Survey Certificate Program Offers Useful Tools Across all Disciplines

Asking the right questions is one of the key things Sandra Montenegro has taken from the Survey Certificate Program offered by the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs.

The I/O psychology master’s student is studying ways to mitigate the emotional toll of bi-vocational church ministers. Often that stress stems from clergy switching between roles of pastor, boss and counselor, she explained. Montenegro was intrigued by the topic but confounded by how to quantify an intangible feeling like stress.

The Survey Certificate Program answered that need by leading Montenegro through courses that taught her how to design surveys and the theory behind survey methods. Montenegro has not only applied her newfound knowledge from the certificate program to her research and practice, but also created networking opportunities and learned from different interdisciplinary studies.

Working with students from different areas of study brought its challenges; Montenegro said it felt at time like they were speaking different languages. But it also introduced her to different viewpoints.

“It’s about creating a balance,” Montenegro said. “You want to give the (collaboration) team your expertise but you also want to adapt to a discipline that is not yours.”

Montenegro intends to apply the certificate to further expand her professional skills.

“The certificate is really applicable to anything that I want to do. Surveys apply to all areas of I/O psychology in industry, government or research. It’s like a tool that is always there, ready to be used at any given time,” Montenegro said. “The certificate teaches teamwork and leadership development in different aspects that you may not be able to practice in your own department because it is interdisciplinary.”

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