ASU psychology alumna energizes Washington, D.C.

By

Robert Ewing

Making a difference is a shared goal among Arizona State University graduates. Many choose to pursue careers in the private sector and donate their time on the side, while others work in the nonprofit sector or for the government.

In fact, millennials increasingly value the culture of a company and careers that change the world over just working to acquire money and possessions. In a Cone Communications report, 70 percent of respondents reported they would sacrifice pay to work in an environment that fosters caring about others and facilitates an attitude of social and environmental accountability.

ASU's Department of Psychology graduates experience first-hand what it means to change the world they live in while earning their degree. From the research done at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, to the Child Study Lab, to the intervention work performed through the REACH Institute, or the ongoing RISE mentorship program at Red Mountain High School, the research ongoing in the psychology department directly affects the community.

One ASU alumna has taken making a difference to a new venue: Jordan Hibbs, a 2014 graduate from psychology and Barrett, the Honor’s College, serves as a Presidential Management Fellow in Washington, D.C.

The Presidential Management Fellows program is a highly selective and prestigious two-year training and development program at a U.S. government agency for U.S. citizens with a recent graduate degree. At the conclusion of the program, the fellow might be placed in a federal agency as a permanent employee. Notable alumni from the program include Oregon’s sitting U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.

Hibbs currently works as a management and program analyst for the United States Department of Energy. Her long-term goal is to stay within the department to help the general public through policy changes. She currently works with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in their Building Technologies office. Her focus is on efficiency in commercial buildings and advancing energy-efficiency solutions and technologies to help U.S. businesses save energy, time and money.

“Understanding human behavior has always been an influence in everything I’ve done,” Hibbs said. “It was the main reason I was passionate about psychology and it is a driving factor why I applied to the fellows program. The energy technology space has a lot to do with people, in more ways than many think.”

While she was an undergraduate at ASU, Hibbs also worked with Gene Brewer, associate professor of psychology, as the manager of Brewer’s Memory and Attention Control Lab.

“I recruited Jordan to manage my laboratory and contribute to my research program because she is an incredibly hard-working and intelligent young woman with all of the potential in the world. In many ways, Jordan left my laboratory in better shape than she found it,” Brewer said. 

Hibbs said her success at placing data in context comes from her days working with Brewer. She credits the statistical training she received there for her ability to discern trends in information and problem solve for people.

“Human behavior should always be considered for every policy or decision. The psychology department at ASU taught me the importance of understanding what people really need to thrive,” Hibbs said.