Dear Students,

You made it to Spring Break. Well done. 

My favorite song about spring’s arrival is “Águas de Março” (Waters of March) by the Brazilian musician, Antônio Carlos Jobim. Susannah McCorkle’s rendering is unforgettable and the one I return to every March.

Her English lyrics are here:

 

A stick, a stone
It's the end of the road
It's feeling alone
It's the weight of your load

It's a sliver of glass
It's life, it's the sun
It's night, it's death
It's a knife, it's a gun

A flower that blooms
A fox in the brush
A knot in the wood
The song of a thrush

The mystery of life
The steps in the hall
The sound of the wind
And the waterfall

It's the moon floating free
It's the curve of the slope
It's an ant, it's a bee
It's a reason for hope

 

And the river bank sings
Of the waters of March
It's the promise of spring
It's the joy in your heart

 

A stick, a stone
It's the end of the road
The stump of a tree
It's a frog, it's a toad

A sigh of breath
A walk, a run
A life, a death
A ray in the sun

And the riverbank sings
Of the waters of march
It's the promise of life
It's the joy in your heart

 

The lyrics always sound like group relations ideas to me. They connect disparate parts into a whole, reminding me that people, groups, organizations, nations, our world – are both good and bad. No one is just one thing. And, one part does not exist without the other. Introverts are related to extraverts. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. Death is a part of life. They remind me that what I wish was not me, not my problem, not my issue, not relevant to me, is, in fact, probably a part of me. They remind me that those times when I am completely confident that someone else is wrong are exactly the moments when I should question my own rightness.

My son, Javier, has told me often how burdened he feels to have two psychologist parents. Frankly, at 15, I think he feels burdened that he has parents at all. Although he knows better than to be downright rude to us, he has made it clear that his father and I are endlessly embarrassing, annoying, uncool, and just overall obnoxious. I find this wearying.

 I had a milestone birthday this year and a karaoke party with family and friends this month to celebrate. Near the end of the evening we served cake and thanked everyone for coming. Unexpectedly, a friend took the mike and gave a lengthy, well-intentioned, somewhat boozy toast, referencing some awkward family dynamics (twice!), and making me quite nervous before finishing up her remarks. Javier then grabbed the mike and gave a toast of his own. He was poised and confident, sweet and funny, and he made me sound like a very good mom. I was stunned and grateful. On our way home after the party Javier paused the music on his phone, pulled off his headphones and said, “You know I didn’t prepare anything in advance, Mom. I wasn’t planning on saying anything. But, I just couldn’t let your big birthday party end on that rambling, weird toast. That wasn’t right.” He winked at me, “I got you, Mom,” and then he put his headphones back on.

It’s the promise of spring.

Wishing all of you a wonderful Spring Break,

Sarah Brazaitis, PhD
MA Program Director

Current Student Profile

Tyler Sharp is a second-year student in the Social-Organizational Psychology M.A. program, with a background in Human Resources Management. Last semester, she served as Kappa Delta Pi's Vice President, ushering in the Honor Society's class of Fall 2018 initiates. Outside of her academic involvement, she is currently completing an HR internship with NBC Entertainment. In her few years of work experience so far, Tyler has had the opportunity to work in several industries, including pharmaceuticals, non-profit, luxury fashion, off-price retail, and most recently, media. The resulting exposure to different company cultures -- some toxic and some healthy -- initially sparked her interest in returning to school to learn more about effective management.

Through Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations program, the Social-Organizational Psychology program at Teachers College, and various internships and externships, Tyler's focus has turned mostly to organizational behavior and diversity. In particular, she was fascinated by the ways in which stereotypes, unconscious biases and microaggressions interact to disparately impact the careers that minorities experience. Her hope in joining this program was to learn about the dynamics driving discriminatory employment practices and behaviors, and to acquire the skills necessary to foster a more equitable and comfortable workplace for employees from marginalized groups.

One thing that Tyler loves about this program is its emphasis on cultural sensitivity and respect for others. There is a real importance placed on the experiences of people from different backgrounds, and how these cultural differences may impact their interactions and understanding of the world. Having participated in a program that acknowledges and celebrates differences, rather than trying to diminish them, has been a refreshing and invaluable experience.

In her final semester, Tyler is focusing on successfully completing her NBC internship NBC and deciding on her next career move. Outside of work and school, she enjoys listening to music and singing. She is a faithful member of the Bee-Hive (Beyoncé's fanbase) and can be found around campus faintly singing Destiny's Child songs.

Alumni Profile

Annie Dickson is a proud 2015 alum of the MA program, and presently works as an HR Business Partner at General Electric (GE). Following graduation, Annie joined GE's HR Leadership Program, where she moved around the US to complete multiple assignments in Organizational and Talent Development and HR client support.

In her present role, Annie partners with the Chief Digital Officer of Current by GE to develop and implement the people strategy for global Digital Product Management and Software Engineering teams. Her work focuses on executive coaching, organizational design, change management, M&A readiness and integration, employee engagement, and workforce planning. Annie loves GE's culture of continuous learning, which has provided life-long mentors and challenged her to push boundaries.

Annie presently lives in Oakland, CA, where she spends most of her time outside of work hiking, drawing, attending yoga class, and enjoying a cold beer with friends and family.

Annie would be delighted to connect - feel free to reach out to her through LinkedIn.