Monroe Center, Ill.
Back in high school, Jessica Conderman used to catch herself “people watching.”
“I became very interested in what psychological and neurological bases were causing people to behave and think in certain ways,” she explains. “After that I decided to look into psychology. The more psychological studies and theories I read, the more I fell in love with the field of study.”
She came to Carthage because students here have the chance to work one-on-one with faculty and gain personal research experience.
“The ability to communicate on a regular basis with faculty can be essential in the education process,” she says. “I felt that I would get more out of my courses in a small college setting, and that has been my experience in the Carthage Psychology Department so far.
“I feel like they push me to the best of my abilities,” she continues. “Being a double major in psychology and neuroscience, I was able to get hands-on experience in the Carthage rat lab for a semester my sophomore year assisting Dan Miller with PTSD research. I can’t wait to get to spend more time in the lab, and the experience really pushed me to want to do my own research.”
This spring, she will conduct research with Prof. Leslie Cameron and present the research at a conference later in the semester. She has also worked as an SI (supplemental instructor) for the department, helping other students master course material.
Professors in the Psychology Department “are very devoted to their students, and are always willing to help,” she says. “This can provide students with great connections, which is important when looking for field experience or jobs. I feel like I can go to my professors for just about anything. I truly feel that they are here to better the students and love what they do. When you see a person with such passion for their career, it is inspiring.”
“I felt that I would get more out of my courses in a small college setting, and that has been my experience in the Carthage Psychology Department so far.”
To earn a doctorate in clinical psychology or neuropsychology.
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“They all have such unique personalities that I can’t help but enjoy all of their classes for different reasons. Bob Maleske is great because of his unique teaching style and his big heart. He is a very caring professor who allows students to decide how they want to spend their time. He says that we don’t have to go to class, and at first you may think, “WOO! I don’t have to go to class!” But after sitting in the class, I didn’t want to miss even one class.
“I could listen to Penny Seymoure talk forever. She has so many interesting stories and has so much knowledge to share. Ingrid Tiegel has a lot of stories, too. I find it so much easier to learn when I can relate the material to actual stories. She also loves to get her students active in their learning. Leslie Cameron has a lot of passion for her career. When you sit in on her classes, she provides a lot of depth to topics by providing fun activities for the students to perform. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like you are in a class doing work. All the professors make their classes fun and enjoyable for different reasons.”
“Interpersonal Communication with Bob Maleske has been my favorite psychology course. It was a Topics course that was taught during J-Term my sophomore year. A lot of students in the class became very close through the high levels of class interaction. I feel that the course brought a lot of the psychology majors closer together. We learned a lot about each other, as well as a lot about Bob Maleske. He sat right with the students and became part of our social interactions as if he was no longer a professor.”
“Child Psychopathology has been my toughest psychology course. There is a lot of detail to the material that it is important to memorize. However, it is one of my favorite courses. The material and texts are very interesting, so I don’t mind doing the work.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“My favorite moments at Carthage have been with classes. One of my favorite moments was a field trip I took my first semester of freshman year for Heritage. The class rode the train together to Chicago to go a museum to see the Darwin Exhibit. It was amazing. After the museum, we went to see the big tree at German Fest and went into different stores to look around. It felt more like hanging out than a class field trip. From that class, I made some of my first friends at Carthage. Another great moment was during J-Term my sophomore year. Toward the end of J-Term, none of us wanted our Interpersonal Communication course to end. We were all having so much fun every day. After class one day, we all went out to eat together, including Bob Maleske. It was a great time.”
Favorite spot on campus
“My favorite spot on campus is Starbucks. Around lunch time, it seems like the entire student body is all in one location. It is a great place to socialize.”
Biggest surprise so far
“My biggest surprise so far at Carthage has been when I learned that I would get to perform surgery on rats! I was excited to say the least! Also, a big surprise for me was that during the summertime, I really craved a Baja sub from Subconnection in the food court. After two years of eating them, I still crave them.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“The Carthage Psychology Department welcomes people with open arms. I believe that we take our science seriously and push ourselves to be the best we can. It is also important to keep in mind that a majority of all psychology careers and the major require research. When I first entered college, I wasn’t sure if I would like doing research, but after getting involved, I learned how important it is to the science and that I actually do enjoy it. Courses are what you make them. If you are engaged and are truly interested in psychology, the classes can be fun! The psychology professors are filled with all kinds of important information and are always helpful.”