Q&A: Charlotte Notaras '19, Student, Oxford University

Thursday, Apr 4, 2019

Charlotte NotarasCharlotte is a senior concentrating in psychology, and after graduation she'll be pursuing an MSc in evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation at Oxford University.

What inspired you to make this decision?

Coming into Princeton, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I thought I'd study physics, but I ended up switching to psychology (which is still one of the best decisions I've ever made). I learned about social interventions in my social psychology class; the specific paper that sparked my interest was a one-hour intervention with first-generation college students that significantly improved the GPAs and health outcomes of participants four years later.

I was amazed that a small nudge could have such a large impact, so from there, I started learning more about the field of behavioral science. I was fortunate enough to earn an internship on Maritz's Behavioral Science Team last summer where I got to learn more about applying these topics to business and even got to attend my first conference. After taking Education Policy in the fall, I knew I wanted to apply social interventions to help create a more just education system, so pursuing this graduate program seemed like a natural choice.

What are a few experiences that helped you realize this plan was a good first step for you?

I've been working with Kate at [the Center for Career Development] since last year, and she has been amazing throughout this entire process. She helped me narrow down my focus in terms of what I want to pursue after graduation, reviewed my resume and LinkedIn with me and helped me coordinate an internship while I was abroad last spring. Since I'm interested in working for ideas42 (a behavioral science consulting firm) after graduate school, she also suggested I reach out to alumni who work there and told me about the Princeternship trek to their office over spring break. Both opportunities were excellent and allowed me to better understand what it's like to work at the company. 

Could you share a piece of advice for students that might be struggling with choosing a career path?

I recommend talking to as many people as possible and taking advantages of all the resources [the Center for Career Development] has to offer. In my experience, alumni are always happy to talk about how they got to where they are and what they do on a daily basis which is a great way to learn whether a company or career path would be a great fit for you (and less of a time commitment than an internship). 

What are your goals for life after Princeton?

After graduation, I'm planning to travel around the country and visit the national parks with my boyfriend. I'll be working throughout the summer to save up for my MSc program which starts in October. I'm really looking forward to being based in the United Kingdom, especially with all the Brexit turmoil. I'm excited about the opportunity to travel around Europe during my time off from classes.

After completing that program, I'd like to work at a company like ideas42 that utilizes behavioral science for social good via fieldwork research. My long-term goals are to contribute to a more just education system in the United States, live a sustainable lifestyle and save well for an early retirement.