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A Listening Ear, A Shoulder to Cry On: Gabrielle Anderson ’24 (Psychology) to Serve Communities, Families Through Empathy

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Congratulations to the University of Indianapolis Class of 2024! We asked our newest alumni to share their UIndy experience and their post-graduation plans. Meet Gabrielle Anderson, who recently received their Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in business administration and a certificate in aging studies!

Why did you choose to major in psychology?

For the entirety of my life, I have had empathetic qualities, but have always seen myself as being overly sensitive. Over time, after confiding in my family and teachers, I realized that my values and actions aligned with a career in psychology. It had been a set choices of study for a few years prior to college, so I already had preconceived notions of what major I would chose. Serving and helping people emotionally and mentally has always been a passion of mine. Even if it just entailed being a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.

Why did you choose UIndy?

Indianapolis was the city that I knew I wanted to reside in since elementary school. My two older sisters embarked on their college journeys in Indianapolis and I just wanted to be closer to them. It definitely was a “When I grow up…” situation. UIndy checked all of the right boxes from the location to the intimate classrooms and financial aid.

Are you a part of any extracurriculars (RSOs, societies, student leadership, teams, volunteerism, etc.) on or off campus? If so, what are they, and what is your role?

I am a member of the UIndy Chapter of Psi Chi, an International Honor Society in Psychology.

I had the privilege of being the Vice President of Project Regalia. Project Regalia is a student organization that provides resources, strategies, networking opportunities, mental health awareness and so much more. It is a safe space for the African-American women on campus to engage with one another, mentor each other, and provide the right tools to lead them to graduation and beyond.

I was also the liaison of the Association of Black Psychologists – UIndy Student Circle (ABPSI). ABPSI is an organization meant to have a positive impact upon the mental health of the Black community within the Indiana area through programs, service, and advocacy. It promotes and advances the profession of African Psychology/Psychologists through programs healing the mental health of the Black community and African diaspora at large.

Are there any faculty or staff members who have significantly impacted your time at UIndy? If so, who are they, and how did they influence you?

Dr. Michael Poulakis is someone who has made a huge impact on my experience at UIndy. He was my First Year Seminar (FYS) professor and since I was a psychology major, I was able to be his student for two more years. Coming here during COVID was nerve-wracking, yet he made me and my two roommates (they were in the FYS course, as well) feel welcomed and at ease. From check-ins, to his empathy and humor, to his realistic advice, he was/is the coach and cheerleader that I needed to keep pushing.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to take a gap semester before continuing my education with a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, specifically in marriage and family therapy. During the gap semester, I will be gaining experience through research volunteer opportunities and obtaining a full-time job relating to my area of study.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at UIndy?

One of my favorite memories was when I had the opportunity to participate in a fashion show that was hosted by the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Retention Strategy (OIE) during my junior year. Korto Momolu, a Project Runway designer, was the guest designer so it was an honor and privilege to model in her clothing. Also, being able to network with other local designers, models, and students was fulfilling.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

The best advice I can give is to prioritize self-care. I think a lot of times people only prioritize self care once they’ve reached the point of burnout and are trying to fix the problem. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so my advice is to take care of yourself in all aspects of life.