Fall 2009
Volume 3, Issue 1
Eye on the Future Research Focus
Undergraduate Superstar: Teresa Madruga
Interviewed by Molly Petersen, Former APSSC Undergraduate Advocate

APSSC: Where do you go to school and what is your area of study?

Teresa Madruga: I attend California State University, Stanislaus. My major was psychology with a concentration in experimental psychology.

APSSC: How did you become interested in psychology?

Teresa Madruga: I have been interested in how people think about themselves, others, and their environment since the middle of high school. By the time I was a high school senior it was pretty clear that I wanted to do something in psychology, although I had yet to take a psychology course. At that time, I was only aware that a person could be a therapist with a degree in psychology, therefore I thought my goal was to become a marriage and family therapist. However, when I TAed my first psychology course, I realized that teaching is what I wanted to do with my degree in psychology. Then, when I took my first psychological methods course, I knew research was where my heart really was. My current goal is to become a professor so I can both teach and do research simultaneously.

APSSC: What kind of project are you currently working on?

Teresa Madruga: My senior thesis investigated the effects of brand names clothes on person perception. I have begun work on my masters thesis which will be an extension of my undergraduate work.

APSSC: What is the next step in your academic career?

Teresa Madruga: Fall 2009 I begin a masters of arts in social psychology. I have begun work on my thesis this summer. After I complete the program I hope to go into a Ph.D. program in Social Psychology.

APSSC: In your opinion, what is the most important thing about psychology?

Teresa Madruga: Research! We need research so that we can further our understanding of people. If we have a better understanding of people, we are better able to improve our lives as well as theirs.

APSSC: How do you keep a balance between classes, research, jobs, and a social life?

Teresa Madruga: Social life definitely has to take a backseat during the school year. This past year I was working about 30 hours a week while taking 16 units and participating in CSU, Stanislaus honors program. I dont recommend that schedule to anyone! Ive cut my work schedule down to a ten hour now that Im starting a masters program. I learned my lesson.

APSSC: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Teresa Madruga: I love video games, anything from Gears of War to Rock Band. My favorite activity is getting friends together and having a social video game night.

APSSC: What is one thing about you others might not know?

Teresa Madruga: I was a really terrible student in high school. I only turned into a good student once I got to college.

APSSC: Do you have any advice for other students?

Teresa Madruga: If your school offers an optional senior thesis, do it. Nothing will tell you if you like doing research more than your own thesis. Even if you have never been interested in research before, you may surprise yourself when youre researching something you are really interested in.
Editor: Molly Petersen - Associate Editor: Peter M. Vernig