Program Alumni Information

The Alumni Council of the Department of Psychology is comprised of PhD alumni from our graduate training programs, each of whom has (very successfully) pursued a non-academic career path. These alums have agreed to make themselves available to graduate students in our programs who would like to learn more about non-academic careers. They represent a wide variety of different business environments and a great deal of knowledge and wisdom about professional life outside of academia. If you are interested, you should contact any individual on the council to learn about “real life.” What is it like to work in a business environment? How do they utilize their training from graduate school? What adjustments did they need to make? How did they find out about their options outside of academics? What additional experiences and courses did they take to better prepare themselves for a non-academic career?

Clarese Astrin

Program: Cognitive Psychology, 2002
Current position: Director, Division of Research, Strategic Marketing Group, Office of Communications, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Career experiences:

I’ve been working in health communication and health program evaluation research for 15 years. My early focus was on evaluating statewide tobacco control and cessation programs and developing and delivering training to aid Federally funded substance abuse programs in developing and conducting program evaluations. From there, I began working with a small communications firm, conducting research to assist with the development of outreach and education campaigns for a number of health-related Federal programs and initiatives. I began working as a social science research analyst for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2010, where I became the market research lead for the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. My team and I were responsible for conducting all of the consumer research associated with developing and improving all outward-facing products associated with the Health Insurance Marketplace, including the mass media campaign, education and outreach materials, and the website,

 I became the director of the Division of Research in 2015. Our Division is responsible for conducting market research to support outreach, education, and communications efforts across the Agency. In a typical month, we conduct anywhere from 10-15 different research studies, using various methodologies to help the Agency understand our target audiences and to improve our communications with them. We work in a quick turnaround environment, often having to construct, implement, and report out on a research project within a few short weeks! One of the most challenging, and most important, parts of our work is helping the Agency to translate policy into consumer-friendly information.

Additional Comments:

I think my experience working on an applied research project – the evaluation of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s anti-drug campaign – is what set me apart from other applicants when I started working for an organization that does research for state and federal government agencies after grad school. That experience was also immediately applicable when I began working on state tobacco program evaluation projects. So much of what I learned during my research assistantships at UK translated to the work I was doing professionally.

As a division director in a federal government agency, a very important task for me is hiring. When I’m hiring social science research analysts for open positions in my division, I look for individuals who have made an effort to do more than just what is required to get through a course of study. For example, I’ve found that the most promising candidates are those who have done applied research; participated in internships or fellowships that involve qualitative and/or quantitative research focused on communications, health, or health communications; or have demonstrated through their work that they understand how to turn research findings into actionable recommendations.

Finally, working on research grants helps to give a broader perspective and understanding of what may be expected in the federal arena. Most of our work is implemented via contractors. As a contractor who responded to requests for proposals and as a federal employee who has to write requests for proposals, having had the perspective of working on grant applications at UK gave me a good base for understanding the procurement process.

Stacey Baer

Program: Cognitive Psychology, 1996
Current position: Senior Director, Global Experience Design, Whirlpool Corporation

Career experiences

I have worked for 23 years in the PC industry (IBM/Lenovo) focused primarily on the ThinkPad brand. Over the years, my roles have varied from subject matter expertise (Human Factors, User Experience, Customer Experience, Brand Strategy/Architecture and Naming) to management (People, Projects and Resources).

In my current role as the Senior Director of Global Experience Design at Whirlpool, I manage a team of UX Designers, Graphic Designers, Motion Designers, UX and Design Researchers as well as Craftsmanship Engineers across design studios in the US, China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Italy. We design physical, digital and application products for a number of global and regional brands including Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Gladiator, Hotpoint, Brastemp, Consul, Indesit, Diqua and Royalstar. 

