Class of 2021: Patricia Dixon
Patricia Dixon has her sights set on a career in clinical psychology and will begin her doctorate at West Chester University after graduation. With professor Lauren Dundes, the Psychology major co-investigated Facebook post reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd. In addition to Facebook data, they conducted interviews of Black and white college students and co-authored a paper that was published in an international, peer-reviewed journal.
Patricia Dixon is a Psychology major with a minor in Sociology from New Bern, North Carolina.
When I took my first step on the Hill, I was: excited! My first steps on the Hill were when I attended Summer Science Academy led by physics professor Dr. Jeff Marx. I spent time in classrooms and labs in Eaton studying forensic science, slept in DMC, and ate at Glar. It was a blast. The professors were deeply knowledgeable about material, enthusiastic, and engaging. I felt at home and could see myself spending four years here.
The me who will ring the Old Main bell on Commencement Day is: strong, caring, intelligent, and confident in who I am. I know I am capable of overcoming the challenges I may face and that the beauty is in the journey. I am thankful for the relationships I have formed on the Hill that are why McDaniel is so special. I am prepared to use the skills and knowledge I have acquired from my incredible professors and experiences at McDaniel to make a difference in my future career.
Real world experiences: I worked as a residential rehabilitation assistant at a home of adults with psychological disorders and substance problems. I helped residents by monitoring medications, providing rehabilitation, assisting with daily tasks, maintaining documentation notes of client progress, and creating plans to help them reach their goals. This experience confirmed my desire to pursue clinical psychology. I gained research experience by co-investigating Facebook post reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd with Sociology professor Dr. Lauren Dundes. In addition to Facebook data, we conducted interviews of Black and white college students. Our paper is published in an international, open access, peer-reviewed journal. Through this experience I discovered my interest and enjoyment in qualitative coding. I am completing an independent study for my capstone as well. I am also fortunate to have gone on two Jan Term trips. I studied tropical marine biology in the Bahamas and Greek mythology and monuments in Greece. I traveled to Germany and Switzerland with the women’s soccer team too! These experiences were amazing and widened my global perspective. I love traveling abroad so it was perfect that McDaniel offers many opportunities to do so.
Aha moment: When I took Developmental Psychology taught by Professor Sarah Lippy, I had the opportunity to spend a day at the local courthouse watching juvenile cases. The youth I saw all had some adverse childhood experience, including living in an abusive home or bouncing around the foster care system. This unique field trip was eye-opening and motivated my desire to pursue a career in the field of psychology where I am in a position to help children and adolescents.
Footprints I’m leaving on the Hill: I am leaving footprints in Carroll Hall from working as a Student Ambassador and in Hill Hall for Alpha Phi Omega meetings and service events, plus all over the library, across the soccer field, and in Merritt Hall and Lewis Recitation Hall for my main courses. I hope I have left a legacy of being kind to others, leading by example, and showing up and bringing my best in whatever I was involved in. Lastly, I leave a legacy of asking questions. Thank you to the professors who entertained all of my curiosities and confusions!
Professor who most influenced who I have become: Psychology professor Dr. Holly Chalk significantly influenced who I have become. She is a phenomenal teacher and her passion for the discipline is contagious. I loved her Abnormal and Counseling Psychology class, which shaped the career direction I am taking. Dr. Chalk has provided me constant guidance and encouragement. She has high expectations of her students and goes the extra mile to help students reach their goals. She connected me with a paid clinical opportunity that solidified my interest in clinical psychology. She inspires me to be the best version of myself. I hope one day I will be as amazing a clinical psychologist as she is.
My mentor. For life.: Sociology professor Dr. Lauren Dundes took me under her wing after I completed her Criminology class. I’ll never forget her kind words in reaction to my performance in a mock trial of the O.J. Simpson case. We stayed in touch after the course ended and continued having thoughtful conversations about the field of criminology and life. When she learned that my educational goal was to earn a doctorate degree she offered working with me to conduct research to make my application more competitive. I took her advice and together we collected and analyzed reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd. It was rewarding to gain insight into this important matter that I wanted to explore. I am forever grateful for her mentorship and all the wisdom she has shared. Dr. Dundes is brilliant, honest, energetic, and a dedicated professor. She inspires me to be bold and shoot for the stars.
Best class ever: I cannot name just one! I have numerous memorable classes from my time at McDaniel that I am so glad I took. I am thankful to have attended a liberal arts college because I have a well-rounded education. As my mom says, I can hold a conversation about multiple areas outside my major. I loved Religions in North America with Dr. Brad Stoddard, Sociology of Sexuality with Dr. Sara Raley, Shakespeare’s Game of Thrones with Dr. Paul Zajac, and West African Drumming Culture with Paco. West African Drumming Culture was a wonderful class. It was amazing to learn how to play the djembe. I learned how to play various rhythms while learning about the culture of Senegal. Paco is a great professor who makes class fun while pushing students to improve. This class fostered my creativity and diversity awareness. It was also refreshing to take a class where I was challenged in a way other than papers and tests. I was out of my comfort zone playing music but I grew from expanding my horizons.
Took me totally by surprise: How much I love American Sign Language! I took ASL for my language requirement and I looked forward to every class. Paul and Debbie are fantastic teachers whom I am so lucky to have met. I developed an appreciation for Deaf culture and recognized the power of non-verbal communication.
My favorite spot on campus: My favorite spot is the 2nd floor of the library where I like to do work during the day and can look out the big windows to see our beautiful campus.
Most mind-boggling idea I learned at McDaniel: I learned from psychology professor and cognitive psychologist Dr. Jack Arnal that it is possible to implant false memories in others.
My capstone: My capstone research is on the relationship between social media use and perceived stress among emerging adults.
What it’s about: I collected qualitative data via an online survey to assess the relationship between social media use and perceived stress of emerging adults (age 18-25). I found that perceived stress is significantly positively related to social media intrusion (how social media usage interferes with daily life), social media addiction, and social media stress (emotional responses to social media and dependency on social media).
Capstone translated: I looked at how different aspects of social media usage may connect with stress we feel.
What’s next: I am pursuing a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology at West Chester University beginning this fall. I hope to become a licensed clinical psychologist and provide services to children and adolescents. I am especially interested in helping youth from underserved populations and who have experienced trauma.
Name: Patricia Dixon
Class of 2021