Maggie OConnell

Maggie OConnell
Maggie OConnell
Deerfield, NH

As a little girl I would sit my family members down, and if they were too busy, my American Girl Doll and ask them the typical question: “How does this make you feel?” Ever since I realized that becoming a superhero was out of the cards for me, I knew that psychology was the route I wanted to take. It started off with a childish idea of therapy and only transitioned to subject I now know and love when I took a psychology course at St. Lawrence University. I have had the opportunity to take ten psychology courses at St. Lawrence University, along with my First Year Program, which covered the topic of mental illness in regards to colonial Africa. It is visible in each psychology classroom that the professors strive to develop a passion for the subject in their students. Their expertise has pushed me to excel and find my own niche in each facet of psychology.

In the spring of my sophomore year I was given the opportunity to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. This intellectual venture taught me the practical applications of psychology, with field studies in Positive Psychology, Developmental Disorders, and the Psychology of Criminal Behavior. Upon my return to St. Lawrence University, I was able to apply the information that I gained abroad in class work, projects, and general understanding of the subject. The department allows students to use the liberal arts education that St. Lawrence University offers, along with abroad opportunities, and personal experience to question, explore, and learn about psychology.

The transition from introductory classes to upper level courses not only introduces more difficult subject matter, but also research opportunities. The relationships I have created with the professors on campus have led to research in the subjects of memory and perception, which has led to my Senior Honor Project this year. The spring of 2011 offered me the chance to travel with the psychology department to Cambridge, Massachusetts to partake in the Easter Psychological Association Convention, this year we travel to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. These student-teacher relationships have allowed my participation in first stages of planning the new sustainability semester, the chance to be a teaching assistant for two different courses, and a group of knowledgeable professors to help with planning my life after graduation. The psychology department has taken an interest that began as a small child for me, and has developed it into a lifelong passion with knowledge and practical based thinking.