Spring 2017 UCF Graduate
Desia majored in psychology and is a spring 2017 graduate. She was a LEAD Scholar, Resident Assistant, teaching assistant, Counseling and Psychological Services Peer Educator, research assistant, and McNair Scholar.
Student Development and Enrollment Services asked Desia the following questions:
***Where were you from before coming to UCF?
I am originally from a small town in northeast Florida, Callahan, but I attended school in nearby Jacksonville.
***What made you decide to come to UCF?
I toured UCF early on in the college search process, and I sat by the Reflecting Pond, called my mom, and told her I was going to go here. A few years later when I was going through the college application process, UCF seemed like a great fit because of the resources it has to offer students, as well as not being too far from home.
***What impressed you the most when you visited the campus?
There was so much of it! I liked that the campus did not have everything on top of each other, and there was room to not just explore, but to grow as a campus community, as well as personally. There are little places around campus that make it special, like our arboretum and Lake Claire, that are really nice to have to relax, as well as CSEL and SARC, that exist to help you succeed.
***How did you come to the conclusion of your passion to what you wanted to major in?
I came in as a psychology major, and I am graduating with a psychology degree, but what I plan to do with that degree has changed in my time here. I always loved psychology and knew I wanted to help people, so I came in believing I would eventually get a master’s in occupational therapy and work with exceptional children. After speaking with some mentors both at UCF and in the community, I realized I could make an impact on lives through research in my field, which led me to developmental psychology.
***Did you get involved while you were here?
Here at UCF, I am a Resident Assistant, a CAPS Peer Educator, a research assistant, and a McNair Scholar. I have also been a teaching assistant, a LEAD Scholar, and a student leader at Central Florida Hillel. In the surrounding community, I really enjoy volunteering with the Autism Society of Greater Orlando, the Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida, and at Winter Park Day Nursery – all of which I initially started volunteering with through VUCF!
***Did you utilize SDES services while you were here?
Definitely – Student Development and Enrollment Services runs so much deeper than people realize! I have attended group exercise classes at the Recreation and Wellness Center. I go to the Student Health Services anytime I am sick. I worked for Housing and Residence Life. I am a McNair Scholar, which is a TRiO program. I am a LEAD Scholar. I have attended workshops at Career Services. I am a Peer Educator for Counseling and Psychological Services. I became SafeZone certified through Social Justice and Advocacy. I eat, study, and attend events in the Student Union. My current research is even conducted through SDES!
***Was there something that you very much appreciated at UCF?
I really appreciated the encouraging environment that the university provided. I never once had someone tell me I could not do something or that my goals were too lofty, but rather people would tell me about the resources they knew about or point me in the direction of someone who would know about those resources. I feel that the LEAD Scholars Academy and the faculty and staff there were instrumental to my level of success here at UCF. The program helped me find the McNair Program, which then helped prepare me and propel me successfully towards graduate school.
***Future plans after graduation?
After graduating from UCF this May, I am looking forward to entering a Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program in fall 2017 at University of Wisconsin – Madison. After obtaining my Ph.D., I hope to become a professor, continue my research, and to mentor underrepresented students.
***If you could talk to other future students who are entering UCF, what would you say?
Take advantage of your university resources! We are lucky here at UCF because we have so many offices and people on campus whose sole job is to help students in so many different ways. Take advantage of CAPS and the free life coaching they have there! Go try the different exercise classes at the RWC while you don't have to pay for a separate gym membership! Learn about organic gardening techniques and take home some fresh produce from the arboretum! Really, utilize the things your activity fees pay for, because in the 'real' world, they cost so much more.