Senior Brews Plans for Caregiving Career

Kevin Pritchard |2013 Alumnus, B.S. Psychology

Update: Kevin Pritchard graduated from the School of Science with a B.S. in Psychology in May 2013. He currently works at a Greenwood, Ind., brewery as an assistant brewer as he prepares to study psychology in graduate school.

Psychology student Kevin Pritchard has spent the last two years in a research lab in the School of Science learning valuable skills he puts to good use everyday— in his coursework but also his latest hobby.

Pritchard has been swept up in the burgeoning craft beer craze in Indiana. As a co-founder of the IUPUI Brewers Club, he and his fellow members incorporate research and experimentation into every batch of beer they brew. Just as all scientists strive to do, he continues to achieve better results each time.

“The club is made up of people from all walks of life, and we have fun bringing our ideas and knowledge to the table,” he said. “Herron students can bring in the ‘art’ of a recipe. Biology is involved in the production of the yeast, and chemistry is involved when dealing with enzymes in the mash and the sugars you are getting from the grains.

“We really find a way to apply all of the sciences in this process,” added Pritchard, a graduate of local Roncalli High School.

Kevin Pritchard and his friends with award-winning beerKevin and his friends proudly stand by his winning beer.

Pritchard and his friend Matt Oakley, an IUPUI business student, have been brewing for more than a year. Their latest concoction, an American Barleywine, recently earned them entry into the National Homebrew Competition held in June in Seattle. A silver-medal finish from among 279 entries in the “Strong Ale” category at the national competition left both brewers happy and excited to continue to grow their operation.

Pritchard said his research background helps him to control variables in the brewing process and achieve consistency with each five-gallon batch of brew. A brewing class offered by the IUPUI School of Physical Education and Tourism Management helped him to overcome his learning curve, but he admits much of the fun comes from trying new things and learning from mistakes.

He credits his time in a research lab and as a Life and Health Sciences Intern (LHSI) for continuing to shape his approach to brewing, as well as his full-time job as a student. He will graduate in May 2013 with a psychology degree and then begin pursuing a master’s degree at the School of Occupational Therapy at IUPUI.

His recent research has focused on studying the accident risks of elderly drivers through the use of a simulator and how the learning capacity of a person changes with age.

“Research really helped shape what I want to do when I get older,” he said. “I plan to work in a clinical setting for a while, using my psychology training and what I’ve learned in my research experiences to care for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“My goal is to help improve communication and independence in life for seniors,” he said.

Pritchard also hopes to travel abroad for his work some day. He spent a summer studying in Spain, and he said it was a wonderful experience he would recommend to any student.

“I feel like studying psychology has given me a different viewpoint on life because there are so many ways to apply this knowledge to nearly every field you can imagine,” Pritchard said.