Jamie Baker-Prewitt

Program: Social Psychology, 1991
Current position: Senior Vice President, Director of Decision Sciences, Burke,
Burke, Inc., 500 West 7th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45203
o: 513.684.7663  | m: 859.802.0511

Career Experiences

I was hired by Burke, and well-known marketing research company in Cincinnati, as a senior analyst straight from the UK doctoral program.  An SVP who soon became President and CEO hired me; he had a PhD in social psychology from The Ohio State University, and he liked my focus on data analysis and methods within the program at UK.

My career has involved a broad range of experiences, including teaching in a commercial setting, using knowledge about attitudes and personalities to manage people and to invoke behavior change within an organization, and leveraging the social monitoring construct to adapt to situations to achieve business and development objectives for myself and those I advocate and support.  But the strongest connection between what I have done in my career and what I got from my experience at UK is an understanding of how to conduct sound research, how to analyze the resulting data, and how to interpret data for sound decision making in business.  My focus has been on quantitative research, but qualitative research is in scope as well, and the boundaries between the two are blurring.

Brad Bradshaw

Program: Cognitive, 2003
Current position: Principal, Bradshaw Litigation Consulting, LLC
500 E. 4th Street, Suite 105, Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 800-0804

Career Experiences

My work deals with the intersection of psychology and law. I conduct research (e.g., focus groups) to help attorneys find the most persuasive way to present the evidence. I also prepare witnesses to testify and advise during jury selection. As a small business owner, I can help students (or recent grads) negotiate the obstacles of starting a business.

Nancy Brigham

Program: Social Psychology, 1996
Current position: Senior Vice President, Global Head of Sampling & RoR, Ipsos
Work:, 647-404-9348 (mobile), 647-259-9578 (office)
Home:, 416-524-9986 (mobile)

Career Experiences

As an expert in research strategy and business application, Nancy Brigham has worked across both the client and supplier sides of market research.  Dr. Brigham currently heads Sampling globally for IIS, Ipsos’ online survey operations division, responsible for sampling vision/strategy, design, best practices, quality, and feasibility production across all regions in which Ipsos operates.  She also oversees the global IIS Research on Research group.  Prior to joining Ipsos, she spent 12 years at P&G, where she provided advanced methodological/analytical understanding and business application in diverse research areas, including upstream capability development, consumer insights, quality, and operations.   

Note:  Ipsos is the third largest market research firm in the world, offering full market research services in areas such as Marketing, Media & Advertising, Client and Employee Relationship Management, Opinion and Social Research, and Operations (offline and online).  Ipsos is headquartered in Paris. 

Madeline Campbell

Program: Cognitive Psychology, 1996
Current position: Litigation Consultant, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (to be Womble Bond Dickenson)
(336) 728-7178

Career Experiences

Madeline has a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Kentucky. Before becoming a litigation consultant, Madeline worked in the fields of market research, software usability design and testing, and assessment and evaluation of occupational health and safety training programs. She has a strong background in experimental design and methodology with experience in quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Her scientific background affords a considerable understanding of the complex scientific issues that are central in many types of litigation. She brings clarity to these technical subjects as she assists counsel in identifying relevant scientific themes and selecting strategies to best defend their cases.   Madeline is often called upon for difficult cases that depend on presenting and attacking expert testimony.  She has helped prepare counsel in a wide array of matters, from simple personal injury to complex multi-party civil litigation.  She has consulted with attorneys from varying civil practices, including mass torts, product liability, employment, banking and finance, and medical malpractice to assist in

  • building a compelling story,
  • identifying and preparing the most effective witnesses,
  • identifying and developing the most convincing themes,
  • establishing the best order and context of the evidence,
  • evaluating case risks, and 
  • preparing expert witnesses to testify

Madeline’s experience includes:

  • For 21 consecutive years, Madeline has equipped trial teams in personal injury/wrongful death litigation with scientific and medical resources, assisted in the formulation of scientific defense strategies, and developed cross-examination materials for use with numerous expert witnesses at depositions, evidentiary hearings, and trials.
  • Identifying, developing and consulting with expert witnesses in the fields of psychiatry, psychology and pharmacology, both nationally and internationally including on the subject matters of addiction, mental health claims, capacity and behavior change
  • Supervising and coordinating the production of deposition and trial transcript summaries across various types of litigation
  • Assisted counsel in pharmaceutical litigation in researching claims related to neurotoxicity and consulting with expert witnesses to testify on psychiatric issues related to the use of diet drugs

