Graduate school applications. Yes, that phrase has huge implications, and it is a task that can be overwhelming. For Reading Comprehension and Cognition (RCC) Lab alum, Courtney Parent (PSY ’19), that belief held true. Despite the weight of grad school applications, she received news that she was admitted to the Developmental Psychology graduate program at Teachers College, Columbia University (TC) to begin working towards her Master’s degree in the fall.
Courtney always knew she wanted to work with children, originally attending UNE as a Pre-Med/Biology major with the hopes of becoming a pediatrician. However, after taking Lifespan Development as a sophomore, she decided to pursue a degree in psychology instead and find a career path in which she loved what she was studying while still wanting to help children.
She became a teaching assistant and a research assistant under Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Associate Professor of Psychology, in the RCC Lab. From leading review sessions and helping students, spending a summer learning how to develop a novel research study, and everything in between, these experiences all have given Courtney a small taste of the world of academia. “I am truly grateful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained from working in the RCC Lab. Working under Dr. Stiegler-Balfour has allowed me to grow in so many ways, and I am humbled to have had the opportunity to learn from her. Her support is unwavering, and I feel so appreciative of her mentorship throughout my undergraduate career.” Courtney is now working towards becoming a professor who also conducts research on children with congenital heart defects (CHDs).
During the application process, she kept in mind these research interests, as well as the typical class size. “When researching TC’s program, I noticed that I would have the option to focus my course of study into one of three areas. One of these areas resonated with me as it falls in line with my future research interests,” Courtney explains. “Growing up in a small town and attending a small university allowed me to realize how much I value that small-school atmosphere. For me, that was another important deciding factor,” she adds.
Courtney is thankful to have had the support of her family, friends, and mentors at UNE. “Even after graduation, your professors and advisors are still a tremendous resource. They will help you to ensure that your application is top-notch because they want you to succeed post-graduation, and that’s what separates UNE from other institutions.” She adds that, “Since receiving the email notifying me of my acceptance, I have been still so shocked that I was one of the few applicants to be accepted out of the many who applied. I feel so humbled to be placed with such an elite group of people in the field of developmental psychology. I am truly blessed to have had an unforgettable undergraduate experience at UNE to help get me here.”
Thanks to Courtney for sharing her story with us. To learn more about the Psychology major, visit our webpages at https://www.une.edu/cas/psych