Hi, I'm Justine Egan. I'm from a small town in Connecticut named Wolcott, which no one (not even Connecticut residents!) has heard of. I attended Wolcott High School, was a part of my school's color guard team, and graduated in the top 10 percent of my class.
I chose to attend URI since it provided me with the independence of moving away from home yet allowed me to remain close to my family. I also fell in love with the campus atmosphere during my first visit; it was very friendly and welcoming. The psychology department's wide array of courses was another reason I chose URI. I was unsure of where I wanted to go with a psychology major and the various courses at URI allowed me to pave my career path.
I chose psychology as my major because of my high school psychology course. I have always been interested in human behavior; that course showed me that there is a myriad of careers for such an interest. My experience in URI's Department of Psychology has been an extremely positive one. This is demonstrated throughout my research, teaching, advising, and community service experiences.
My first research experience was as a research assistant on the Transitions Project, a study led by project investigator, Dr. Mark Wood, at URI's Cancer Prevention Research Center. Throughout the semester I completed a series of tasks such as editing changes to the protocol for dealing with participants, ensuring that participants understood the consent form, collecting DNA saliva samples, and logging participant information. Before this experience, I had no interest in psychological research as a career choice. However, this involvement in addition to the following research experiences, changed my perspective completely. In another research experience, I served as a research assistant under a clinical psychology doctoral student, Marie Aline Sillice. I was a part of a group of students who rated approximately 1,600 responses to test interrater reliability. In addition, I engaged in an independent study under the supervision of Dr. Charles Collyer with the URI Honors Program. My project examined violence sensitivity and an individual's involvement in violent/risky behaviors. This independent research study was extremely helpful when I was applying to graduate schools since I gained experience in writing my own proposal, conducting my own study, writing the final report, and presenting my results to peers and faculty.
Aside from conducting research, I had the opportunity to experience the teaching aspects of psychology while serving as a teacher's assistant (TA) under Dr. Charles Collyer for his Introduction into Nonviolence and Peace Studies course. My enjoyable experience TA experience offered me the insight of teaching at a college level. Furthermore, I served as a peer advisor for URI's 2009-2010 academic year. This is a great experience for a junior or senior student since it involves helping your classmates and others who are on the same path as you. Two organizations I would suggest students become involved in are URI's Psychology Club and Psi Chi Honor Society. I gained public speaking skills, community service experience, networking, and educational opportunities through my memberships in these associations. For instance, I have spoken to many prospective students and their parents and participated in community service. One community service experience involved raising money to purchase blankets, gloves, and scarves for homeless individuals in Providence. These experiences are not only personally rewarding, but contribute to the URI/Rhode Island community as a whole.
I completed my undergraduate study at URI in December 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. My research interests currently include non-violence and peace studies, specifically the teaching of non-violence to adolescent and young adult populations. My future career plans are to attend graduate school for my doctorate. Upon graduation, I wish to conduct research in a university setting in conjunction with teaching. I am coming back to URI to study behavioral science as a graduate student. The Behavioral Science program results in a doctorate degree. I chose URI again since I had such a positive experience the first time around and like the flexibility the program provides. In closing, the URI psychology department as a whole is flexible, the faculty are knowledgeable and student-oriented, and the students are quite active on the campus overall.