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Student's experience opens world of opportunities

April 19, 2010

Sean Jules is a young man with options, and he’s comfortable with the territory, because he’s travelled the road before.

Upon graduating as a member of the  National Honor Society and in the top one percentile of his Phoenix Thunderbird High School class in 2006, Jules entertained academic scholarship offers from such standout institutions as Harvard, Loyola, USC, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.

He chose ASU and its New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and has never looked back.

“ASU’s academic and interdisciplinary reputation was a big factor for me,” says Jules, who will graduate with a B.S. in psychology this May.  “The presence of Barrett, the Honors College, the proximity of the West campus to my home, and the specialization in psychology I found in New College also played a role in my decision.”

He also received a gentle nudge.  “Several longtime family friends have attended ASU, and they encouraged me to continue what they called their ‘tradition.’”

As he eyes his pending graduation, with summa cum laude honors from Barrett, he has more options to consider, thanks in part to his four-year experience at ASU’s West campus where his undergraduate research opportunities have opened a number of career doors.

“I was delighted to learn that I could work in a research lab here at ASU as an undergraduate, and I constantly see notifications going out about career workshops, internships, graduate school learning sessions and other helpful opportunities.  ASU’s support of academic research and career preparation is very much appreciated.”

The research he is conducting takes place in the Legal Psychology Research Laboratory directed by New College Associate Professor Dawn McQuiston.  Jules and other students are examining how mock jurors interpret and understand different forms of evidence: forensic evidence, expert testimony, confessions and more.  Additionally, he is exploring whether or not differing courtroom presentations of the same type of evidence could result in differing juror interpretations.

His Barrett Honors thesis is an examination of how theories or trends in social psychology can predict how mock jurors will respond to eyewitness testimony.

“My academic experience at ASU has been highlighted by my time in Dr. McQuiston’s lab,” says Jules.  “The work is meaningful and she is an excellent mentor in every conceivable way.  She has given me great advice concerning research opportunities, graduate school and pursuing a career in academia.  I have gained invaluable experimental research and leadership experience during my time as a research assistant and lab manager.”

With that experience and his active participation in the West campus chapter of the Psi Chi international honors society, Jules is currently eyeing three different career opportunities while concurrently planning a continuation of his higher education through a master’s degree and an eventual doctorate.

“I plan to get my Ph.D. in social psychology,” he says.  “Then, I will look at a career as a tenure-track professor at a research-driven university like ASU, or a government position researching social psychology phenomena that affect public policy, or even a private research position examining the influences of various marketing strategies.

“My decision to attend ASU and New College was the right decision.  It has opened so many doors, and the emphasis on academics is real and makes a real difference in your personal career preparation.”