Senior Profile: Maria Ramos '23

Maria RamosWhat is one of your favorite memories from your time at UMass?
There are so many memories that I have made over my past three years here that it is hard to choose just one. Most of my favorite memories here at UMass encompass all the time I have spent with my friends, whether it be playing a new intramural sport, going to concerts, hiking, trying out local restaurants and coffee shops, or going to sporting events, there has always been something to do in the area. If I had to choose one memory, however, it would be the first week of freshman year. Moving in was scary, but everyone was in the same boat and so willing to make new friends. Whether it be hanging outside and playing games or meeting people on my floor, there were new faces everywhere. That week was so formative because I was able to make so many friends that I have had throughout my entire journey at UMass. Without them, I would not be where I am today.

How did your experiences in a club, activity, or academic field shape who you are today?
My experiences as a psychology major helped shape who I am today, because it gave me the opportunity to meet a diverse group of peers all with common interests in helping people and understanding mental health. There are so many options within the field of psychology, so not only did my classmates have common interests but I was also able to learn new perspectives and identify ways in which different fields of psychology intersect. I think that because of this I have learned to be a better listener and learned how to have an open-mind when it comes to learning about the experiences of others. Not only that, but it has made me a much more curious and eager student who is excited to tackle more problems in society.

Was there a particular person or class that motivated you during your time at UMass? (Shout Out!)
A class that particularly motivated me during my time at UMass, and confirmed my passions in psychology, would be Psych 380: Abnormal Psychology with Professor Richard Halgin. As a freshman in my first semester, I was very overwhelmed with all of my options for classes and paths here at UMass. The way that Professor Halgin taught abnormal psychology, with a clear passion for the work that he does, not only made me feel more secure in my career goals but also demonstrated to me that academia does not have to be boring. Especially in psychology, where the options are endless, there are so many different avenues that one can take to find the right fit. The course was so amazing that I never missed a singular class (even though it was at 8:30am).

What advice would you give to incoming UMass students or freshman year you?
Always be open-minded and flexible! I came into UMass with my heart set on becoming a clinical psychologist, but quickly realized that this path doesn’t seem quite right for me. Through delving into other classes outside of the psychology department, like education classes, I found my niche in school psychology. Plans change, so don’t be afraid to branch out and try something different. The options truly are endless, and you will never regret trying a new experience.

FAM Lab outreach event
FAM Lab outreach event

Tell us about research you’ve been involved in or your honors thesis:
At UMass I have been involved in research in a couple of different ways. As a research assistant in the Family Relationships, Affective Science, and Minority Health (FAM) Lab, I have broadened my knowledge about academic research. I currently work on the Latinx Biobehavioral Team on a study that looks at the effects of discrimination on health and well-being in Latinx parent-youth dyads. This study has allowed me ample opportunity to get involved in the community, as well as opportunities to gain knowledge about the research process. Aside from my research assistantship, my honors thesis has allowed me to refine my literature review and writing skills while looking at a topic I am very passionate about. Currently, I am revising my thesis that encompasses the different precipitating factors that lead to juvenile criminality and what ways the system sets youth up to fail. Research, although daunting at first, has helped me in more ways than one. I have grown to be more inquisitive, in addition to gaining stronger interpersonal skills. Everything research has taught me will positively reflect in my future career path.

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
My biggest take away from UMass is that there are so many opportunities to meet new people and try new things. From the hundreds of clubs that exist, to events happening every week, UMass provides lots of ways to be spontaneous and meet new people. I have learned how to be outgoing while making new friends, and be adventurous when it comes to trying new activities or foods.

What is next for you?
This upcoming fall semester I will be attending Tufts University in Medford, MA as a graduate student in the School Psychology Ed.S. program. It is a three year program where I will get both a masters and education specialist degree, and I am excited to integrate counseling and research skills that I have acquired at UMass into the school psychology program.