Psychology Science Scholarship Winner Feature: Brooke Sasia
About the Psychology Science Scholarship
The Cal Poly Psychological Science Scholarship is the only scholarship currently available exclusively to students in the Psychology and Child Development Department. The scholarship provides funding to a psychology major interested in pursuing a research career rather than a clinical or counseling career. Read a Q&A below with this year's recipient, Brooke Sasia, who is graduating this spring 2019.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
Sasia: Following graduation, I plan to manage Dr. Cacciamani’s research laboratory and continue my involvement in other research projects on campus. This year, I will also be applying to Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology. My experiences in the department and undergraduate education have led me to pursue a graduate degree and an eventual career as a professor. While working at a university will allow me to make an impact on the field through research, I can simultaneously mentor undergraduate students who are exploring the field of psychology.
Why are you interested in research, and what are you specifically interested in?
Sasia: I’m interested in research because answering questions using the scientific method is a fascinating way to discover more about topics that interest me. I also enjoy participating in the many different aspects of the research process, as there’s never a dull moment! Watching a project progress from the early stages of conceptualization to the later stages of data collection and analysis is extremely fulfilling. Moreover, my time working in Dr. Bennion and Dr. Cacciamani’s labs has helped inform the types of research questions I would like to pursue in graduate school. I am very interested in the intersection between clinical psychology and cognitive neuroscience; more specifically, I am curious about brain function in individuals with personality disorders or who display antisocial and maladaptive behaviors.
What is your background, and why did you choose psychology?
Sasia: Like many college freshmen, I discovered my love for psychology upon taking an introductory psychology course. I loved it so much, in fact, that I decided to switch my major from English to psychology at the end of my first year. The variety of subfields within psychology and the many available career options were my initial reasons for switching majors. As my education progressed, various classes, clubs and research opportunities helped refine my interests within the field.
What inspires you in the field?
Sasia: I am primarily inspired by the students and faculty here at Cal Poly. Going to class is so much more enjoyable when my professors are excited to teach and genuinely care about their students. The diversity of interests among my peers, collaborative atmosphere, and sense of community within the department also inspires me in the field. Furthermore, I would especially like to thank professors Laura Cacciamani, Kelly Bennion and Taylor Smith for their endless encouragement and mentorship. They inspire me to pursue a career as a professor and I am incredibly grateful for their support!
What would you say to a new psychology student about your experiences in our department?
Sasia: My experiences in the department have been nothing short of amazing. My most valuable piece of advice to a new psychology student is to get involved; whether it be through a club, a research internship, or getting to know a faculty member, each experience will provide insight into what you want from your college education and what you might like to do post-graduation. Additionally, some of my favorite college memories came from being willing to step out of my comfort zone. Taking time to foster a relationship with a professor or to find something in the department you’re passionate about can lead to wonderful opportunities!
Support the Psychology Science Scholarship
If you are interested in supporting this scholarship, wish to create additional scholarship opportunities for students in the department’s programs, or want to discuss other ways in which to match your interests with needs in the department, please contact Dave Cohune or Jacquelyn Hayes in the College of Liberal Arts Advancement Office at 805-756-6246.