Senior Spotlight: Hannah Carroll

Hannah CarrollWhat is one of your favorite memories from UMass?
It's hard to choose one, but many of them come from my time as a coxswain on the men's rowing team. From a spontaneous trip to Maine to play Catan at a Denny's in Portland, to competing to see who could hold a plank the longest each Friday in the fall (which I once won with 7 minutes), I know that the friends I made there will stay with me long after graduation.

How has UMass allowed for your intellectual/academic/creative abilities to flourish?
The variety of experiences that UMass offers both inside and outside of the classroom is what has allowed me to enhance all of my abilities as an undergraduate. It's hard to name one specific aspect, because there are so many opportunities that I was able to take advantage of over the past three years.  

How did your experiences in a club, activity, or academic field shape who you are today?
I chose to become a psychology major because my sister has autism and I wanted to learn more about the basis of her behavior, but I learned much more than I ever anticipated. Reflecting back, the classes that I took have played a large role in the person that I am today. Taking Maureen Perry-Jenkins class on the ecological model of childhood development helped me recognize that no detail is too small to play a role in shaping who we are. On the other hand, Luke Remage-Healey's class on behavioral neuroendocrinology taught me the scientific basis for behavior that contributed to my understanding of the internal factors that can impact our lives. This is all to say, being a psych major not only changed my perspective and understanding of everybody around me, but it has also changed my own understanding of myself and who I am as a person.

Who is someone who motivated you during your time at UMass? (Shout Out!)
I think the psych department has the best faculty and students at UMass, but to choose someone specific, it is without a doubt Tammy Rahhal. If it had not been for meeting Tammy, I would not have accomplished nearly as much as I did by the time of graduation. In the spring of 2021, I was dealing with a lot of difficult factors in my personal life that I was struggling to handle on my own. At that same time, I was planning to graduate a year early, to take the MCAT in a matter of weeks, and to apply to medical school that June. I doubted I would be able to still accomplish any of those things, but Tammy's support, motivation, and encouragement not only got me through that awful time, but also allowed me to successfully accomplish all that I had originally set out to do. I could write paragraphs about just how grateful I am to have Tammy in my life, but I hope that this gives everyone an idea of just how amazing of a human being she is.

What advice would you give to incoming UMass students?
My advice would be to do more than you think you can. I took AP English and AP history classes in high school, and avoided science classes because I was told I had a humanities focused brain and not a STEM one. When I got to UMass, no one knew what I was capable of and I wanted to see if I had what it took to do a pre-medical track. I got an A in every science class I took, became a chemistry tutor, and I scored above the 90th percentile on my MCAT. If someone told me in high school that I would be where I am today, I would've thought they had my future confused with someone else. College is a chance for a clean slate and a chance to become a new person if that's what you choose to do; you should not come in with a fixed mindset.

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
My biggest takeaway is to be a self-advocate. From speaking up to professors who you think have misgraded your work to stepping in at the first chance you see a table opening up at a dining hall, UMass has taught me to not be afraid to speak up for myself with confidence.

What is next for you?
I will be going to the UMass Chan Medical School in August! UMass Med was my top choice for medical school, and I am so incredibly grateful for all that UMass Amherst has done to help me accomplish something I never thought I could.