Alumni Spotlight

Daniel Neverisky ​’11
Graduate Student Researcher
UC Irvine

Major: Psychology

Activities: Psi Chi, Psychology Club, PARIVAR

What first attracted you to Whittier College: I was initially attracted by the small class sizes and low student-to-faculty ratio.  I correctly assumed that these numbers indicated an environment in which students were more able to connect with their professors as individuals and cultivate more meaningful relationships within the classroom.

Why did you choose to study psychology? My primary focus was within psychobiology and neuroscience.  I was enticed by these fields as I saw them as a complex and beautiful intersection of molecular biology and human emotion and cognition. The idea that our entire experience, as thinking and feeling beings, could be drastically altered by something as mechanical as a point mutation in a single gene was particularly enlightening.

Describe your experience at Whittier College. What was your favorite class? I am very thankful for the research opportunities that were available to me at Whittier. At the start of my sophomore year, I was invited by Professor David Volckmann to collaborate on his research on emotional imagery, covert attention, and verbal memory. Although I did not know it at the time, this personal invitation from Professor Volckmann wound up being the spark that would set me on a lifelong pursuit of research.

What was your first job after Whittier? What are you currently up to? How has your Whittier education benefitted you professionally? Forty eight hours after graduation, I began my first day as an intern at UC Irvine. I worked here for several months in an unpaid position, studying the Neuropeptide S receptor (NPSR) and gained immensely valuable experience working at the bench. This position ultimately turned into my first post-college employment, and I continued working as a tech within the lab for another year. This time allowed me to reflect on my goals and realize my consistent passion for interdisciplinary research.  I built upon these realizations and applied to graduate school in several different fields. In 2012, I accepted an offer from the UC Irvine Pharmacology program, and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. focused in cardiovascular electrophysiology in the Abbott lab.

What advice would you give to future psychology alumni when they graduate? Maximize your exposure to the world within and beyond your home institution. Cultivate personal connections across many fields – networking is critical. Take a hard look at the jobs you want to land and work backwards from these endpoints to determine your strategy for the present. What if you really like neuroimaging, and it turns out that many neuroimaging job posts want someone who can also program? No problem - you’ve already thought this out and signed up for several semesters of computer science before you graduated!

Finish this sentence: I am a ‘Poet for Life’ because… I still have my favorite Whittier College t-shirt (“Class of 20011” [sic]). 

-Are you a graduate of the Department of Psychology and want to share your story? Contact the Office of Communications at