Alumni Profile: Hannah Palac ’10

Alumni Profile: Hannah Palac ’10
Degree(s): BS Psychology, UW–Madison; MS Biostatistics/Epidemiology, Northwestern University
Current Occupation: Senior Research Statistician at AbbVie

What are some of the benefits of your psychology degree?
My psychology degree prepared me with skills to critically evaluate research, solve problems, and collect, organize, and analyze data which is a necessary skill these days across a variety of careers and positions (even non-statistician/analyst roles). It also taught me how to effectively communicate, which is a great skill to have both professionally and personally.

How did you find your way to your current profession?
While in undergrad, I was drawn to the research side of psychology and got a job as a research coordinator with the Department of Family Medicine at UW as my first job post-college. It was in this role that I used a lot of the skills I learned in the psych stats and research methods/experimental courses. I particularly enjoyed working with data, so after two years as a research coordinator, I decided to go to graduate school to get my MS in biostatistics and epidemiology. Since finishing grad school, I have held various statistician roles in academia, tech, and industry.

What advice would you give to students graduating with a psychology degree?
Before you graduate, be sure to leverage the many resources available to you at UW–ask questions, make connections, get advise from your professors, go to job fairs…the list goes on! Post graduation, be sure to stay open to all possibilities. There are many career options with a degree in psychology and your interests and passions will likely evolve over time. It is alright to change paths.