Amber Stark

Member Spotlight: Christy Nittrouer

Name
Christy Nittrouer

Position/Employer
Texas Tech University

How long have you been a SIOP member?
9 years

What roles have you had within SIOP?
Student volunteer (Bridge Builders), scholarship/grant awardee, scholarship/grant awards committees, WIN member, CEMA member, and Disability, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee member

Interest Area(s)
Stigma, disability, allyship, discrimination reduction, incivility, mentorship, identity management, organizational policies

What sparked your interest in I-O psychology?
In retrospect, I-O psychology wound up being an excellent intersection between my research experiences and interest in disability, and stigma more broadly, and my passion for research focused on interpersonal dynamics in the workplace.

What role do you see I-O psychology playing in the future of work?
I have been buoyed from talking to HR professionals and listening to them speak in my class, recently, because they have been discussing how most organizations are completely revamping their approach to HR. As technology is allowing us to be more remote and interconnected, it is becoming more apparent how integral effective people management (HR) is to organizations that thrive and flourish. I see I-O psychology as critical to this revitalization, particularly with our training in research methods and data analysis. These are critical skills right now, as they can be immediately applied in an organization to provide data-driven insight and improve various people management decisions.

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?
(1) Social Justice and (2) Inclusive Practices to Get, Keep, and Grow Talent. I relate to these because, of course, my research is concentrated in these areas, but it is also exciting to see organizational researchers and practitioners really understand the fallout of not managing their commitments to these principles well: Social justice and inclusion researchers are getting outside the echo chamber. Giving employers and employees the ability to be attracted to organizations and work because of a match to their most basic core values and beliefs provides a level of meaning to work that I find incredibly optimistic. As I-O psychologists, we know the meaning that work has in people's lives, and if it is aligned with employees' core values, suddenly a job can become transformed into a vocation. I think the more seriously we take our training, and the rigor with which we focus on and practice our fundamentals (e.g., methods, measurement, analysis), the more indisputable value we bring into organizations, particularly around topics that may still bring some controversy into certain organizations.

What advice would you give to students or early practitioners?
If you are in an I-O PhD program or are on a path leading you toward I-O, follow your passion. Knowledge and skills can be acquired, but passion is extremely difficult to teach or cultivate externally. If you care about what you do, that motivation will keep you on your path, no matter the hurdles.

What is one of your favorite SIOP Annual Conference memories/highlights?
I was lucky in that I came into I-O with a very niche research interest and passion: disability. This meant that even at my very first one or two SIOP conferences, I had the distinct honor of being able to meet and interact with some of my biggest role models in the field from very early on. They have been so supportive, kind, and uplifting to me, as I navigated (and continue to navigate) my academic trajectory. The colleagues we have in I-O are some of the most universally phenomenal human beings I have met in any field.

Please share one non-I-O-related bit of information about yourself
I competed in the national, NCAA triathlon championship on a team in Tuscaloosa, AL, in (early) graduate school. I'm an avid runner.

Is there anything you would like to add?
One of my favorite quotes, that helped me get through graduate school when I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing, is: "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Don't be fearful of new ideas, novelty, or trying new or unconventional approaches—it's how we grow.

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