Blake Wareham ’13

“My psychology classes were primarily information driven, giving me a solid base of information, but what I benefited from the most was discussing what was relevant and connected between ideas.”

Blake Wareham ’13 researches moral psychology – how people make ethical judgments and how emotional experiences influence decision-making, perceptions and moral identity. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in experimental psychology with an emphasis in social psychology at DePaul University, in Chicago. Looking ahead, Wareham anticipates a career researching and teaching upon graduation. His path is typical at Franklin where nearly half of graduates have a major in health sciences, natural sciences or in social sciences, having gotten their start in the liberal arts environment.

Wareham is focused on learning why people do what they do – and developing the research methods to accurately study and measure their behavior. In his graduate program he tests humans through surveys and hypothetical responses. Currently he and colleagues work together in a lab documenting results published in peer-review scientific journals.Blake Wareham

Wareham started at Franklin intending to study business with a minor in recreation but switched to a major in psychology. He first encountered experimental psychology his junior year and cites the class as introducing him to the research methods he now uses. “The biggest thing is making personal connections. A large component of my work is collaborating with other people – in the lab and also sharing information at conferences. I used to sit in associate professor Kristin Flora’s office and talk about research ideas. Although my ideas weren’t always very good, I learned to discuss them with others and how to develop them.”

Wareham, said his Franklin professors put more time into helping him than he had expected when he arrived as a freshman. “My psychology classes were primarily information driven, giving me a solid base of information, but what I benefited from the most was discussing what was relevant and connected between ideas.”

Small class sizes developed his confidence by helping him fully learn material and giving him space to voice his ideas. Learning how to think critically and write with proficiency as a result of the college’s liberal arts curriculum has facilitated his present research. “I have less weight on my shoulders because of my writing competency. I am comfortable sitting down and synthesizing research through communication not to mention better analyzing what I read and hear.”

“This greater level of self-reflection has also translated into improved interpersonal relationships with colleagues, facilitating teamwork, because I am able to see other perspectives.” Wareham also learned collaborating and teamwork outside of the Franklin College classroom. The small college environment enabled him to balance his participation on the tennis team, Student Foundation, Alpha Society, and PsiChi (psychology honor society) and Phi Delta Theta fraternity. The variety of life experiences he had at Franklin College contributed to both academic and personal growth.

For Wareham, the Franklin College message is that size and personal attention matter. During his time at Franklin, he developed close friendships and learned to be flexible meeting all kinds of people. “In a large school, I may have looked for others just like me – with the same interests and backgrounds. At Franklin, I knew a wider range of kinds of people and contexts – and they knew me. I didn’t just stay in a niche and that was good.”

Wareham urges incoming students to “be open to a diverse range of people and experiences. You may not value them in college but having broad interests will help you become more confident, well-rounded and satisfied in your life.” Wareham lists music history and philosophy classes as introducing him to new ideas he now values in addition to the friendships that arose from those opportunities.

Wareham truly broadened his worldview when he studied in Bangkok, Thailand during his senior year, as part of the college global education program. “Going to Thailand changed my perceptions of people and the world. I was able to take classes two days of the week and fully benefited from both the academic and cultural advantages available to me.”

After graduating from Franklin, Wareham volunteered at a counseling center at Riley Hospital for Children, observing therapy for autism and acting as a research support specialist. During his “gap year,” he also was a tennis instructor at the tennis academy located at Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.).

Wareham advises incoming freshmen to “be open to experiences but stay focused on your goals. It is good to explore different fields but also be proactive and keep asking yourself what you are most passionate about. Franklin College can help you prepare for a lifetime of learning and exploration. Know that you will always be learning so stay curious and open, listening to yourself and others.”