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Amber Stark

Member Spotlight: Sy Islam, PhD

Position/Employer: Associate Professor of Psychology, Farmingdale State College; Vice President of Consulting, Talent Metrics Consulting

Interest area(s): Training and Development, Social Media in Hiring, Qualitative Analysis

What sparked your interest in I-O psychology?
I became interested in I-O psychology after taking my first MBA course in Organizational Behavior taught by an I-O psychologist. After that initial course, I did a dual degree (MBA-HR management and MA-IO) and really enjoyed the use of data to make decisions about human capital. It made me feel like I was the general manager of a sports team.

What role do you see I-O psychology playing in the future of work?
I-O psychology has the ability to change the way we work for the better. We can make healthier workplaces in the future using our knowledge of human behavior. Beyond just serving the owners of companies we can help organizations become more diverse, fairer places where employees can thrive. We just need to be given the room in which to apply what we know of our science. I see a future where that is a distinct possibility.

Which of the Top 10 Work Trends for 2021 do you most strongly relate to and how can I-O psychology practitioners, educators, and students impact this trend?
As a professor and training facilitator, I strongly relate to virtual learning. Our future will involve some type of innovations in virtual learning and the experience of the pandemic will help us think of virtual learning in new and unique ways.

How long have you been a SIOP member?
I started as a student member in 2007.

What roles have you had within SIOP?
I have served on the APS Program committee for SIOP handling the social media postings and platforms related to SIOP’s presence at the APS conference. I am currently on the SIOP Education & Training Committee, serving on a subcommittee related to collaboration between online and brick & mortar I-O psychology programs.

What is one of your favorite SIOP Annual Conference memories/highlights?
My SIOP Annual Conference highlight would be a session on qualitative analysis using computer assisted tools. This was a special session for me because one of my favorite mentors, Dr. Bernie Gorman, was the discussant on the session. Dr. Gorman is a clinical psychologist who has been teaching in the Hofstra University Applied Organizational Psychology PhD program for many years. His appearance at this session was his first SIOP experience. It was a lot of fun to present with one of my mentors and watch him share his wisdom with the SIOP audience.

What advice would you give to students or early practitioners?
My advice to students is to learn both statistics and research methodology. The research methodology is what will set you apart from other corporate HR professionals. Be comfortable with failure when it comes to statistics. That’s normal and a part of the learning process.

For early career practitioners, I would recommend trying many different tasks and activities in I-O and seeing what you enjoy the most. Focus on developing your interpersonal and influence skills. Those will help you the most in the long run.

Please share one non-I-O-related bit of information about yourself.
The only thing that Bruce Springsteen and I have in common is that we’re both from New Jersey.

If you would like to be considered for a Member Spotlight, or if you would like to recommend a SIOP member for a Spotlight, please email astark@siop.org.

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