Senior Profile: Austin Lozada '23

Austin LozadaWhat is one of your favorite memories from your time at UMass?
I loved going to some of the sports events, particularly hockey, with some of my friends! We always had a great time, and there was never a dull moment in the crowd.

How did your experiences in a club, activity, or academic field shape who you are today?
It took a lot of exploring for me to end up where I am today. From serving in the Air Force for my 7th year presently, to my experiences in community college and changing my major 5 times, it wasn't until I took an introductory psychology course that I finally realized I wanted to work in psychology. Understanding more about myself, and what it means to be human more broadly, I hope I can apply everything I've learned and have an impact on the lives of others. 

Was there a particular person or class that motivated you during your time at UMass? (Shout Out!)
Professor Bernhard Leidner inspired me to be the best version of myself and pursue what I am uniquely qualified/capable of doing. I loved the time we spent working together on my honors thesis before he passed. While there were certain times when his rigorous academic standards and commitment to his work were intimidating, I could sense that he deeply cared for me and his other students and was supportive of us regardless of whichever career path we ended up pursuing. It was a privilege getting to work with him directly on my thesis, and we will all miss him dearly. 

Austin poses in military fatigues with two friendsWhat advice would you give to incoming UMass students or freshman year you?
As a transfer student, it is a bit difficult for me to speak to students entering as freshmen. However, if there is one thing I can say regardless, it's in college and in life, it truly is about the journey rather than the destination. I don't think anybody truly knows what they want to do with their life in finality, and maybe we don't need to know! The point is to enjoy the explorative journey while learning and becoming more of the person you want to be every day. 

Tell us about the research you’ve been involved in or your honors thesis:
Working with Dr. Leidner and Linda Isbell while actively serving in the Air Force, I conducted research on what motivates individuals to join the military from a psychological point of view, and how this relates to each person's satisfaction with life having served. 

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
I guess my biggest takeaway is that it is important to put yourself out there and explore opportunities beyond what might be considered your comfort zone. If I hadn't forced myself to connect with professors, engage in research, and engage in long conversations and study sessions, I would not have been able to achieve what I did academically. 

What is next for you?
I will be attending graduate school for Mental Health Counseling at Westfield State College in the fall of 2023 and will consider continuing to pursue mental health within my military career.