I believe the experiences of marginalized populations need to be studied further to provide more representative understandings of human psychology.
"Ever since high school, I knew I wanted to pursue psychology as a career. However, when I began my studies at Bucknell, I soon found other problems I wanted to tackle. In particular, I noticed that a lot of the participant groups in case studies that were used to make statements about the general population typically consisted of upper-middle-class white men. I was confused by how researchers could make assumptions based on such a small population. From there, I started searching for courses that could help fill some of these gaps.
"When I took my first Africana studies course, I was hooked. It resonated with me in a way I hadn't yet experienced in other classes. We covered everything from what it means to be black in America to how black stories in history have been strategically erased from our textbooks. I was already aware of many of the experiences we studied, but this class gave me the vocabulary necessary to carry on insightful conversations. It also gave me the lens to critique the social positioning of people of color that could be applied to that gap I saw in psychology.
"I was able to explore this gap further through my summer research with the psychology department. I focused on how parents of color raising their children in predominantly white neighborhoods tried to instill cultural pride. I found that these parents were very aware of the role they played in their children's socialization to their racial or ethnic culture. Typically, the parents face the conflict of wanting their children to assimilate into the local community while also recognizing the reality that they are different from their peers and could be treated differently as a result. I believe the experiences of marginalized populations need to be studied further to provide more representative understandings of human psychology.
"My ultimate goal is to use my two majors to open an affordable mental health clinic in an underserved community — hopefully my hometown. There is such a huge stigma against seeking mental health help in areas that could greatly benefit from it. My Africana studies major provides me a deep understanding of these areas, their history and the race relations that place people into certain conditions, while psychology would allow me to clinically practice and treat individuals."
Grevelin is from Bronx, N.Y.
Posted May 2018