Hannah has been employed as a senior researcher in the Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion Center (TBICC) laboratory within the Neurology department at the University of Utah for about 2 years now.
1. A brief explanation of your experience in Brigham Young University's Psychology Graduate Student Program:
Hannah: "My experience in the Psychology PhD program at BYU was honestly so much more wonderful and fruitful than I ever imagined it would be. As a non-LDS student, I was pretty worried about how comfortable I would be here, if I would have trouble making friends, or if I would feel out of place; however, I have felt welcomed and appreciated by everyone that I've encountered at BYU since day one, and I made some of the best friends I'll ever have during my time here. On top of all of that, I feel extremely blessed for the amazing opportunities I've had here that I would not have had elsewhere, particularly with the specialized training I received in running the MRI in the MacDonald Building and analyzing neuroimaging data. I am also very grateful for the many opportunities I had to teach undergraduate courses. Teaching and TA-ing was very rewarding for me, and it made me realize that I want to pursue a career in teaching in addition to research, although my original plan was to solely focus on the latter."
2. What your post-graduation plans are/were/what are you currently doing:
Hannah: "I have been employed as a senior researcher in the Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion Center (TBICC) laboratory within the Neurology department at the University of Utah for about 2 years now. I've received some really incredible training in my lab there, and I have the amazing opportunity to work with some of the leaders in my field of research, so I plan to continue working in that position, but as a postdoctoral fellow for at least the next year. After that, my goal is to find a tenure-track faculty position somewhere near my family in North Carolina where I can teach and continue my research, which primarily involves (1) using neuroimaging and neuropsychological testing to assess neuroplasticity and recovery from traumatic brain injury and (2) the use of sound statistical techniques and research methodology in psychology."
3. What would be your advice for potential students:
Hannah: "The best advice I have for future students is to figure out what else you can take advantage of here at BYU that is beyond the coursework and research requirements of the program. As I said before, the specialized training that I received in neuroimaging and the opportunities I had to teach are two of the things that I value most from my experience in the Psychology PhD program, and neither of these were required for me to graduate. I think it is very important to explore courses outside of the psychology department that can be taken as electives and to step outside of your comfort zone to gain experience in something, such as teaching, that will not only greatly benefit you but others as well. One other thing that sets BYU apart from other Universities is the open collaboration among faculty members within the Psychology department, which creates unique opportunities for students to work closely with multiple professionals with various areas of expertise within the field. This is NOT how most other Universities work (unfortunately), so I highly recommend taking full advantage of this while working toward your degree."