Class of 2017: Meet Rick Greatbatch (Psychology)

By Heather Cass
Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communications,  Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2017 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Rick Greatbatch:

Rick Greatbatch - first choice - snow edited out

Major: Psychology, Human Factors option

Hometown: Buffalo

On choosing to major in Psychology: Initially I wanted to be a clinical psychologist and work directly with people, but after taking a class in human factors, I realized I could merge my passion for cars and psychology in a career that would be perfect for me.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: When I found out that I was accepted into two different Ph. D. programs, Behrend and the faculty members here truly gave me the experiences and knowledge I needed to take the next step in my career.

Campus involvement: I was active in the Psychology Club where I served as both vice president and president. I am also a member of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society for psychology.

Breaking the mold: I’m a tall, large-framed individual with tattoos and people are often surprised when I say that I’m going to graduate school and hope to earn a Ph. D. I don’t fit the mold most people have in their mind of a person pursuing advanced degrees.

Who inspires him: I’m most inspired by both of my grandfathers, but for different reasons. One of my grandfathers was a jack of all trades. He could do everything and anything with his hands, from carpentry to masonry to plumbing to engine repair. I learned so much from him. My other grandfather invented the cardiac implantable pacemaker and always urged his grandchildren to get an education. It took me a few years and a few learning experiences to finally heed his advice, but I’m glad I finally did. I’m inspired by both of their strengths. I not only want to have the mechanical abilities, but the knowledge behind what I am doing as well.

Advice for first-year students: I started college at the age of 23. If I could go back and give my 18-year-old self a little advice, it would be to always move forward. Regardless of what you are doing and even if you’re unsure or if you fail at something, just keep moving forward. Eventually, you’ll find out what you are good at and the pieces will all fall into place for you.

Following his graduation in May, Rick will be attending graduate school. He hopes someday to find work in the automotive industry as a human factors psychologist.

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