Matthew Johnson, son of CHS Employee Jennifer Johnson, was a recipient of a Larsen Cooperative scholarship back in 2010. After graduating from Iola-Scandinavia, he attended UW Oshkosh for five years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in business administration, graduating summa cum laude (“with highest honor”) in the spring of 2015. His honors thesis from UW Oshkosh was entitled “Reaping the Benefits of Meaningful Work.” With this senior research project, he found that people who consider their work to be meaningful (i.e., purposeful and fulfilling) experience work as energizing and inspiring, and that these experiences at work can spill over into non-work life, thereby enriching life as a whole. The project was published in the fall of 2016 in a scientific journal called Stress and Health.
Once he graduated from UW Oshkosh, he was accepted to Central Michigan University (CMU) in 2015 for their graduate program in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology. With a scientific focus on workplace phenomena, I-O psychology applies the theories and methods of psychology to benefit individual employees, work teams, and entire organizations. For example, how can organizations identify the best candidates for a given job? How can they predict who will perform the job effectively? How can employers help their employees manage work-related stress and prevent the adverse physical and mental health issues that come with it? These are only a few of the questions addressed by I-O psychologists. A few relevant projects that Matt has worked on in grad school include the development of job interview questions, development of an organizational culture assessment, and development of questions for a mobile-phone based selection test for prospective call center employees.
Now entering his third year as a doctoral candidate at CMU, Matt is hard at work on his master’s thesis, studying for comprehensive exams, preparing to teach his first online class, and working on various other projects. His master’s thesis, another independent research project, investigates job crafting. Job crafting is the various ways that employees customize their jobs to better suit their abilities, needs, and preferences.
Once he completes the doctoral program at CMU, Matt hopes to begin a career as an organizational consultant, helping organizations develop systems and tools to identify the best job candidates, hire them, and develop them into outstanding employees.
When asked about the Larsen Scholarship, Matt said, “It was very helpful in getting me started as an undergraduate student. When companies like Larsen give scholarships to young people just starting college, they’re making an investment in those students, an investment in our workforce, and investment in the future of our country.”
CHS Larsen Cooperative encourages their patrons to share this scholarship opportunity with graduating seniors and students already in college. For more information on their scholarship program click here. Students can apply right online; applications are due March 15, 2018.