Finding the Right Path
Class of 2014
Majors: psychology, environmental science
Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
For Max Paul, the path to a fulfilling career wasn’t obvious, but his Valpo professors helped him chart a course that played to his interests and strengths.
“My major was undecided for my first two years. I had taken a couple of psychology courses and really valued the skills they taught me, but I knew I didn’t want to go to graduate school in psychology — I’m interested in environmental law. My professors helped me find a way to mesh my interest in the environment with my interest in psychology, and I graduated with a double major in environmental science and psychology.”
Majoring in psychology afforded Max, a native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., ample opportunities to do research and gave him an excellent grasp of statistical methods. He put those skills to good use as a summer intern for the Shirley Heinz Land Trust, where he and another Valpo student assessed the efficacy of a method of ridding two plots of land of invasive species.
“We figured out how to assess the number of invasive plants before and after the treatment,” Max says, “and what I learned about statistical analysis in my psychology courses was invaluable.”
Before he graduated, Max was offered a position with an environmental consulting firm in Detroit. The skills he mastered at Valpo prepared him well for the job market, and he hopes eventually to find a post with a company that will help him finance law school. His personal relationships with Valpo professors have been productive in many ways.
“One thing that really stands out about Valpo is how accessible the faculty is: the professors are easy to approach and happy to help students with coursework, research, or life in general. Faculty advisors really seem always to have the best interests of the student in mind,” Max observes.
“You’re going to be a lot more successful when it’s easy to get the guidance and support needed to complete challenging projects.”