When she arrived on Monmouth University's campus, Colleen Thomas ʼ14 intended to continue through to graduate school in clinical psychology and eventually pursue a career working with veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — but after completing her experiential education requirement, she discovered an exciting new career path in consumer psychology at L'Oreal, a multi-national cosmetics and beauty company.
"I chose to attend Monmouth University because of their unique psychology program," Colleen says. "The program provided me with an in-depth knowledge of research through the core research sequence, knowledge of other disciplines in psychology through various courses and strong connections with faculty, alumni and fellow classmates. I decided early on in my college career that I wanted to continue my education in graduate school in clinical psychology."
Hailing from Pompton Lakes, Colleen came to Monmouth because of its strong psychology program, which emphasizes undergraduate research, faculty-student collaboration, hands-on opportunities through internships and field work. During her years as an undergraduate, Colleen took advantage of employment options on and off campus. In addition to working as a library assistant, she was a research assistant in Monmouth psychology department chair Dr. Gary Lewandowski's Relationship Science Lab, which helped to launch her interest in consumer psychology, which studies how and why people shop for products.
Pompton Lakes, NJ
How Monmouth helped me achieve my goals
For Colleen, it was an internship arranged through the Office of Cooperative Education that steered her onto her unexpected career path.
“I took all of the necessary steps to build up my resume and CV, including joining a research lab, interning at an adult partial care program to work with adults with severe mental illness, and taking an introductory clinical psychology course,” Colleen says. “However, I realized that this field was not a good fit for me.
"Soon after, I sought out an opportunity to explore the field of consumer psychology. I accepted a co-op position at L'Oreal to conduct consumer testing for skin care and makeup products and I loved every minute of it.
"Within a few months, I was offered, and accepted, a full-time position as an associate scientist to conduct consumer testing for makeup products. Monmouth University allowed me to utilize all of its resources in order to find a career that really fits me.”
Colleen says she still plans to attend graduate school in the future to study consumer psychology or applied psychology.