Learn all about GWC’s psychology program from Professor Amy Jennings
Hi! What’s your name and what is your background prior to teaching at Golden West College?
Hello! My name is Amy Jennings, and I have been teaching at the college level since 2008. Before that, I worked in Institutional/Educational Research. I have a BA in psychology, an MA in psychological research, and an Ed.D. in higher education/community college leadership.
Once I got into teaching, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. I first worked at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) for 6 years, then another community college for 4 years, and then came to Golden West College (GWC).
Tell us more about what you teach. What are the three most topical modules?
I am starting my fifth year working at GWC in the psychology department. As a psychology professor, I teach the Introductory Psychology, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, and Research Methods in Psychology courses.
The top three topical modules offered in our program are critical thinking skills, quantitative data analysis, and communication skills. All students will benefit from taking our psychology courses!
Tell us more about the hands-on learning opportunities offered to psychology students.
There are many ways for students to get involved in our department and get hands-on experience. Many of our skills-based courses like statistics and research methods give you hands-on experience in working with data and doing research projects.
Many students end up working on extracurricular research projects with our Psychology Honor Society — Psi Beta. These students plan and conduct their own research each spring semester. Many end up presenting their results at professional psychology conferences. We also have an active Psychology Club that has meetings and events. Many in the club share volunteer and internship opportunities.
What are the top three hard and soft skills psychology students develop at Golden West College that make them stand out when they transfer to university?
Psychology students at GWC learn so many skills, it’s hard to choose just three! I would say the top three are communication skills (written and oral), problem-solving/critical thinking/analytical skills, and emotional intelligence (people skills).
Talk to us about Golden West College’s Psychology Club. How does the club enhance students’ learning journey?
As the advisor of our Psychology Club and our Psychology Honor Society Psi Beta, I get the chance to work with outstanding students to provide mentoring, and team building, and help them prepare for life after transfer to psychology. We cover lots of important topics like transferring as a psychology major, degrees in psychology, graduate school in psychology, and careers in psychology.
Our Psychology Club gives students a more complete view of the world of psychology. While most of the time in class is spent reviewing theories and ideas, psychology clubs tend to focus on the practical application of these theories and ideas. This can help students learn more about psychology and students can also learn new skills, attend conferences, and learn about career opportunities and graduate school.
Being in the Psychology Club can also help students build leadership and communication skills through community service and social events. Students can also get to know faculty on a personal level, which helps with letters of recommendation and building an academic vita/resume.
What do you think are some of the best academic facilities offered at Golden West College? Anything specifically for psychology students?
The psychology department faculty and most of the classrooms are located in the new GWC Language Arts Building. The clubs also meet there, and on the first floor, there’s an area where many psychology tutors hold study sessions. It is a great area on campus for psychology students!
What types of academic advising or support services are available to psychology students at Golden West College to ensure they are well-prepared for the demands of university-level coursework?
We are so lucky at GWC to have outstanding counselors who are available to help students with transfer planning, clarifying career and education goals, education planning, and course selection. I highly recommend that students visit a counselor once a semester if they can — or at least once a year.
To keep on track for transferring, I also recommend visiting the transfer center and career centers and attending their events when possible.
For academic assistance, we have an excellent Academic Success Center with tutoring and online modules to help with crucial skills like time management, study skills, and writing styles (like APA-style workshops). Students should take advantage of these resources now to be well-prepared for their courses and GWC and beyond!
Tell us more about the support offerings specifically reserved for international students.
International students at GWC have lots of support! We have an excellent International Student Program that offers academic advising specifically for international students to make sure they are able to get into the right classes and programs.
We offer support with admissions and immigration, lots of campus events and activities, and lots of academic support to help international students be successful.
How would you describe life in Huntington Beach to those who have not been there? In your opinion, what makes it a great place for international students?
Huntington Beach (HB) — and southern California in general — is a great place to live because of its excellent schools and colleges, beautiful weather, and a wide variety of outdoor activities. It is a very safe area with lots to do and see.
We have great weather year-round and have an ideal location close to all the fun things in LA and Orange County. We can spend one day at Disneyland, the next day at the beach, and the following day be in the mountains skiing or snowboarding.
Huntington Beach is known as “Surf City, USA” and hosts some of the major surfing events. People here love to surf, play beach volleyball, or walk/bike along the Ocean path. There are lots of fun shops and restaurants in downtown HB along with the pier. We also have great parks — I really love HB’s Central Park — it has a great nature center and library.
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