Tara Tysak: At the Crossroads of Psychology and Business
James Duffy

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime. That's about 30 percent of their entire lives. How someone feels about their job can certainly have a huge bearing on their quality of life.

Temple University Psychology graduating senior Tara Tysak realized early on the potential impacts that work experiences have on people, both positive and negative. She's made it her goal to help individuals "live a better work life." That goal "and generally wanting to understand human behavior as best I can" is what drew her to "Industrial Psychology," she said.   

"It was my desire to help other people. I am most interested in psychology within the workplace and organizations," she said. "Industrial psychology is, generally, a cross between psychology and business. It focuses primarily on human resources — hiring managers, personnel, onboarding recruitment and maximizing efficiency across the workplace and for all of the people within an organization."

How someone is affected by their time at work impacts every other aspect of their lives, Tysak said. 

"I think that working in industrial psychology will allow me to help people best enjoy their time spent at work," she said. "No matter the career, we all spend a huge percentage of our time at work. It's important to maximize everyone's efficiency and productivity while also increasing their enjoyment and satisfaction in the workplace."

Tysak said the road to Temple University to pursue her career goals was an easy path to take.  

"I chose Temple in part because both of my brothers went to Temple — it's part of our family. I love the location; I love all of the programs. Everything that Temple stands for, I do too," she said. "I chose Temple Ambler because I wanted to commute from home — the campus is beautiful and a truly great place to learn. I feel like the Ambler Campus provides a genuinely personalized experience. When you go there, you get to know the professors, the staff, your fellow students. It's a close, tight-knit community, which is what I love most about it — you can't say that about most other colleges."

Taking classes at both Temple Ambler and Main Campus, "you get the best of both worlds," Tysak said.  

"I can really mix and match my schedule," she said. "There are different classes at each campus so I get to decide what I'd like to take and where. I've been able to personalize my experience, which has given me the opportunity to pursue internships, to study abroad and to explore other career experiences."

Building on her psychology major, Tysak added an Adult and Organization Development minor as a "compliment to my human resources coursework."

"Adult and Organization Development focuses on how to train and educate adults. I knew those would be important skills to have in human resources," she said. "I was also able to intern in the human resources department at the YMCA - Bucks County. I got to work on so many different aspects of HR through the internship — recruitment, onboarding, job descriptions, auditing, compliance. It was a mix of everything in the field and such a positive experience."

Outside of the classroom, Tysak has also re-started the Temple Ambler Psychology Club.

"I think it's essential to have activities outside the classroom that support what we're learning in our classes. It allows you to explore different aspects of your major that you otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to experience," said Tysak, who was named Ambler Campus Student Leader of the Year by the Office of Student and Campus Life; the Psychology Club received Organization of the Year honors as well. "You can meet new people, network, and gain a better understanding of what you are and are not interested in. I think everyone has been excited to talk to each other, connect, share interests and do some resumé building. Hopefully this club has helped students create connections that will last well beyond our time at Temple."

While her career goals are focused primarily on human resources and helping employees get the most they can out of their time in the workplace, Tysak is heading to West Chester University to pursue her master's degree in Human Resource Management. After she completes the next part of her educational journey, she admits her plans become "a bit unconventional."  

"I'd like to go abroad to Japan for a year or two to teach English and then return to the states and dive right into human resources," she said. "I studied abroad in Japan through Temple and I had such an amazing experience that I want to go back and do some teaching there. I want to stay there a little longer than a few months like I did during my study abroad experience."

With graduation so close now, Tysak said Temple has done an excellent job preparing her for what comes next.

"I've had so many opportunities at Temple for professional development and for connecting with professors and using Owl Connect to connect with other people in my field. I feel I'm definitely ready to go into the workforce — I'm confident I'll succeed with the skills that I've developed," she said. "My Temple experience has been everything I imagined it would be and more. Studying abroad, finishing up my classes, going to Ambler and Main Campus. I'm sad it's coming to an end but I'm really looking forward to seeing what's ahead of me!"

Tysak's advice for students just starting out on the journey she is about to finish is simple — "dive right in."

"Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. There are so many welcoming people at Temple," she said. "Everyone is excited to meet you and get to know you and your goals — they are there to help you achieve them. It's easy to dive right in."

Under the extraordinary circumstances everyone is experiencing today, Tysak fully understands the important roll psychology professionals have to play, she said.

"We need to make these resources like counseling, community services and different ways to help members of our own community more available than they are right now. We'll be able to cope better during these challenging times if people have the right support and the right help to navigate themselves," she said. "Online counseling is a great start; I think that has benefited a lot of people. I think we can and should work on affordability and accessibility for disenfranchised people and communities. I think that would be a great start."