Victoria Vasso ’12 is one of many Monmouth University psychology graduates who has taken full advantage of the versatility of her degree, which she has used to pursue a career in the insurance industry.
Victoria says a family member led her to Monmouth’s campus, where she quickly found her place.
“My cousin is a couple years older than me and went to MU,” Victoria said. “I went with him to visit and I just fell in love with it. I loved the small classes, the location, and the psychology program.”
Victoria also used a University study abroad experience to find a place she truly loved – London, England, which is far from her hometown of Morristown, NJ. She now works in London as a broker for Bowring Marsh, an international insurance brokerage firm.
“I plan to stay in London for about 5 years and then we’ll see where my career takes me,” Victoria said. “Luckily my company has offices all around the world so I'm looking at either coming back to New York or possibly exploring Singapore or South America. I will stay with Marsh while here but the insurance industry allows for so much movement either within your own company or at another brokerage firm so I don't know what the future could hold for me.
“I love London because of how accessible it is to other parts of the world. Every weekend I could visit another European country if I want to and traveling to places in Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific are really not that far. Plus it is a wonderful city, with so much history and a wonderful culture. We may speak the same language, but we are so different.”
Faculty Member Influence
Victoria initially doubted her decision to pursue a psychology degree, but during her studies at Monmouth she found support and encouragement among the Department of Psychology’s faculty.
“I think most students have a moment where they question if they chose the right degree, and then panic that they only have one more semester to decide on what is one of the biggest decisions of their young adult lives,” Victoria said. “Social psychology with Dr. David Strohmetz reaffirmed that I had made the right decision at a time when I was doubtful. It was the first time I was genuinely excited about going to a class, I saw how wonderful professors can be and I learned so much about myself.”
After Monmouth students select a major, faculty mentors often help guide their academic and career choices to find ways to maximize their job satisfaction. Victoria said two professors helped refine her career path.
“Dr. Natalie Ciarocco is a professor that I will always have great respect for,” Victoria said. “She is a strong, kind, and intelligent woman who taught me that with hard work comes great success, plus she's a killer baker! Dr. Christine Hatchard is another professor who was a great help to me as I originally thought that clinical psychology was the path I would take. She does a great job of giving you an idea of what life as a clinical psychologist is really like, and her work outside of Monmouth is absolutely fascinating.”
How Monmouth helped me achieve my goals
“I think that Monmouth is much more involved in preparing students for post-graduation life than other schools,” Victoria said. “There so many resources that have helped many of my friends figure out what sector they wanted to work in or what master’s program to pursue. The emails sent every few weeks with part time jobs in the area were how I got involved in insurance. I saw an opportunity at a local firm, interviewed and worked there for two-and-a-half years while in school.
“Once I was in my last semester, I decided to send my resume to insurance related companies in NYC, and started my career two weeks after graduation. I now work in London with the same company and I am so grateful for having opened that email!”
Why I'm proud of Monmouth
“Monmouth is an amazing school. I felt really lucky to have such close relationships with my professors, which was only possible because I wasn't one of 250 students in a lecture hall. The psychology program in particular is spectacular. My friends, who went to some highly regarded schools, didn't participate in a thesis or field work experiences. These were the most important aspects of the program because they help you figure out what you're good at and what you enjoy.
“My field research experience and thesis did prepare me for my career, because I had to do a lot of research on industrial psychology — or the psychology of the work place. I learned what variables effect productivity and memory, which is something I keep in mind even today.”
My favorite Monmouth memory
“I studied abroad my junior year and it was honestly the greatest decision I ever made. We were really taken care of while abroad. Robyn Asaro, assistant director of Study Abroad, checks in with the group, sends treats at times when you may feel a bit homesick, and sets the group up with some great experiences.
“I made my greatest friends while abroad, saw many beautiful countries, and learned that I can take care of myself even when I'm 3,000 miles away from home. I am so happy I went, and that now I am back in London four years later.”