Graduate student at the University of Kansas
I transferred to Wisconsin Lutheran College my junior year from a community college in my hometown of Rochester, Minn. I wanted to experience college life in a bigger city with a lot of opportunities but didn't want the large campus feel. WLC provided that as well as a spiritual environment.
During my two years of college prior to WLC, I took a couple of introductory psychology courses, including social psychology. The material intrigued me, and I wanted to study personality and social psychology. When I arrived at WLC, I was already deciding against an exclusively research-oriented career and instead wanted to be a clinical psychologist. This way, I could pursue research and/or clinical work.
The small class sizes at WLC enabled me to receive personal attention, and were more conducive to learning. For instance, when I took experimental psychology, there were five of us in the class. At large universities there are easily 100-200 students in one introduction to psychology class. These class sizes are not conducive to writing assignments because professors and teaching assistants are not able to grade them all. Therefore, students' knowledge is only assessed via multiple choice tests. While at WLC, my writing skills improved dramatically because I received written and verbal feedback on my papers and other written assignments.
I began graduate work in clinical health psychology at the University of Kansas in the fall of 2002. In addition to coursework, I work part-time as a weight-loss counselor and project manager for an American Heart Association research study helping overweight and obese patients to lose weight. Currently, my interests are focused on obesity research, and I'm learning about nutrition, physical activity and motivational factors related to losing and maintaining weight. I also continue to build my clinical skills through various practicum opportunities. I am currently in my fourth year of clinical psychology training and plan to propose a dissertation related to stress management and obesity.