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Eric Hill, PH.D. ('04)
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Albion College
What was your favorite experience when you were majoring in psychology at Oglethorpe?
I really enjoyed my psychology classes at Oglethorpe. While I had many great experiences working with psychology professors on research outside of the classroom, my experiences in the classroom, thanks to some very engaging professors, inspired me to pursue a teaching and research career in psychology.
What was your favorite psychology class and why?
It is difficult to choose one. The introductory course really got me hooked on psychology, and interested in teaching. I had never taken a psychology class, and I remember being excited to go to class every day, just to learn something new about why we do the things we do. I really liked abnormal psychology as well. I still have all of the books from that course, and I always tell my introductory students stories about Dr. Carton's work with clients with borderline personality disorder.
What did you do immediately following graduation from OU and how did it affect your path in life to date?
I was fortunate enough to get into graduate school at Arizona State University. I hadn't been at Oglethorpe for long when I decided that I wanted to be a psychology professor. I was able to get a lot of great research experience working with psychology professors at Oglethorpe, and that really prepared me for my graduate work. At ASU, I tailored my research and teaching experiences to transition back to a liberal arts school, and that is where I ended up.
What are you doing today and what inspired you to enter that field/profession/position?
I am currently a psychology professor at Albion College in Michigan. I still remember sitting near the back of a classroom nine years ago, listening to a lecture from my first psychology professor. Dr. Johnson was describing a primate study in which chimpanzees were required to press a series of buttons to get treats. To demonstrate, she flailed her arms in the air as if rapidly pressing an imaginary wall of buttons while adding her own sound effects: “Beep boop boop beep beep.” I remember thinking that she must really love her job. That fact seemed true of all of my Oglethorpe professors, and I decided that teaching might be a great career to pursue.
How do you use your psychology undergraduate experience in your work or life today?
My professors helped to prepare me for graduate school and life after OU. What I do now is very similar to what I was doing at Oglethorpe many years ago. I teach and learn, and I design and conduct original research. My work in the classrooms of Oglethorpe, the opportunities to mentor first-year students, and working with professors on their research projects all continue to provide a basis for my work with undergraduate students at Albion.
What advice do you have for students earning a degree in psychology at OU or who might be considering your profession?
Your professors at OU will provide you with countless opportunities to gain the skills, knowledge, and experiences that you will need when you leave Oglethorpe. Take the time to think about where you want to go in life, and then seek out and take advantage of opportunities that you feel will best lead you in that direction.