Rebecca Sheehan

How has being a P&N graduate helped shape your professional success?

I didn't have a career path chosen when I walked onto campus Freshman year - nor when I declared I would major in Psychology. I just knew that I had a keen interest in understanding human behavior - what causes us to act a certain way, and why. The deeper understanding of others and ourselves gained from Duke's Psychology Major is applicable in nearly any career field - not just in careers in Psychology and Psychiatry. I chose to apply it to journalism. In my job as a local TV reporter, I choose stories that are newsworthy and impactful to the community. When interviewing subjects, who range from CEO's and government leaders to society's most destitute, I utilize my knowledge of Psychology to help them feel at ease on camera, and it helps me strategically ask provocative questions that elicit the most interesting responses. Most television journalists seem to be graduates of journalism-specific schools or programs; a background in Psychology provides a unique edge and perspective.

What advice would you give students in Psychology?

Retain as much classroom knowledge as you can! What you'll learn as a Psychology Major will be invaluable in many aspects of life for years to come - no matter which career path you ultimately choose.

Rebecca Sheehan
Year & Degree: 
2009, BA Psychology
Professional Title: 
TV Reporter
Employer: 
KSDK-TV, St. Louis, MO