Jennifer Wong, PhD

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Year graduated: 2016 (PhD); 2012 (MSc)

Supervisor: Dr. Kevin Kelloway

Dissertation: Individual Attentional Capacity to Perform Safely: Developing the Workplace Attention Trifactor Scale

Key take-home messages from your dissertation: 

  • A survey measure was developed to capture three aspects of attention based on a psychology theory from cognitive neuroscience research. 

  • This measure has three dimensions - 1) alertness, 2) attending to important stimuli, and 3) staying focused on important stimuli.

  • This measure was validated, in that self-report measures of attention predicted informant-reported measures of safety compliance and participation.

What have you been doing since you graduated?
I have moved to Aotearoa New Zealand to take up a research role in the area of employee wellbeing at the University of Canterbury as part of a research group called Workplace Analytics. I am also a contracted consultant in the workplace safety, wellbeing, and leadership space. As a consultant, I carry out workshop facilitation (for Sentis Australia), coaching, and provide research support on the development of psychological assessment and data management for organizations.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Two things: First, completing the PhD--the hardest thing I've ever done in my life--with the support of all the wonderful faculty, fellow graduate students at the time, and my family. It truly felt like I finished a 6-year marathon. Second, the first time I went on court to deliver a Sentis workshop to a group of senior leaders. It was a turning point; I started to see the value of my doctoral training, the appetite for organizational psychology, and the immediate impact that I can achieve by helping individuals overcome their workplace challenges.

What type of projects are you working on?
I have two main research projects in the pipeline: (1) Character strengths use at work, and (2) COVID-19 demands, supervisory support, and wellbeing in New Zealand. 

Advice:
I have been dabbling into qualitative research, and I find the skills of asking a good question and active listening very valuable for working with organizations, and even in the way I interact with people in my personal life.

Additional thoughts:
I love CNCOHS! Some of my favourite memories from SMU were of my involvement with the centre. It is fantastic that the university and its I-O psychology program have a hub for connecting and working with industry.