woman standing looking at camera in front of brick building
Contemplative Studies

Where are you from? 

I was born in Ogden, Utah, but I’ve lived most of my life in Bend, Oregon.

What drew you to psychology and contemplative studies as your fields of interest?

Both psychology and contemplative studies try to explain people, which is no easy task. I think that these two fields pair together nicely, as psychology, based on the majority of courses I’ve taken, is taught through a lens of Western science. Contemplative studies delves deeper past the current structure of Western science to explain wellness and the human experience in more unique ways. I hope to understand people as truthfully and wholly as possible, so that I can connect with them, as well as myself, in my future career and in general. This is what drew me to psychology and contemplative studies.

What has been your experience as a student of both the College of Liberal Arts and the Honors College?

My experience has been very fulfilling as a student in CLA and the Honors College. I’ve surrounded myself with academic rigor, through which I’ve also found many friends and opportunities. The niche communities found through these areas of college have helped me in more ways than I can say, so I’m very grateful for what I chose to do.

Have you started your honors thesis? If yes, what’s the topic and/or focus of your research? If not, are you considering any ideas so far?

I have two main ideas for my honors thesis. One of which is a book for younger audiences, likely early teenagers. My book would include drawings and a narrative that focus around the protagonist’s experience of dissociation. I feel inspired to make this book as I think about the younger me. Growing up, I learned about anxiety and depression, but dissociation was not a common topic. I felt incredibly alone in experiencing it. I’d like to bring this topic to attention, hopefully giving comfort and guidance to others.

My other idea focuses on Western science’s understanding of psilocybin, and how the current scientific method struggles to explain spiritual experiences. I’m planning on doing research that attempts to bridge this gap, which I hope would catalyze the world of psychology toward astonishingly, new ways of healing trauma. 

What have been some of your favorite classes taken?

A psychology class called Personality was really insightful. We learned that there is no concrete, universal definition of personality, but rather an accumulation of theories. This class also incorporated aspects of Buddhist philosophy and the idea of “no-self”, which connects to the History of Buddhist Philosophy – another amazing class. This course weaved the laws of physics into cognitive psychology into concepts of self and spiritual practice. So, so cool.

What are you hoping to do after you graduate?

After I graduate, I’m planning on working and researching for half a year and adventuring around for the other half. I’m hoping to travel abroad to places where I’d like to pursue graduate school to study forensic or criminal psychology. In the meantime, I’ll keep myself busy with baking, continuing to make art and music, and taking on any fun opportunities that arise.

How do you feel that your experience in CLA and HC is setting you up for success?

My experience in CLA and HC have absolutely set me up for success with the interesting courses that are offered, the kind professors, the opportunities I’ve found, and the friends I’ve made. I feel lucky to have been born when I was, because I don’t think a class called Death and Dying would be offered ten years ago. Courses like that, and the people I’ve met, have brought incredible connections, insight, and healing that will last a lifetime. I think that that is the greatest contributor to my success in the grand scheme of things.