Dear Organizational Psychology MA Students,
Happy December greetings to you all. I hope the run-up to the end of the semester has been treating you gently. I know this is a hectic time for everyone given the myriad demands of school, work, family and often holiday celebrations and upcoming travel. I hope you are feeling held in the TC community (I love those TC-sponsored study breaks with the free coffee) and I hope you are feeling the encouragement and support of the Social-Org Psych faculty, staff and your fellow students. We are cheering you on to the finish line!
I have been grateful to be a part of our diverse, thoughtful and dynamic academic community during these sometimes bewildering and often angering and painful times in our shared world. The attack on higher education via the new United States tax bill, pervasive and longstanding sexual harassment in the workplace, the unceasing evidence of the erosion of our earth's sustainability, the horror of our civilians being equipped with machine guns, and our continued, collective obsession with creating and demonizing "the other" - just the news of the day frequently overwhelms me. I find solace, inspiration, and hope in our Social-Organizational Psychology Community where we think, study, interrogate, search for and create ways to understand these issues as well as strategies to address them. For the past several weeks I have had many discussions with TC students, faculty, and alumni about the group dynamics of sexual harassment and assault at work and how we can use what we know to continue to interrupt, disrupt, and stop it. It helps.
I hope the winter break gives you many moments to refresh and renew, to enjoy the company of those you love best, and to do whatever fills you with joy, love and peace. You have earned it. I look forward to continuing to work and learn together in 2018. Happy holidays!
Sarah Brazaitis, Ph.D.
Current Student Profile
China Hoffman is a part-time student who commutes to TC from Park Slope, Brooklyn. This semester, she's also interning at RiseBoro Community Partnership in Bushwick, a large social services organization that works towards "holistic community revitalization" through a range of services including job placement, building affordable housing, senior centers, youth after-school programs and much, much more. China has spent most of her time there developing a strategy for staff development and training, and she has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to apply classroom theory in the real world. She'd like to work in the non-profit sector after graduation.
When China isn't working, she's usually hanging out with her kids, cooking something, or reading a novel (Currently reading: The Animators, by Kayla Rae Whitaker).
Yaron Prywes, Ph.D. is a Coaching Psychologist with 10+ years experience specializing in inclusion and innovation.
In 2016, he coached 75 leaders from 30 organizations, and logged nearly 500 coaching hours. Further, he has 18 years of teaching experience, including programs at NASA and the UN, and teaching in the Social-Organizational Psychology Program at Teachers College. He is also an award-winning published author on leadership development, coaching, and other OD topics.
On a personal note, Yaron is also an avid hiker. He has climbed a different national US park every year since 1998. Last year for his 40th birthday he completed a 40 mile trek in Alaska's Denali National Park.
Chaveso 'Chevy' Cook is a 2013 MA graduate who is currently an Army Officer working in Psychological Operations at Fort Bragg, NC. He is an Operations Director for a battalion level organization specializing in the African continent seeking to amplify African solutions for African challenges. His unit deploys special operations teams of high performing soldiers and civilians who work to persuade foreign audiences to respect the rule of law, protect minority rights, provide services for their people, and secure their borders.
Chevy values his TC education tremendously. Earlier this year he completed a deployment that took him to Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, U.A.E., Kuwait and Tajikistan. He says that his understanding of group dynamics was invaluable in key leader meetings, work groups and exercises as he and his teams work through hands-on engagements with host nation leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and citizens. He actively uses skills learned in executive coaching when advising and assisting NGOs, local militaries and other partner forces. He's been able to help members of his team understand that changing behavior requires an understanding of both the environment and the people, never missing an opportunity to quote Kurt Lewin. In his spare time Chevy enjoys working out with his wife, Ashley (who is also his personal trainer), and listening to violin concerts courtesy of his 8-year-old daughter, London.
If you'd like to connect with Chevy, feel free to do so via LinkedIn.
Sometimes those we love best drive us crazy.
Here is a suggested antidote: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/well/mind/how-to-be-mindful-with-your-in-laws.html
Relatedly, here is a rationale to take a break from too much togetherness at home or at work: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/03/the-virtues-of-isolation/521100/