Johnny Kauth is an IO MPS alum and an HR Management intern with Arlington County, VA.


What made you want to pursue a career in IO?

That is a long story, so I will start from the beginning. I joined the Army because I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. I come from a military family, but I specifically joined for the GI Bill. I am absolutely terrified of debt. I thought that I would do the Army thing for a few years, and then off to law school. However, in my last year, one of our soldiers died by suicide. Over that last year in the Army, I watched this pattern repeat itself several times, and it was the catalyst that led me to psychology. Not coming from a psychology background myself, I began reading everything I could on the subject. That led me to a program studying clinical psychology. However, after one semester- and learning about the wonders of I/O by my research methods professor and developing real passions in the I/O space- I decided to pursue I/O and applied to Maryland as soon as I could. 


Why did you choose UMD’s program for your studies?   

In addition to every professor being willing to meet with me before I applied, the thing that really stood out to me was that this program has a sense of kindness. I still email professors probably once or twice a week about projects I'm working on, even though I am not taking classes with them at this point. The kindness of its staff and faculty makes up for any and all deficiencies that you would get in any program.


What skills have you learned that you feel like are helping you or will help you in your career?

I definitely think that group projects have been important for me; I don’t love them, but I need them because everything in this type of work is group-based. As far as actual I/O skills, Meg’s Statistics courses were amazing. She's the best stats professor I've ever had, and it is not even close. Ken’s Selection class is top of the line. I revert back to a lot of his stuff. And David has to be one of the funniest yet brilliant people I have met. David has taught me a lot about everything, to be honest.


What is your favorite leisure activity?

My favorite leisure activity is reading. I will probably read till I die. Because it's the 20th anniversary of Return of the King, Lord of the Rings, I’m crushing through Tolkien right now. And I'm a huge sci-fi person, so I feel like I reread Michael Crichton every so often. Also in no particular order; Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Horowitz, McEwan, Larson, Ludlum, King, and Gaiman round out who I have read recently.


What is the best piece of advice or feedback you have ever received?   

The best piece of advice I was ever given in I/O was by Dr. Paul Hanges. He told me, “you don't want to be an “I” psychologist and you don't want to be an “O” psychologist. You want to be an “I/O” psychologist.” I think most people (including myself) are guilty of coming into the program with an already established mindset on what we want to study. In fact, Matt just had some alumni come back for a visit, and all of them said they wished they would have paid more attention to classes outside of their industry. We should be competent in all the core tenets of I/O. I agree with Dr. Hanges that we should not limit ourselves.


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