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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 2015

Meet Psi Chi's First
Annual Undergraduate Scholarship Winners!

View this issue in PDF and Digital formats.

Psi Chi announced its first four annual Undergraduate Scholarship winners on July 28, 2015. The winners include John Benicasco (College of Brockport, SUNY), Celine Brooks (Mary Baldwin College, VA), Carissa Jahnz (University of Wisconsin–River Falls), and Karrie Quirin (Spring Hill College, AL). Congratulations to you all!
About Our Scholarships
Psi Chi’s annual Undergraduate Scholarships program was created to provide deserving students with $3,000 each in financial assistance toward educational-related expenses (e.g., tuition, fees, and books). Students are selected based on financial need, merit, and academic performance.
This year, 152 Psi Chi members completed the scholarships application process. According to Dr. Evan Zucker (Psi Chi’s Scholarship Review Committee chair and Southwestern Vice-President), “There were many deserving students. Paring the pool from 152 to 4 was not a particularly easy task.”
John Benicasco,
a McNair Scholar, has worked hard to pay for housing and educational expenses via loans and a work-study job. Although challenged as an out-of-state student and former foster child with no significant family structure to assist with financial needs, John is double majoring at the College of Brockport, SUNY, with a 3.97 GPA in psychology and a 3.85 GPA in philosophy.
John’s Aspirations:
“Like a lot of people, I vaguely wanted to “help people,” but I had several different ideas about how I would do that. I played around with the thought of being a social worker, a lawyer, a therapist . . . but what I loved more than anything else was learning and sharing information. I realized that I could help as a professor and an educator. I endeavor to become a psychology professor so that I can work to advance the science of psychology directly (through my own research) and indirectly (by teaching the scientific method and inspiring others to use it).”
Community Impact:
“I have always been active in my college community and always felt driven toward social justice issues. I remember lighting up during my first semester in college when I found out that Brockport University hosts a big Diversity Conference annually. The theme that year was religious diversity. I remember excitedly looking over the workshops and lectures when it dawned on me that the conference was completely lacking of any mention of nonreligious individuals! The website was still advertising a call for “cultural showcases” (i.e., people tabling at the conference), and I jumped at the chance . . . Several students approached my table and asked what club I was there to represent. This led me to start a secular club on campus, of which I am currently vice-president.”
Psi Chi Involvement:
“I just successfully ran for president of our Psi Chi chapter! My main project for us this year will be increasing student involvement in, and awareness of, Psi Chi on campus.”
Celine Brooks
applied for a Psi Chi Scholarship to help pay for school while she pursues her future in biopsychology and behavioral neuroscience. In past school years, she has worked as an unpaid laboratory assistant to support her professors, and she also eagerly conducted summer research this year to help cover some of her expenses. Celine has maintained a 3.79 overall GPA at Mary Baldwin College (VA) and is passionate about having a career in academia at a top-tier research institution.
Celine’s Aspirations:
“After I graduate from Mary Baldwin College, I hope to carry on the Psi Chi mission in my pursuit of a doctoral degree in biopsychology and behavioral neuroscience . . . This fall, I plan to apply to at least 10 doctoral programs in biopsychology and behavioral neuroscience. After earning my doctorate in biopsychology, I hope to continue doing research either as a professor at a university or by joining a government agency or nonprofit organization.”
Community Impact:
“As a female student double majoring in chemistry and psychology, I try to volunteer at events that aim to motivate and inspire other young women to consider a career related to science. A few of the organizations that I am a member of such as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the American Chemical Society, help me achieve this objective. Together, those two organizations schedule and plan a science day for area girl scouts at Mary Baldwin College . . . In addition to assisting with the science day, I recently volunteered at a local high school near my college to help motivate high school girls in pursuing an education in the STEM fields.”
Psi Chi Involvement:
“As Psi Chi treasurer, there are a few main tasks that I hope to accomplish. The first is increasing our chapter’s funds. I hope to address this issue by raising money for the organization with fund-raising drives and applying for funding from our college. With additional funds, I hope to plan more campus-wide events and activities for Psi Chi members and others who are interested in psychology.”
Carissa Jahnz
is determined to rely on scholarships, savings from a summer job, and payment as a resident assistant to attend and graduate at the University of Winsconsin–River Falls. Although Carissa was unable to receive financial support from her family, she has an overall 3.96 GPA. She has served in her community through volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, River Falls Food Pantry, and others. It is her hope to “apply the science and profession of psychology in the real world so that the lives of others might be impacted in a positive way.”
Carissa’s Aspirations:
“I love working with people, and I hope that, in a counselor role, I can help them to better their lives and improve their relationships with friends and family . . . I hope to graduate from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls with a degree in psychology, and then go on to school at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. There, I would like to earn a master’s degree in integrated behavioral health. This education will prepare me for a career as a licensed professional clinical counselor and a licensed alcohol and drug counselor; because so many mental disorders are now co-occurring alongside drug problems, a dual licensure will help me to help others with both mental and drug issues. I can’t wait to continue to work in a vocation where I would continue to help people and make a difference in their lives.”
