Meet a Psychology Spartan: Edward Witt

October 5, 2022 - Shelly DeJong

Close up of Edward Witt looking at cameraEdward Witt earned a Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology in 2011 after having been an undergraduate psychology student at Michigan State University. During his time at MSU, Edward worked in many different areas, but his main interest was in psychometrics and the measurement of maladaptive personality traits. Now as a manager on the Health Analytics, Research, and Reporting team for Walgreens, Edward can see how beneficial his time at MSU really was.


What are you currently up to? What do you love about it?

Currently, I work as a manager on the Health Analytics, Research, and Reporting team for Walgreens. We work on outcomes studies and internal initiatives aimed at evaluating and improving Walgreens’ programs and services for patients. I love the job because Walgreens has a large footprint and the work that we do has the potential to immediately positively affect a large number of people's lives.

Most issues in pharmacy are human issues (financial concerns, forgetfulness, anxiety, etc.), so work in psychology is helpful for understanding the patient's experience. Also, the training at MSU, especially in methods, has helped me immensely in my applied work.

Was there someone at MSU who had an impact on you?

The biggest impact was my advisor, Brent Donnellan . Brent's approach to research, his ethics, and his drive were incredibly motivating to me and provided a template that I still aspire to.

I think fondly about the students and faculty that I got to know in my time at MSU. I found the department to be very supportive and diverse. I was exposed to different perspectives in my graduate work and that has helped me in my academic and applied work after graduate school.

What makes you proud to be an MSU Social Scientist?

Having been in an applied environment for some time, I am proud that I came from a world-class research institution, especially regarding training in methods and statistics. I opted for the Quantitative Methods and Evaluation Sciences (QMES) specialization, and it has opened a lot of doors for me. I do not think I fully appreciated how many opportunities I had to learn from true experts in these areas while at MSU. Now that I have been on the other side trying to recruit people for my own research team, it has become clear to me that many graduate schools do not provide a level of training in methods and statistics that even comes close to what you can get at MSU just by knocking on a few people's doors.

What impact has the psychology department had on your life?

Is it cliche to say it has been everything? I seriously cannot and do not want to imagine where I would be if I had gone to one of the other schools I applied to. I think my career path would have been very different and as I said, I am very happy with where I am now.

Advice to current MSU psych students?

I found that graduate school at MSU was really what you make of it. You can keep the experience small - stay in your office and only talk to your own lab members and advisor. That is totally fine. But you are surrounded by some of the brightest, smartest, and kindest faculty and students out there. So, make the most of it. Get to know them, what they know, and what they are passionate about. You have no idea how helpful those experiences can be for you in your life beyond graduate school. Also, take copious walks by the red cedar. It's one of the fringe benefits of campus that I miss most now that I am not there.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Go Green!