Alumni Profile Hooman Salavati

BA Psychology Major '22, Simon Fraser University
Master of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University (2023-Present)
Connect with Hooman on LinkedIn here

1.      Where do you currently work and what is your position? 

I am currently in the first year of my Master of Social Work program at Wilfrid Laurier University! My goal is to become a registered social worker and work with immigrant families, mainly within the context of counseling. I’m also driven by a personal mission: to use social work as a tool to advocate for the rights of the Kurdish Diaspora living around the world.

2. Why did you decide to study psychology?

My academic journey at SFU began in the Computing Science department. However, that path was short-lived, as I soon discovered a deeper passion for psychology. Transitioning into the captivating realm of psychology has proven to be immensely fulfilling, enriching both my personal and professional inspirations. Opting to pursue psychology was undoubtedly the highlight of my early university experience, setting me on a path aligned with my true interests and aspirations.

3. What were your favourite courses / who were your favourite professors at SFU psychology? 

Without a doubt, my favorite course has to be PSYC 491 - Sport Psychology, taught by the legendary Dr. David Cox. His unparalleled enthusiasm for teaching and his genuine connection with students was truly awe-inspiring. What made the experience even more extraordinary was the opportunity to interact with a diverse array of professional athletes and coaches throughout the course, adding a dynamic and real-world dimension to our learning journey.

4. What did you originally plan to do with your degree in psychology during your undergrad, if you had any ideas at that time? Is that different than what you do now? If so, how?

The transition to pursuing social work occurred relatively late in my psychology degree, largely due to the countless career pathways available within psychology. Initially, I envisioned myself delving into either clinical or school psychology. However, it was the emphasis on advocacy and social justice inherent in social work that truly captured my attention and propelled me towards pursuing an MSW.

5. How did your time at SFU change you and influence your career?

While my journey at SFU presented its fair share of challenges, it was also filled with remarkable experiences and opportunities that have shaped who I am as a person today. One particularly impactful experience was my volunteer work at the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Lab (ADDL), where I had the privilege of collaborating under the guidance of Dr. Grace Iarocci and Dr. Vanessa Fong. This hands-on involvement had a profound influence on my aspirations within the field of psychology, reshaping my vision for my future career and refining the goals I had set for myself.

6. What advice would you give to students that you wish you knew in your undergrad? / What was important to you then and what’s important now?

One of the most pivotal lessons I learned during my undergraduate years was the value of embracing new experiences and remaining open to change. While it's tempting to fixate solely on long-term goals, I discovered the importance of slowing down and appreciating the significance of smaller steps along the way. Celebrating these incremental victories not only fosters self-appreciation but also helps set higher goals for yourself.

I also learned the power of building connections with people around me. Despite any initial hesitations or apprehensions, reaching out to peers and mentors—regardless of their academic stage—proved invaluable. This collective camaraderie underscores the reality that we are all part of a shared journey, bound together by a collective aspiration to achieve our goals and support one another along the way.