Beth Luvisia '20
Beth Luvisia ‘20 double majored in Psychology and English and is currently working towards getting her Master’s in Social Work. She speaks about her undergrad experience as well as what her current day-to-day is like in the post-grad world. See her LinkedIn page.
Why did you choose to add an English major in addition to Psychology?
I wanted to enhance my English skills. I knew I was going to be doing a lot of reading and writing in the field I entered, so I wanted to be able to develop strong writing skills for case writing and research proposals.
Did you have a favorite English class at UMass?
I loved an English composition class I took my junior year; it felt like an atypical undergrad experience. I got to write my own stories and tap into my inner creativity, and it felt really great to do that. This class was a really great experience.
I also took a South African literature course that I really enjoyed—with Professor Stephen Clingman. I enjoyed this course because it exposed me to great African writers, and I was able to learn more about apartheid and its impact on South African people.
Did you participate in any internships while you were at UMass? If so, what were they?
I did a summer internship before my junior year at Brown University as a Research Assistant in the Psych Department. I knew I wanted to go to grad school after my undergrad, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet so I thought this would be a good way to start to figure that out.
This internship solidified for me how important an English degree would be; my mentor was doing a ton of write-ups, she wrote proposals and abstracts and would ask me to write summaries of data, which is where my English skills really came in handy.
You participated in the Oxford Summer Abroad program with the English department. How was that?
It was really great to learn English where the roots are, to read the books and experience a different culture. It was an amazing experience. As an English major, I would highly, highly recommend looking into it. I was even able to take a Psychology course abroad with this program.
I see you’ve participated in quite a bit of research, can you say a little about that?
At Brown University, I was working with a professor on her research, which was about the development of zebra fish. We looked the effects of PCBs on their development. She wrote a proposal for this research and was chosen to present at a conference in New York, so I got a chance to present our findings along with the professor and another Research Assistant.
You’re getting your Masters in Social Work now, what pushed you in that direction?
I was panicking a little bit senior year because I hadn’t picked something specific that I wanted to do after UMass, and I felt like everyone else had. English and Psychology are both very broad fields, and it’s possible to do a lot with either of those degrees, so I was kind of stuck.
I spoke with a UMass professor that I had a relationship with and I explained a bit about my goals, values, and interests to her. She asked if I had ever looked into Social Work, and I hadn’t, but she put me in contact with someone who works at Smith College School for Social Work. After I talked to them and did a bit more research about the field and different careers I could have, I felt like the values of social work as a field aligned with my own values about social justice, equity and inclusion.
I applied and enrolled at Smith College, and that’s what I’m doing now. I have my classes during the summer and I do a field internship during the academic year. I’m based in Houston now, working at an inpatient psychiatric facility. It’s a really cool way to branch out and live in a different state for eight months.
What is your day-today like at your internship now?
A typical Monday would look like a team meeting in the morning to debrief what went on during previous nights, then we would do team rounds. Our teams are interdisciplinary, you have the social worker who facilitates family therapy, a psychiatrist who manages medicine, a rehab specialist if applicable, and a psychologist who does individual psych testing. The whole team meets with the patient to check in and see how treatment is going. Then, I go on to facilitate multiple forms of group therapy, like social skills and roleplay, shame resilience, and family issues.
What have you learned about yourself/the professional world in your post-grad life so far?
I would say that it is very different from undergrad. I am still developing my professional identity in a way that is still authentic to who I am, and I’m still learning how to balance my personal and professional life.
I’ve learned that you really have to advocate for yourself and identify what it is you want to be doing. Also, it can be hard to make friends compared to undergrad. You have default friends at UMass, like your roommates, but you don’t get that in post-grad life.
If you could talk to your freshman year self, what would you say?
I would tell myself that my college experience will not be linear, and that’s okay. Try and take each day one at a time, because it can be really difficult to plan for four years in advance. I would remind myself to be in the moment and take in all the experiences, say yes to the hang outs! Thinking back, I think to myself that I wish I’d said “yes” to more events.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about majoring in English?
Have fun with it, take classes you feel are interesting. Take the class that you think you’ll have a lot of interest in.
Written by DCI Sarah Mulcahy.