Trista Buskirk

Choosing Behrend provided me with the opportunity to blossom into the person I truly want to be.

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Canton, Illinois

Scholarships: Donald R. Blair Scholarship, Class of 1922 Memorial Scholarship.

Awards: I received the President Walker Award, which is for first-year students who have completed 12 to 36 credits and earned a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average.

On choosing Behrend: Upon receiving an email showcasing Behrend, I felt a strong calling to further look into the school. I went on a campus tour, where I ultimately made my decision to come to Behrend. During the visit, the tour guide and the atmosphere made it feel like home. The campus was not too big, but it wasn’t too small. It was perfect.

On choosing her major: I recognized in myself the need to understand others based on my own life experiences, and those experiences led me to choose psychology. Once I got more involved with the major, I was drawn to human behavior, specifically human rationality. It intrigues me to understand the reasons people make their decisions based on the facts and fiction surrounding them.

On spreading her wings: My proudest accomplishment at Behrend is my growth as a person. Moving away from home was terrifying to me at the beginning, but I am so glad I did it. Choosing Behrend provided me with the opportunity to blossom into the person I truly want to be.

Campus involvement: I was involved with Psi Chi, Psychology Club, and Circle K and served as an executive board member in each. I was one of the founding members of the Competitive Volleyball Club, a part of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and a Psychology Lab attendant.

Student research work: I worked alongside Dr. Lisa Jo Elliott, associate teaching professor of psychology, in the Lab for Usability and Interactive Systems as an app developer and researcher.

What makes her unique: Everyone is unique in their own way. To me, being unique does not equal standing out. A person’s strengths and uniqueness cannot always be seen just by looking at someone. I have learned that to understand someone, you cannot just look at the surface. You must dig a bit deeper. I have always been an observer; I observe as many people, places, and things as I can to begin to understand the bigger picture. I feel this dedication to understanding the world around me makes me unique.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: My age. Graduating from an esteemed university at the age of 19 is exciting. When people find out my age, they are usually shocked.

The world is her classroom: My passion is learning from every person I interact with. Everyone has knowledge to offer.

Advice for first-year students: Step out of your comfort zone. Life will throw you the tools you need to grow, but you never know who or what or when or where. Although terrifying sometimes, change is necessary for growth.

Trista plans to find work as a user experience developer or researcher.