Abbey Westphal

Abbey Westphal

Hometown: Iron River, Mich.
Class: fourth year
Areas of interest: clinical psychology; behavioral and neural science

Postgraduation plans: enroll in a doctoral program in clinical psychology or a master's program in social work

On-campus involvement: Association of Psychology Students; Blue Key; Dial Help Campus Victim Response Team volunteer

Other Activities: Dial Help Crisis Unit trained; Phoenix House intern; certified EMT; snowboarding instructor; enjoys playing hockey and horseback riding

Abbey Says . . .

  • What do you love most about psychology, and why did you choose it for your major?
    I wish to go into clinical psychology and help people in that capacity. I really like that the psychology field is open and can be fine-tuned to your own interests. And you have to learn about yourself, because the practice of psychology is intertwined with all aspects of your life. You need to fix your own baggage, or at least learn how to recognize it, otherwise you are carrying around something that could potentially taint your work.
  • What do you feel is unique about the psychology program at Michigan Tech?
    I feel like the networking and undergraduate research opportunities are unique to Michigan Tech. At larger schools, there’s a long waiting list for research assistant positions. Here, there’s greater opportunity for undergraduates to become involved in faculty research—you just have to express an interest and, of course, be sure you have the appropriate prerequisites. This is important when applying to a graduate school: you need strong letters of recommendation and strong hands-on experiences, which I believe are more difficult to come by at other universities.
  • What do you like most about the department?
    We are close-knit. The department is like its own community. Most of the students are on a first-name basis with the advisor, or they work closely with another faculty member. Every one of my instructors has been supportive and willing to provide advice. I also like the diversity of the student body.
  • What should prospective psychology students know about the ambassador program?
    You shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions. The main reason we are student ambassadors is to help prospective students out. Feel free to shoot us an email asking us what psychology is like at Tech.
  • What do you like most about being a psychology ambassador?
    I like being able to help people. When I first started college, it was difficult for me to reach out and ask for help. Having the opportunity to reach out and offer up my knowledge and experiences—and helping people make some of the right decisions toward their future—is rewarding.
  • What advice do you have for prospective psychology students?
    Go into a psychology degree program with an open mind. A lot of incoming students focus on the clinical side of psychology, but only a small number of graduates actually choose this career pathway. Keep your options open. Also, psychology at Tech is something to consider. There are so many things you can do with a psychology background—both within the department and outside of school.