I am a psychology major simply because I love the science and couldn’t see myself studying anything else. I had a very enthusiastic psychology teacher in high school who introduced me to the field with engaging lectures and passionate conversations. I quickly developed fascinations with studies such as the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Bobo Doll Experiment. During the St. Lawrence accepted students’ day I attended a sensation and perception mock class, taught by the professor who I would take two incredible classes with and who would become my adviser. Tracing back to this class, I have learned that the psychology department is challenging, passionate, supportive, and highly interactive; this is evident inside and outside the classroom.
I was very fortunate to attend the Eastern Psychological Association Convention in New York City with a select group of professors and students in the spring of 2013. I was impressed with the diversity of research topics covered through poster presentations, talks, and symposia. The knowledge I gained from Research Methods and other psychology courses allowed me to confidently talk with presenters about their empirical studies' methods and results. An exciting highlight of this trip was that Philip Zimbardo, the International Keynote speaker and celebrity in my mind, gave a presentation about his early career and the inspiration for his Heroic Imagination Project. Listening to someone whose research sparked my interest in Introduction to Psychology was an amazing opportunity.
Another way I was able to expand the breadth of my psychology major was by applying for a Tanner Fellowship and pursuing an independent project. After taking a personality psychology class, I was interested in specifically exploring the influences of family on personality. I kept a video diary of my family members over the summer and am in the process of writing a non-fiction essay about how family shapes personality based on reflections of my own ideas and experiences. My overarching questions included, “Does personality change greatly throughout one’s lifetime?,” “Does having a brother or sister influence personality?,” and “Do parenting styles shape personality?” I also interviewed teenagers at a local day camp to get other peoples’ opinions. This project not only allowed me to satisfy my passions of reading, writing, and filming, but it also enabled me to reach out to the community and stimulate discussions about complex psychological concepts.
I am looking forward to studying at the Danish Institute of Study Abroad in Copenhagen in the spring of 2014, where I will be taking Cross-Cultural Psychology and European Health Psychology. During my senior year, I plan to either help professors with their research or conduct my own research project. The faculty at St. Lawrence is very concentrated on preparing students for their future endeavors so I am confident that I will be ready for whatever schooling, internships, and careers lay ahead.