA helped me realize my interest in research, helped me form closer relationships with graduate students and faculty, and led me to conducting my honors thesis. My honors thesis taught me about the research process from start to finish, which was the most useful thing I did to prepare for my PhD. During my undergrad, I was also an orientation leader and a peer advisor. Those experiences taught me valuable presenting and teaching skills, which are critical for communicating research to both students and academic peers.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
There is no “right” way to do a PhD program. There are so many different routes and everyone is following their own path. It’s important to realize what you want to get out of your PhD and find out what you need to do to get there.
Why did you choose UCSB?
I chose UCSB for several reasons: I wanted to work with my advisor here; the culture between the faculty seemed healthy and collaborative; the graduate students were friendly and positive; and it’s Santa Barbara, it’s a beautiful place to spend 5-6 tough years.
What do you like about getting your PhD in Santa Barbara? What do you do in Santa Barbara in your (precious) spare time?
The best thing about Santa Barbara is the natural beauty and gorgeous weather. It is always hiking, biking, or running weather. I like to de-stress by running in the hills, and there is no better place to do that than in Santa Barbara. In my opinion, it is a perfect sized city to be in for graduate school. There are always things to do and it is not bustling with activity in a distracting way, but if you want that, LA is only 1.5 hours away.
What are your future plans?
Finish my PhD. Then we’ll see.