I did my undergraduate degree in Redeemer University College. There I started taking business and economics. After my first year, I made the change to psychology as a major and finished my degree with an Honors B.A in Psychology with a minor in business. I started looking at some graduate school opportunities and I became aware of the field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology which merged my interests in both psychology and business. So I decided to pursue that, completing a masters and PhD. at the University of Guelph.
What is the most interesting place/event/moment that your research/career has led you to?
Probably the most interesting is in my 2nd or 3rd year here at McMaster. I was asked to provide commentary as part of a CTV news report related to workplace health and safety, one of my main areas of research. When entering academia, I had – perhaps naively – not imagined that this could put me in front of a news camera, which is not my comfort zone. As a stumbled my way through the interviewing It made me appreciate those that do that work well. And, mercifully, they were able to use a 10-second clip from the interview that was reasonably coherent.
Why academia? What led you to teach?
While I was in graduate school, I had the opportunity to do research and teach a couple of classes. I ended up loving both, so then it became obvious to me that a job where I was able to both teach and do research would be a good fit.
What is the first thing your students learn about you that isn’t in your academic bio?
A couple of things: First, I share that I’m married and have four children. I try not to inundate them with pictures and stories—although I usually share a couple in the first class. Second, I also humbly admit that I’m a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. So there’s the balance between pride and humility. I also share a couple of my hobbies and interests: I enjoy fly fishing and have come to enjoy birding (aka bird-watching), which for most university-aged students – and perhaps many others as well – is a rather geeky thing.
What excites you about your current research interests?
I’m involved in a number of different projects right now. One project is looking at how employees respond to acts of aggression from customers. Another one is looking at implicit attitudes toward money and how that influences how people are motivated by and make decisions related to compensation at work. The subject matter is certainly interesting to me but I think what excites me the most is that both of these projects—as well as other projects that I’m working on right now— significantly involve students; undergraduate and graduate students are very much driving the research and their passion and commitment is infectious and exciting to me.
Aaron Schat’s research interests are in the areas of work-related stress, health, and safety and his primary expertise is in the study of workplace aggression. His recent research involves investigating the nature and prevalence of workers’ exposure to workplace aggression and examining the antecedents and consequences of exposure to workplace aggression.