Why did you choose BHSU?
I chose BHSU because of the fantastic location! I toured a few other colleges but knew that I would be happiest in the atmosphere provided by the Black Hills! My hobbies include skiing, hiking, bicycling, fishing, hunting, and creating art. What other place could better suit my interests? Academically, I chose BH because of the small student to teacher ratio. I like to know my professors and be known by them. I did not want to just be a number in a sea of other students. The tuition rate was affordable for me and I knew I would be getting a great education!
Why did you choose Psychology?
Growing up, my parents always told me, "do what you love and find a way to get paid to do it." I began college with an undeclared major. I had so many interests and knew that there were endless possibilities; it was so hard to even think about what I wanted to do for a living. As I began to take more courses, I found myself actually enjoying the act of studying when preparing for my Psychology classes. I found my niche when one professor specifically sparked my interest so much that I began talking to him constantly about the material and continuously asking questions. I even read the book when I wasn't assigned to! All of a sudden, I realized that this is exactly the answer I was looking for to help me choose what I wanted to be when I grew up. Once I realized that I love to learn about Psychology, I realized that I could be a professor of Psychology!
In your experience, what do you see as the most beneficial aspect of the Psychology program?
When people ask why I love college, I say it is because I am being taught by people who share my love for knowledge. The professors in the Psychology department are passionate about their field, are active learners, and love teaching others about their passion. I can see their enjoyment as I learn the concepts from their lectures. To me, this is the purpose of higher education; the teacher should enjoy the experience of their students learning. This has been my encounter with every single faculty member of the department.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
After graduation, I will continue to do experimental research so that I can go to conferences and gather more experience before graduate school. It will be a difficult choice when deciding on a program but luckily I have a little time to think and to find my best fit. I am very excited to find myself in another academic setting surrounded by others who love to learn, teach, and explore psychology.
What have been your experiences outside the classroom at BHSU?
Dr. Karagiorgakis and I have been working collaboratively for over a year now on a few projects. My first project stemmed as a pilot test in my Research Methods class and grew to be my Honors Senior Project. We have been investigating how drawing can effect stress levels after a stressful event. Recently we began investigating the effect of high induced stress on a mock witness’ ability to identify a perpetrator from a police lineup. Lastly, I have also gotten great research experience through a job on campus with Professor Gibson, Professor Looney, and Dr. Caton-Rosser exploring social media in the classroom as their research assistant. It is interesting how my first experience in a research based classroom has transformed into a hobby, a job, and a future for me!
My internship experience helped me to solidify my career choice because I was the Psychology Department Intern. As the intern, I got to shadow the professors, correct papers, proctor classes in professors' absences, give guest lectures, go to administrative meetings, and advise students during registration for classes. I learned so much during my internship semester that I never would have in a classroom.
As a tutoring assistant, I went to class and helped students on assignments during their class as well as studying with students who needed a little extra help preparing for exams. For the professor, I corrected lab assignments and tests. This was a fun experience of working side by side with a professor and helped me see the classroom from another perspective.
For my last semester of college, I decided to study abroad in Florence, Italy. So far, it has been a phenomenal experience. Yes, I am taking classes here and am enjoying my studies, but there is a learning experience in everything else I do too. I think gaining a cultural perspective will help me in the future with anything I do. I have become a better navigator, planner, and communicator, and much more flexible. A whole new web of networks has been created for me in just my two weeks of being here. I cannot wait to see what the next few months have in store for me!
What is one piece of advice you would give incoming freshman?
College is not just the next step you take after high school. It must be a conscious decision with desire to be enlightened. Choose academia for the right reasons and grasp at any opportunity to do something extra that will set you apart. On graduation day, we will all have the same diploma so make your vita better than your competitors'. Lastly, embrace the idea that it is good to be a nerd.