Alumni Spotlight: Michael Wood
Tori Campbell, CSE communication intern
|Michael Wood (’04 MS and ’06 Ph.D.) pursued graduate studies in psychology at TCU after earning his undergraduate degree from Utah State University. As the son of two teachers, he learned the value of education at an early age. Wood was inspired to continue his studies at the graduate level while working in a research lab, leading to his application and acceptance into the College of Science & Engineering’s psychology program.
Currently, Wood works for the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research: Military Psychiatric Branch. He joined the military for the opportunity to expand his knowledge and practice, and found that the Army had the most expansion opportunities. In his current position, he bridges strategic research collaborations between the Water Reed Army Institute of Research: Military Psychiatry Branch and the Army Research Institute. Additionally, he conducts research to guide behavioral health practice in the military as well as responds to the research needs of the III Corps Surgeon.
“My interest is in helping others. Knowing my efforts may enable soldiers to better manage challenges while protecting our country is the reason I do what I do,” Wood said. “I also have a raw interest in adventure, and psychology offers so many areas of unexplored opportunity. Psychological research is an adventure for the knowledge enthusiast.”
Wood conducts research to guide specific military leadership toward behaviors that educate soldiers on the best behavioral health practices. Additionally, Wood is developing research that focuses on updating assessment instruments the military uses to adjust behavioral health resources.
His interest in psychology stems from his father, who was an educational psychologist. Wood’s father taught him the basics of cognitive behavioral therapy, principles he was able to use while serving a faith-based mission in Kingston, Jamaica. While teaching, Wood was exposed to poverty, violence and many physical and social hardships. He discovered that many of his conversations led to the need for psychological help, and helped him realize his interest in helping others through science.
Wood attributes much of his academic success to Mauricio Papini, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, and notes the impact the department had on his graduate studies.
“Dr. Papini was my mentor and he spent hours helping me channel my thoughts and develop critical thinking and writing skills. It is the development of these fundamental skills that enabled me to bridge the very different areas of psychology but still find success,” Wood said. “Additionally, the TCU psychology department as a whole is staffed with some of the best academic minds this world has to offer. Despite this, they maintain an approachable nature and devoted interest in their students. The consummate educator is what I experienced during my time as a graduate student.”
For students interested in pursuing a degree in psychology, Wood advises students to take as many statistics courses as possible, complete the degree with at least one first author publication and publish his or her dissertation.
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