Seniors Samantha “Sam” Reis and Brittany Foster named the Department of Psychology's Outstanding Senior (Reis) and Distinguished Senior (Foster).
Sam Reis is the Department of Psychology’s Outstanding Senior for the 2018-2019 academic year. Sam will graduate summa cum laude with a BS in Psychology-Human Services concentration and minors in Criminal Justice and Leadership Studies while completing a thesis under Twila Wingrove’s direction and earning honors from the Department and Honors College. After graduation, Sam will attend UNC Chapel Hill to begin work on a Master’s in Social Work. Her long term goal is to combine her passions for psychology and criminal justice, become a licensed clinical social worker, and work with youth, perhaps juvenile offenders.
When Sam was asked if there was something she would really like people to know, she said, “ Growth is not linear. I think it can be so ingrained in us that there is a set timeline to do things, especially after graduation, but there is no single right or wrong way. I've realized that everyone's path and version of success looks different, and it is more than okay to deviate from this ‘set timeline’ if that's what you think you need.”
The Department of Psychology’s Distinguished Senior for 2018-2019 is Brittany Foster. Brittany will graduate summa cum laude with a BS in Psychology-Human Services concentration while completing her thesis under JP Jameson’s direction and earning honors from the Department. Her research interests are in mental health—particularly issues surrounding suicide.
In Fall 2019, Brittany will start work toward a Doctor of Psychology degree here at Appalachian as part of our first PsyD cohort. She says she’ll remember her undergraduate years as time for making new friends, having new experiences, and finding her passion for psychology, and she looks forward to spending another four years or so at Appalachian and in Boone with it’s friendly atmosphere and engaging and helpful professors.
Brittany’s long term goals are to earn her doctorate and practice in underserved rural areas. She would like to return to her home town and either work in the high school as a clinician or in a behavioral health care setting. Brittany told me she hopes to be a clinician who helps decrease the stigma around mental illness and who spreads suicide awareness in the communities that she serves.