Meet Clair Anderson
Clair Psychology Student

Why did you choose BHSU?

The story of why I decided to attend BHSU is not glamorous. I was married to an enlisted active duty military airman who was stationed in Rapid City. As a military spouse, we go where our significant other goes. Given the restrictions of my lifestyle, finding a college in the Rapid City area was paramount to my decision. I knew that I wanted an education that would prepare me for a graduate program. After evaluation of surrounding area programs, BHSU’s psychology program provided what I needed for my current and future education goals.

Why did you choose psychology?

My academic and life interests have always spanned a vast array of topics. Definitely a science and art nerd as a kid, I searched for a program that would utilize my passion to analyze while using my inherent creative nature for innovation. After a few tries at a handful of universities and attempting an eclectic selection of majors in my young adult years, I fell into the insurance industry. While working at an agency for four years, I noticed my interest in the office culture was very high. I spent my spare time theorizing how to make the agency’s work environment more effective while boosting employee morale. As my college degree was not yet complete, I took a chance and researched what type of degrees focus on employee morale and workplace efficiency in relation to managers and employees. I knew the moment I read the definition for Industrial-Organizational Psychology that I struck undergraduate major gold! Studying human behavior and applying psychology concepts to workplace environments has been awesome.

In your experience, what do you see as the most beneficial aspect of the Psychology program?

After attending a few Big 10 institutions where anonymity from faculty and staff was the norm, I find the smaller class sizes and professor involvement of BHSU’s Psychology Program to be its greatest asset. The ability to speak one on one with each professor, knowing that they are not bogged down with hundreds of names to memorize, allows for a chance at personal connection with the department. Knowing even the slightest surface level characteristics of another enhances communication, builds teacher/student relationships, and ensures the highest of chances for success. In addition, I found the University Center in Rapid City to be a wonderful option provided by BHSU. As a commuting student, the opportunity to take classes in Rapid City saved not only money, but also time, time that I could apply to my studies instead of driving each day.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

In short, graduate school. My mind and life are open to opportunities, wherever they may lie. The options I am entertaining range from Ph.D. programs, terminal MA/MS programs (both online and in person), and working toward a career while taking MA/MS classes.

What have been your experiences outside the classroom at BHSU?

Community Involvement

I have had the opportunity to teach an after school art program to K-5 students, submit and display a work of art to one of DAHL’s charity auctions for Rapid City art programs, submit and display multiple works of art to BHSU’s Ruddell Gallery, volunteer at the Civic Center, complete Brookings Half Marathon (2012), and complete Rapid City’s Turkey Trot 5K (2012 & 2013).


Dr. Nathan Deichert and I have been working for the last eight months developing an experiment investigating how personality affects academic performance. This two part experiment will ultimately transfer into my graduate studies in I/O to help identify factors that influence workplace performance. It has been a fantastic experience learning the ins and outs of how psychology experiments are created, implemented, and finalized. I am very excited to continue a mentorship under Dr. Deichert this semester and officially begin collecting data! Give a big shout out to Psych data, woo!

Tutoring Assistant

It was an honor to serve as Dr. Karagiorgakis’s Learning and Memory class Tutoring Assistant, Spring 2014. As the tutoring assistant I helped students in and out of class on course material, provided first review of completed labs, reviewed student papers, held a “How to Write in APA, the Basics” instructional session, scanned tests and entered scores, co-taught one college level lecture, and instructed lab sessions to 20 college students. As a student, it was intriguing to see life from a professor’s point of view. This experience opened my eyes to the challenges of being a professor. Since my mind is always on I/O, of course I had to find an I/O twist to apply to my future career. This experience helped me theorize potential correlations of academia leadership/student relationships versus an office management/employee environment. I/O obsession aside, being a tutoring assistant provided one more piece of information making me an even better-rounded student.


Over the last two years I have put a piece of my heart and soul into BHSU’s art program as well as the psychology program. I am very fortunate to have earned a reputation as an aspiring, up and coming, artist on campus. When I am not immersed in my psychology studies, you can find me in my very own on campus art studio. Desy Schoenewies supervises the studio spaces, which are shared with a handful of other amazing BHSU art students. In addition to managing the studios, Desy uses her artistic background and talent to inspire each of us to keep innovating and trying new techniques. The studio spaces are BHSU’s hidden silo of artistic talent with each of us feeding of the other, bringing our talents to their greatest potentials!


Summer 2014 presented a once in a life time internship opportunity, to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland. From June-August I lived in Maryland (just outside of D.C.) and commuted to GSFC during the week, with a big grin on my face! To say this internship was an amazing experience would be an understatement. As a child I was obsessed with space, determined to find my way into a NASA career. Although many obstacles and alternate paths had seemingly sidetracked my childhood ambition, my academic advisor, Dr. Aris Karagiorgakis, brought my dream back to life. A serendipitous academic advisor to student conversation, an online application, and the encouragement of Dr. Karagiorgakis to never give up made this internship happen. I threw my application into the pool of over 6,000 fellow applicants and I was awestruck to be offered one of the 300+ summer internships GSFC opens to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students over the summer.

As the Flight Projects Directorate (FPD) Business Intern I:

• Helped establish communication between FPD leaders and interns by providing face-to-face networking event

• Helped increase cultural, and diversity and inclusion (D&I) awareness by designing a weekly messenger dedicated to D&I news within FPD

• Participated in analyzing FPD Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) nomination trends to aid in developing FPD Quarterly D&I Award recognition criteria

• Identified potential GSFC staffing issues

• Supported enhancement of executive knowledge of existing space companies in aid of quarterly dialogues

• Helped to identify work load distribution imbalances, overlap in duties, ineffective processes and task contacts using Roles and Responsibilities Charts (RACIB)

• Engaged in senior management movement toward solutions to increase diversity in FPD senior management positions

• Assisted FPD mentor to help promote FPD core competencies and capabilities that achieve mission success

By utilizing both my educational and employment background, I aided my mentors in their efforts to maintain and polish workplace effectiveness through business administrative duties, communication development, and human capital strategies.

Clair Psychology Student


While in Maryland I had an opportunity to see a ton of sights. I experienced D.C.’s metro transit and went to “The Mall” where I saw our Nation’s Capital, The White House (and a live protest!), Supreme Court Building, Eastern Market Square, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, and the Reflection Pool. I also had a chance to walk the Arlington National Cemetery and look upon the eerily quiet JFK Gravesite and Eternal Flame. In addition, the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum and Traditional Art Museum, Baltimore’s Lexington Food Market and Inner Harbor, and Maryland’s Ocean City were just a few more touristy places I hit-up before my trek back to SD.