Community Impact:
“Throughout my high school and college career, I have been blessed with several opportunities for community service. My first step into service was through my volunteer role as a conflict manager; this opportunity was really the first time that I felt called to help others. Through this position, I was able to assist countless students in conflict resolution. These conflict resolution sessions were always very rewarding for me because I felt like I was truly making a difference for the students. This role also provided leadership opportunities because I was able to lead younger, less experienced conflict managers in how to help their peers resolve tension; helping the new conflict managers grow in their skills and abilities to help students was very fulfilling. Being a conflict manager helped me to stimulate my career search into the field of psychology and counseling.”
Psi Chi Involvement:
“Psi Chi has opened up several doors for me, especially when it comes to leadership. I have experienced a great deal of professional growth because of the Organization. Although I am not an officer in my chapter, I have been a representative for the Honor Society and have watched some very amazing leaders make great things happen. I have learned a lot about leadership from my chapter’s officers that I hope to someday use in both academic and professional settings. I have also experienced the benefits of Psi Chi through networking relationships. I have gotten to know my Psi Chi advisor both personally and professionally, and he has been an extremely treasured resource by assisting me in choosing classes, applying for scholarships, and helping me decide which graduate school to attend. For these reasons, Psi Chi has been one of the best investments of my college career.”
Karrie Quirin
hoped to win a Psi Chi Scholarship so that she could pay for tuition, thus allowing her father to finally save up for a much needed surgery. Her strategy to succeed includes graduating in three years instead of four, taking more affordable community college courses in the summer, and working full-time job at Spring Hill College’s (AL) financial aid office. She has a 3.86 overall GPA and is eager to graduate soon so that her father can see how his selfless support has helped her to receive a diploma.
Karrie’s Aspirations:
“I aim to become part of a school psychology PhD program where I can further educate myself on the psyche and well-being of our youth. With a PhD in school psychology, I would like to be a school district counselor who focuses on the betterment of school counseling systems because I believe these systems have very poor funding. For many children, school is the safest place. They deserve someone to talk to about issues that may be affecting their grades or social lives. Through these children, I will be fulfilling my purpose of serving others, and through the great upbringing that I can provide them, I believe that they too will fulfill that purpose.”
Community Impact:
“My whole life, I have devoted countless hours to people ranging from kindergarten ages to older adults. During my time at Spring Hill, I focused my service on school-age children because I believe the younger years of life are the most influential times when you form the most important relationships. For many, the closest relationships you have when young can be the most detrimental to your psyche. I have witnessed this first hand at the St. Mary’s Home in Mobile (AL). This home is for foster children who have been taken from their families due to abusive or violent home situations. Spending time with them during our tutoring sessions humbles me and makes me realize how privileged I am. The time spent with them educates me on the human psyche more than any textbook can.”
Psi Chi Involvement:
“I am an active member of my school’s research lab. When needed, I transcribe, create surveys, and qualitatively code data. This is also one of the reasons I have become a Psi Chi member. I have managed to be very involved in the betterment of people’s psyches while maintaining a 3.86 GPA. Service is very important, but education is just as important, and this is exactly what Psi Chi understands. Although I have only recently been initiated, I have already given many hours to our chapter’s fund-raisers and volunteer days. This past year, my Psi Chi chapter selected our secretary and me to attend the Anti-Bullying Coalition Conference in Mobile (AL). This was an incredible honor, especially because I am interested in continuing my psychological studies in the field of school psychology.
How You Can Get Involved
Because of the high number of this year’s applicants, a clear need exists to increase funding for future Psi Chi Scholarships. There is much to celebrate after supporting these first four scholarship winners; there is also much work to be done to ensure that this program thrives next year and into the future to benefit our members.
Apply: for complete submission instructions
Donate: For all individuals who are able, please also consider donating or raising money for Psi Chi’s Steps to the Future scholarship program so that we can provide additional financial assistance to more hardworking, dedicated, and deserving students next year.

Copyright 2015 (Volume 20, Issue 1) by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology


Eye on Psi Chi is a magazine designed to keep members and alumni up-to-date with all the latest information about Psi Chi’s programs, awards, and chapter activities. It features informative articles about careers, graduate school admission, chapter ideas, personal development, the various fields of psychology, and important issues related to our discipline.

Eye on Psi Chi is published quarterly:
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