Bellevue University Alum Will Pursue Doctorate in Psychology at Top Tier Research Institution
Bellevue University alum Jeff Sherwood’s higher education journey wasn’t always linear.
After graduating from high school in 2007, Sherwood went to Dana College to play soccer on an athletic scholarship. He originally wanted to join the police force, but after losing his scholarship because of a knee injury, Sherwood decided to move back home to Omaha. There, he started working different jobs and trying to figure out what he wanted to do for a career. After a short stint in Pittsburgh, he decided he wanted to go back to school.
“After I returned to Omaha, I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to study,” Sherwood said. “I ended up choosing Bellevue University to study psychology because it was something that I always really loved and was interested in.”
After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2019, Sherwood enrolled in Bellevue University's Industrial-Organizational Psychology Degree program. He received his Master of Science last year.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Sherwood said having the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Jerome Lewis, Assistant Professor of Psychology, helped him decide on his career path.
“I got to work in Professor Lewis’ research lab and that’s when I discovered what type of research I loved to do,” Sherwood said.
The Victim Role Research Group (VRRG), which was started by Dr. Lewis in 2018, is the official name of the psychological research lab.
“The lab is focused on research examining the victim role as a social construct,” Lewis said. “The lab studies how individual differences in moral and political values influence reactions to victims.”
Since 2018, Dr. Lewis has had eight Bellevue University undergraduate or graduate research assistants, six of whom have presented findings at regional or international conferences based on their research. Currently, two of Lewis’ research assistants, one being Sherwood, have co-authored research papers with him which are under review in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Sherwood said the experience of co-authoring a research paper was extremely rewarding for him and helped him decide to continue his education journey.
“I still have a lot I want to research, so I decided to pursue my doctorate,” Sherwood said.
He will continue his education journey at the University of Southern Mississippi — a R1 (a top tier research institution, according to Carnegie Mellon University’s rating system) university.
“Jeff’s success demonstrates that Bellevue University can produce elite-level undergraduate and graduate students,” Dr. Lewis said.
Sherwood said going to Bellevue University is what changed his career trajectory and it’s unlikely he would have even considered pursuing a Ph.D. if he hadn’t enrolled in the University’s program.
“I really liked that there was a diverse group of students,” Sherwood said. “In some classes, there were students older than me, and in other classes, I was the older student. It introduced me to a diverse background of ideas because, typically, a diverse student body can mean better discussions since there are so many different life experiences.”
Looking to the future, Sherwood is excited to start working on his Ph.D., he said.
“Once I complete my Ph.D, I'm hoping I have an opportunity to work for a university as a professor,” Sherwood said. “Someplace where I can continue doing research.”