Profile: UM student studies industrial and organizational psychology



Photo of Jackson’s GRE book and notebook. Photo by Kaelyn Sreenan.

Kaelyn Sreenan
Oxford Stories

Psychology is a science often overlooked and generalized. Ally Jackson, a New Orleans native and Ole Miss senior, plans to earn a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology.

Jackson came to Ole Miss with an undeclared major, but soon realized she wanted to make psychology her career after taking her first class in the subject. It took some time to narrow her area of focus to industrial and organizational psychology.

“I figured out that I was not interested in doing counseling or psych education, and definitely not psychology clinicals,” she said. “Finding out what I wasn’t interested in made it easier to figure out exactly what I was interested in.”

Jackson said large corporations hire industrial/organizational psychologists to create training programs for employees and to hire them.

“You basically organize the entire business and figure out a plan for the best way for them to operate,” she said.

Jackson said a professor, who told them she regretted not studying industrial psychology because she knew many people who were successful in the industry, influenced her career decision.


Ally Jackson doing some late night studying. Photo by Kaelyn Sreenan.

As a senior, she recently began learning the salaries and benefits of earning a master’s and doctorate. “If you get your Ph.D., your salary would be higher, but on the downside, that’s five more years of school.”

Jackson is now studying for the GRE, the basic test to get into grad school. “It is just like the SAT and has nothing to do with psychology,” she said. “It is all over the place, and a general test to see whether you get into grad school or not.”

The GRE preparation book involves a math prep and verbal section. Jackson’s top choices for grad school are LSU and the University of Houston.

For the New Orleans native, LSU is only an hour away unlike Houston. However, if she attends LSU, she said they do not offer a two-year master’s program. They only offer a seven-year doctorate program.

“LSU is such a big program though and so hard that I may not get in, and that will lead me to get my master’s in industrial/organizational psychology, which I’m totally fine with,” she said.

Jackson will take the GRE for the first time in two weeks. The application process begins in December for those who want to begin grad school next August.

“I’m going to see how I do on the first GRE test I take and go from there,” she said. “If I don’t do as well as I want, then I still will have time to take it again.”

Jackson said she’s excited about working in the field. “Unlike everyone else, I cannot really get an internship,” she said. “Most internships require a master’s degree, or require you to be in grad school at that moment. So it’s been hard gaining experience, because then you also have the aspect of not being able to shadow someone in my profession due to the confidentiality agreements.”

Jackson said she tried to look for internships in New York this past summer, but learned they were similar to taking a course. One would have to pay to work and live there and still not do psychology research.


Jackson taking notes on the math section in her GRE book. Photo by Kaelyn Sreenan.

“I hate when I tell people that I am a psychology major and they automatically think that I want to counsel people,” she said

Roommate Jane Anne Darken said her friend is always studying for tests. “She is so smart, and is going to do such a good job on the GRE,” she said. “I cannot wait to see where she chooses to go to grad school.”

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