Name: Allison Troy
Current Job Title: Assistant Professor of Psychology
Name of Organization: Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Art, Psychology, N.C. State University
Graduate Degrees: Master of Arts, Psychology, University of Denver
Doctor of Philosophy, Psychology, University of Denver
What does your current position entail?
I teach undergraduate level courses in Introductory Psychology and Personality. I also conduct research on personality, emotion regulation, and coping in collaboration with undergraduate students, as well as working on several independent projects of my own. This means that, at any given point in time, I have lots of different things going on!
How did you get your current position?
The position was announced on a psychology listserv that I was a member of. I submitted all of my application materials online in the Fall, and was contacted for an interview in January. I flew out to Pennsylvania in early February for a two day interview process in which I presented a one hour teaching demo, a one hour research talk, and then had one on one interviews with each of the faculty members in the Department of Psychology.
In relation to graduation, when did you start the job search and when did you secure your position?
I graduated in June of 2012 with the PhD. I started applying for faculty positions in September of 2011. I spent much of the summer of 2011 putting all of my application materials together: the CV, teaching statement, research statement, and asking for letters of recommendation from faculty members at DU. During Fall and Winter of 2011, I applied for approximately 40 assistant professor positions at different schools across the country. I began getting calls for interviews in January, and I received the offer for my current position on February 29, 2012.
In regards to the job search process:
* Did anything surprise you?
I knew that applying for jobs would take a ton of my time. But I still underestimated HOW MUCH of my time it would take. Literally hundreds of hours had to go into preparing materials, submitting materials both online and through the mail, following up with each school to make sure they received everything, and then preparing for phone interviews and in person interviews. Not to mention flying across the country to interview for positions! It really is an extremely tedious and stressful process. But I'd still say it was worth it.
* What recommendations do you have for current students?
Don't go through this process alone! I asked for, and received, a TON of help and support from my advisor and from several other faculty members and grad students at DU. I could not have navigated this process successfully without them. I had several different people provide me with feedback on all of my application materials. I did practice interviews with faculty members to prepare myself. I practiced my job talk in front of a large audience in the Psych Department at DU before I went on my first interview. All of these things provided me with a ton of feedback and helped me go into my interviews with a lot more confidence and polish than I would have had otherwise. Don't be afraid to ask for help!
What's the strangest interview question you were ever asked? How did you respond?
Because I prepped a LOT for potential interview questions with faculty members at DU, I really didn't get any questions on my interviews that I found too surprising. The most common thing I was asked was why I wanted to work at that specific institution. They expected me to have a very well formed answer about how I would fit in to their Department, why I would enjoy working in a particular environment, and what unique strengths I could bring to a specific position. They also wanted to know about specific research projects I would carry out at their institution, if I were hired. Essentially, they wanted to know that I cared about the position, and had put a lot of thought into what I could achieve if hired.
Which aspects of your background have been most helpful in your current position?
Two things: 1. My very rigorous research background, which was developed at DU through coursework and all of the hands on research that I conducted while I was there. I was very lucky to have a very supportive mentor in a lab that was very productive. 2. My teaching experience. I had the opportunity to teach three courses as an instructor while at DU. Without this experience, I wouldn't have been hired for my current job, and I wouldn't have been able to come into this job with so much knowledge about teaching.
If you were in your graduate program again, what would you do differently, if anything?
I have been very lucky. I had a wonderful advisor, I got to conduct research that I love, and I was a member of a lab that I still feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of. I also got to interact with a large number of wonderful DU students. And to top it all off, I ended up with a really great job at the end. So, I can't say I'd change anything!