Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Ted Ranallo

Name: Ted Ranallo
Age: 31
Occupation: Deputy United States Marshal
Education (UR and additional):B.A. in Psychology, University of Rochester. M.A. in Criminal Justice, University of Albany
Current city/state of residence: San Antonio, TX
Family: Married

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I did not know what I wanted to major in when I was looking at colleges. Therefore, I wanted to be accepted into the highest-ranked school by US News and World Report.  When looking at my options, U of R was one of the top ranked schools I was accepted to and it was close to my hometown of Syracuse, NY. Getting a decent amount of financial aid also helped make U of R comparable to my other options (University of Michigan and Union College).

When and how did you choose your major?

In college I always wanted to learn more about others and especially myself. I have always been an introspective person and was often searching for my “identity.” After taking Psychology 101 with Professor McAdam, I knew I wanted to major in Psychology.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

By senior year I started leaning toward a career in law enforcement. After taking several police exams, I realized it would take at least a year to get hired anywhere. Therefore, I studied for the GREs to make myself more marketable with an advanced degree more specific to my career. The following year I attended the University at Albany Master’s Program in Criminal Justice.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

Currently, I am a Deputy United States Marshal in San Antonio, Texas. Towards the end of undergraduate school, I started to look at professions related to Psychology. I wanted to work in a profession where I felt I could “make a difference” while feeling a sense of pride.  Also, I strongly believed in making others accountable for their actions. Before my current position, I worked for the Raleigh Police Department for five and a half years in Raleigh, North Carolina.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

Overall, having a psychology background allows me to apply psychological theories and concepts to any social situation. Specifically it has allowed me to be more open-minded towards people and think more in-depth about why a person acts the way that they do. Often times, a person’s illegal actions are not easily understood. Also, being a student at the U of R prepared me for taking any written exam in graduate school and beyond.

What advice do you have for current students?

Students need to start looking for employment opportunities as soon as possible. Do not wait until senior year to start thinking about your professional career. Being psychology majors in the liberal arts field, we are not trained to perform certain “job tasks”, instead we learn about theories, concepts, and history. When I graduated, I was waiting for a “magical job” to appear. However, I had a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and fifty thousand dollars of debt while living back at my parent’s home.