Hometown: Jamestown, New York
On choosing Behrend: A few of my friends went to Behrend before me, and they had all positive things to say about the faculty and staff and the Psychology program. I am also a huge Penn State fan and knew I wanted to be a part of the Penn State community.
On choosing her major: I have always been intrigued by the psyche of others around me and am fascinated by human behavior. I wanted to study and learn much more about it.
Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Completing a research study on my own and presenting my findings at two conferences. I studied and examined how crime news in the media can affect college students’ fear of crime. This project helped me understand advanced research methods and apply psychology to my work.
Can’t stop her: I think that my passion and drive for the subject of psychology make me stand out. I am very motivated to achieve my goals and believe that nothing can stop me. I aspire to learn as much as I can and be as educated as possible so that I can set an example for those around me.
What you’d be surprised to know about her: My dream job is to work alongside the criminal justice system or the FBI to do in-depth research studies on incarcerated criminals.
Her definition of the good life: Being a part of something you love, whether it is a job, a sport, or a hobby.
On second loves: In addition to my passion for psychology, I am also an avid volleyball player and will always love the sport.
Advice for first-year students: Don’t get discouraged when you are having a bad week or feel overwhelmed with homework. Keep your eye on your end goal. It will be worth it!
Parting gratitude: I’m thankful for Behrend and the staff and my peers who have helped me along the way. I’m especially grateful for Dr. Melanie Hetzel-Riggin, professor of psychology, for being one of my biggest supporters and a role model, as both a teacher and a woman.
Sierra plans to attend graduate school to obtain a master’s degree in clinical psychology.