UL Lafayette was the right place for Riley to call home while she earned her degree in psychology.
“It’s sort of a tradition in my family,” she said. “My mom came here, my uncle came here, and my grandparents live here. I’ve been around here my whole life.
“UL Lafayette is small and intimate, and I like the connections here — I didn’t feel that anywhere else,” she said. “I like the small size of classes and campus. It’s nice to come here. I love going to the library and being outside.”
It isn’t just the University’s welcoming atmosphere that Riley enjoys, but her department’s as well.
“The psychology program makes me feel like I can be successful in the future,” she said. “They’re really uplifting and everything I’ve learned I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.”
Studying Industrial Organizational Psychology
Riley will be attending grad school for industrial organizational psychology, a branch of psychology that she started studying here at UL Lafayette.
“I talked to an industrial organizational psychology professor and I got this HR internship. I found out that I think this is something I can succeed in and would enjoy, which is what I long for: enjoying my job,” she said.
“Individuals work more than they do any other thing in their life,” she explained. “They’re at work more than they’re at home. So, I want to take what I learn from psychology and help them enjoy that and just aid them in any way I can.
“I want to help organizations to be successful and help their efficiency and find the best people for organizations that fit their roles,” she said. “Psychology really helps with that because you learn about human behavior and you will learn how those behaviors can be brought into the work field and where they would be most successful in that company.
“When times change, companies need to change with that time,” she said. “It’s important to re-evaluate and do job analysis throughout your time there to make sure that everyone is capable of what’s required of that position.”
Riley takes part in an industrial organization-focused research lab, which looks into discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace.
“We’re seeing how that discrimination affects their stress, if they feel comfortable with the company, and how long they would stay there,” she said. “We’re looking at anticipated discrimination versus experienced discrimination and how that plays a role.
“The results of the first study came back significant,” she said, “and we’re looking at demographics specifically in this study to see if, for example, you’re African American versus white, or married versus single, and we’re looking at the intersectionality of the data.
“I was interested in it because I am a female and, as a female, we get pregnant and we have to work,” she said. “So, I want to see if that information could be passed to employers to show that there is still discrimination, even though there are laws in place. Just to make them knowledgeable that this is still happening and that shouldn’t be done.
“You learn so much about yourself and others,” she said. “This major has helped me and helped me help others. I’m forever grateful for that. It made me realize some things about how I acted and how other people acted and to be respectful of everyone’s behaviors. We’re all human and everyone works differently. It’s a good program to understand how to work with other people.”