Undergraduate Programs

My Future Plans as a Psychology Major Who Attended The Clarkson School 

Two women sitting on the steps in the Student Center Forum holding a book

Hi, my name is Jordan Summerfield ’25, I’m 18 years old, and I’m from Framingham, Massachusetts. I am a current Psychology major with a double minor in Human Resource Management and Business Administration at Clarkson University, and I attended The Clarkson School (TCS) last year. The Clarkson School is a hands-on early college program, for students to start college a year early. 

In high school, psychology quickly became my favorite subject. My passion for it came to light during my junior year when I enrolled in an AP Psychology course.

I had always been interested in human behavior and societal systems which I was also able to further research in a dual enrollment Sociology Course that I took my sophomore year of high school. However, after taking psychology and learning all about the human brain and psychological theories I became fascinated. 

Coming to The Clarkson School, an early college program, and skipping my senior year of high school to kick start my education and research in psychology was one of the best decisions I could’ve made. 

Clubs and Research Opportunities for Psychology Majors at Clarkson 

When I initially came to Clarkson, the very first club I chose to join was the Clarkson Association for Psychology Students (CAPS). At the first meeting I attended, I remember meeting all of the Psychology staff here at Clarkson. Every professor had their own specific research interests which they told us about at the meeting. I remember being fascinated by each and every research focus and found the psychology department to be a great community where all of the professors seemed very passionate about what they teach. This also still holds true as I reflect on my experience with the psychology department so far. 

Last semester during the fall, I was fortunate enough to secure a spot in Dr. Legault’s Motivation and Emotion Laboratory as a research assistant. I became involved in a qualitative study regarding an individual’s motivations to be non-prejudiced. I’ve really enjoyed working as a research assistant so far, and it’s been great to learn about new research concepts such as coding and inter-rater-reliability. 

Engaging with Dr. Legault’s Motivation and Emotion Laboratory has not only deepened my understanding of psychological research but has also allowed me to apply theoretical concepts in a practical setting. Additionally, collaborating with other research assistants has fostered a very intellectually stimulating environment for nuanced conversations to occur. Through this, I’ve developed not only a deeper appreciation for the subject matter but also a heightened curiosity about various factors of human motivation and emotion.

Looking ahead, I am eager to further contribute to ongoing projects in the laboratory and explore additional avenues for research. The mentorship provided by Dr. Legault and the dynamic nature of the lab have inspired me to continue pursuing opportunities that blend theoretical knowledge with practical application, solidifying my commitment to a future career in psychology.

Internship Opportunities 

I currently volunteer at a crisis line in St. Lawrence County, called Reachout. This opportunity, which I discovered through Clarkson’s psychology department, has not only allowed me to contribute meaningfully to my community but has also provided me with invaluable real-world experience in the field of psychology.

Over the course of my involvement, I have dedicated a substantial amount of time, totaling over 70 hours, to various aspects of the volunteer program. This includes active participation in a comprehensive training weekend, engaging classroom sessions, crucial observation hours, and handling individual phone shifts. The diversity of these experiences has exposed me to multifaceted aspects of crisis intervention, enhancing my understanding of the complexities within the psychology field.

The training weekend, in particular, served as a foundation for my role at Reachout. It prepared me for the challenging conversations and situations that often arise in the realm of mental health support. The classroom sessions provided a theoretical framework, while observation hours allowed me to witness seasoned volunteers in action, further refining my skills through hands-on learning.

Participating in individual phone shifts has been both enlightening and rewarding. It’s in these moments that I’ve directly applied the knowledge and skills gained from training, responding to callers in need with empathy and understanding. This practical experience has reinforced the significance of mental health support services and highlighted the critical role that crisis lines play in providing immediate assistance to those in distress.

Beyond the accumulation of volunteer hours, Reachout has offered me a unique perspective on the practical applications of psychology in addressing real-world issues. Engaging with individuals facing crises, including topics such as suicide, substance abuse, and domestic violence, has deepened my understanding of the human psyche and the importance of compassionate intervention.

Moreover, being part of the Reachout community has allowed me to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for mental health advocacy. The camaraderie within the organization has created a supportive environment that extends beyond the scope of volunteer work. It’s a community where individuals are united by a common goal of making a positive impact on the well-being of others.

Students studying on the second floor of the ERC with a snowy campus behind them at Clarkson University

Why I Chose to Stay at Clarkson University After The Clarkson School

Coming to Clarkson through the Clarkson School early college program, it is possible to explore other opportunities at different universities. However, I found the psychology department at Clarkson to be so personal and filled with opportunities that it convinced me to stay. The chance to actively participate in a research lab and contribute to a potential published research paper as an undergraduate psychology student is a rare and invaluable opportunity that sets Clarkson apart. 

Moreover, the psychology department’s commitment to hands-on learning extends beyond the classroom, evident in the exceptional internship opportunities that provide tangible work experience in the field. This practical exposure has not only enhanced my understanding of psychology but has also equipped me with skills that extend beyond theoretical knowledge. I firmly believe that the comprehensive and immersive nature of these experiences is distinctively tailored to prepare students for successful careers in psychology.

The personalized mentorship available within the psychology department also stood out to me for the academic support that this dynamic brings to students at Clarkson University. Beginning freshman year, students are assigned a dedicated advisor from the psychology department, establishing a meaningful relationship that extends throughout their four-year journey. This mentorship also extends beyond the traditional academic realm, providing a guiding hand in shaping not only course selections but also fostering a deeper understanding of individual academic and career goals. 

The close-knit community within the department ensures that students have access to valuable insights, advice, and encouragement from experienced faculty members who are genuinely invested in their success. This mentorship structure has been a vital component of my academic experience, offering both guidance and a sense of belonging within the vibrant intellectual community at Clarkson. The commitment to individualized mentorship exemplifies the university’s dedication to cultivating well-rounded, successful graduates in the field of psychology.

Looking ahead, my gratitude for the transformative experiences at Clarkson is accompanied by a clear vision for the future. Following the completion of my Bachelor’s degree in psychology, my aspiration is to pursue graduate studies with the ultimate goal of earning a degree as an Organizational Psychologist. 

The foundation laid by Clarkson, both academically and experientially, positions me on a path to not only achieve my goals but also to contribute meaningfully to the evolving landscape of organizational psychology. Clarkson University and its psychology department have played an integral role in my academic journey, and I am sincerely appreciative of the unique opportunities that have set the stage for my continued growth.

Author: Jordan Summerfield

Hi, my name is Jordan Summerfield ’25, and I’m from Framingham, Massachusetts. I am a current Psychology major with a double minor in HR Management and Business Administration at Clarkson University, and I attended The Clarkson School (TCS) class of 2023.

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