David Combs

Program: Social, 2010
Current positions:
Day Job: Director of Behavioral Science, Ntrepid
Non-profit: President/Chief Science Officer, Global Center for Refugee Education & Science

Career Experiences

I've had the opportunity to work across the non profit, government (Navy and US Department of State), and private sectors. The highlights of my career have been getting to go through US Naval flight school, being selected as a US Delegate to the Regional Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in Astana, Kazakhstan, and founding my own 501c3 non profit organization to help refugees. 

Richard Onizuka

Program: Clinical, 1986
Current position: Retired, Board member for Qualis Health (, contingent faculty, St Martin's University (will be teaching Introduction to Health Management in the MBA program)
Contact: (email)
(360) 789-0988 (cell)

Career Experiences

Internship at state psychiatric hospital in Colorado.  12 years in private sector in CO (community mental health center, large managed care organization-Kaiser Permanente), 18 years in public sector in Washington State.  Chair of State of CO Psychologist Licensing Board for 8 years.  Helped start three different non profits, two of which are still operating (one in CO now past its 27th year, one within the last 10 years in WA state).  Public sector service included public mental health system (Medicaid), and state health purchasing (for public employees and low income) and health policy (local, state, and national).  Involved in several state health reform efforts, including in evidence based medicine, patient decision aides, quality reporting, health information technology, and delivery system and payment reform.  Served as State Health Information Technology Coordinator for receipt of federal ARRA/HITECH funds.  Last position was as CEO of state's health insurance exchange as result of PPACA (2012 until retired in 2015).  

More information

As a public official (particularly a highly visible one during my time as CEO of the exchange), and participation in many national conferences and organizations (e.g., National Academy of State  Health Policy, National Governor's Association, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) there's a lot of me available on the internet, all you have to do is "google" me.  Of course, you can't control the content, so there's some very interesting stuff from the right that I didn't know about until after I left (one unbeknownst to me took credit for my leaving!).  

Craig Petrun

Program: Cognitive Studies, 1983
Current position: Chief Engineer: Enterprise Strategy and Transformation,  MITRE Corporation
7515 Colshire Drive, McLean VA. 22102.
Office Phone: 703-983-1010
Cell Phone 301-509-2169

Career Experiences

Dr. Craig Petrun is the chief engineer of MITRE’s Enterprise Strategy and Transformation Technical Center.  In his role, Dr. Petrun helps large-scale government programs develop enterprise wide change strategies, implement transition plans, advance organizational communications, and undertake business transformation and enterprise modernization challenges.

Leveraging over 30 years of experience as a strategic change professional, Dr. Petrun has worked across many different public and private organizatoins to address the impact of technology-driven change on their organizations.  His engagements have included work in the areas of organizational strategy, risk assessments, organizational design and restructuring, stakeholder management, change readiness, strategic communications, leadership, learning and executive coaching.

Prior to joining MITRE, Dr. Petrun was an Associate Partner with IBM and a Principal consultant in the Strategic Change Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.   His experience in human dynamics, consulting, organizational change management and industry management give him a broad range of experiences to draw on, and he has become a trusted advisor to many executives in public and private organizations over his career.  His professional experience has been focused on understanding and preparing individuals/organizations for change and driving the development and implementation of new organizational strategies, processes, and technologies, which result in, improved individual/organizational performance.  Dr. Petrun also co-authored the book entitled, Information Leadership: A Government Executive’s Guide and has recently been named as co-inventor on a new MITRE patent called "Decomposing Human Behavior Into Quantified Layers of Perception” (Patent#:US8,069,133 B2).

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