Psychology Student Gains Valuable Insight Volunteering for Rape Crisis Center Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Position: Volunteer for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape
Hometown: Bethel Park, Pa.
High School: Bethel Park Senior High School
Expected graduation: May 2015
College activities: Co-Chair of Confluence Psychology Alliance
Hobbies/interests: Art, painting, watching films and eating good food
Why did you decide to volunteer for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape?
Last year, I attended a training seminar on sexual violence prevention there with the Confluence Psychology Alliance student group. After attending the seminar and seeing PAAR's wonderful facilities, I knew I really wanted to get involved with this organization. As a college student, I hear about occurrences of sexual violence far too often. I'm glad to be able to raise awareness and offer support to survivors of sexual violence.
What are your key responsibilities at PAAR and how has this experience been helpful?
I serve on the crisis help line. It's a confidential, 24/7 hotline available to anyone in the Pittsburgh area. It's meant to help those in crisis, or those requesting information, by providing support and resources. Answering the hotline calls can be difficult, but having someone thank you for listening to them makes it all worthwhile. This experience has been so helpful not only for my career path, but also in my day-to-day life. Learning to be an active, careful listener is an invaluable skill.
What factors made you choose Point Park and its psychology program?
I chose Point Park because the urban atmosphere appealed to me, and it wasn't too far from home. I was also drawn to the idea of attending a liberal arts school, where the focus is placed on the humanities. I didn't discover the psychology program until after my freshman year. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. The program is unique in that it views psychology as a human science, rather than a natural science. To put it simply, emphasis is placed on the individual and his or her experience, rather than attempting to find answers in the brain or some ultimate truth about existence. I couldn't agree more with this critical, existential and humanistic view towards psychology.
Tell us about your role as co-chair of Confluence Psychology Alliance.
As co-chair, I help generate ideas and organize events. Over the past two years, I have helped host some amazing events including a Queer Theory Panel, lectures from Wade Redcross of Who's Your Brother and Dr. Jim Withers of Operation Safety Net and our annual blanket/coat drive.
At the end of this semester, Confluence is organizing the annual Point Park Undergraduate Research Conference, which will feature research from psychology seminar students along with keynote speaker, Dr. Steen Halling. This year, I'm excited to say that I will be one of the students presenting my qualitative research on the difficulty of verbal and textual expression, using art as a means of communication.
What are your career goals?
I'm very interested in art therapy, and would love some day to practice in that field. For now, I'm applying to graduate programs and hope to eventually have my Ph.D. in psychology.