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Q&A with Michael Chambers ‘23 (Psychology)

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Leading up to May Commencement, we’re asking some of our graduates to tell us about their experience as Greyhounds and where their journey will lead them next. Meet May 2023 graduate Michael Chambers, a transfer student who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a minor in Clinical and Counseling Studies, and an Honors concentration at the end of this semester!

Why did you choose to study Psychology?

After nearly a decade of working in various jobs, I finally came to the realization that the aspect I enjoyed most in each role was the human interaction. The things I was most excited about were always the situations where I could engage my passions by helping others. 

In particular, I knew that pursuing psychology would allow me the future possibility of capitalizing on my communication skills and empathy in an environment where I could retain a certain amount of autonomy with respect to a work-life balance. It also doesn’t hurt that the subject matter within psychology is extremely engaging while also being an ever-expanding field. 

Why did you choose to study at UIndy?

Transferring from Ivy Tech Community College, I was interested in UIndy’s Clinical Psychology Doctorate (Psy.D.) program initially but it was after being on campus for the first time and meeting the people here that I knew I had found the right place. University isn’t necessarily a collection of buildings or the campus. It is a gathering of people towards a common goal, and I wanted to be a part of that community here at UIndy.

Are you a part of any extracurriculars (either on or off campus)? If so, what are they and what is your role?

You might not count it as “extracurricular”, but I am a husband to a beautiful wife and a father to two beautiful boys. They are my primary focus outside academics. Within academics, in no particular order: I currently serve as the Vice President of the Honors Student Association, where my role has me supporting the other members of the executive board as we engage with students in the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College and across campus through events geared towards critical thinking and discussions. 

I am the UIndy student representative for the Mid-East Honors Association (MEHA) which is hosting the annual MEHA conference in Indianapolis this year. I am a founding member of UIndy Dungeons & Dragons Club, where we meet weekly to nerd out in the best way possible. I regularly serve as a student panelist for incoming and transfer student events on behalf of the Office of Admissions.

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?

Well, I’m surely going to leave somebody off my list, so I apologize. Not to mention this could go on forever so I’ll try and keep it concise. 

Ben Houston, in admissions, made the transfer process so easy and helped me with my Honors project. Dr. James Williams, Executive Director of the Honors College, welcomed me into the program here and has been a mentor ever since. Dr. Katie Boucher has been an amazing academic and Honors project advisor, not to mention is one of the best educators I’ve ever met. Dr. Michael Poulakis has also been an amazing Honors project advisor and has helped me to keep a smile on my face when stress was at its peak. 

Professor Rebecca McKanna helped me to pursue my creative writing and seek publication. Brittany Dyer in ProEdge has been an invaluable asset with grad school preparation. Dr. Samantha Gray was a supportive sounding board leading up to grad school applications. Dr. Stephen Zimmerly has somehow gotten me interested in young adult literature again. Professor Wendy McCoy has had the patience to teach a psych major about algebra and trig. Dr. Stephanie Rudd graciously allowed me to join her research lab and gain valuable experience. Professor Nichols has ensured I will never forget the influence that Versailles had on Europe. 

Dr. Nathan Johnson gave me entirely new (historical) perspectives on a pretty famous piece of writing. Professor Atzhorn posed a very powerful question that I have yet to figure out. (Dr. Loria) gave me the space to expand my thoughts about complex ideas. Coach Warthan got me back into physical fitness. Dr. Karen Newman helped me make international connections. Mark and Barb, in admissions, have been fervent supporters. Steven Freck and Jessica Ward have always been so kind and caring. Professor Seo is currently helping me untangle the complexities of intersectionality. And Professor Jonathon Johnson has been a mentor in my journey.

Each of these individuals have significantly impacted my time here at UIndy. And probably others that I have foolishly overlooked.

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

That’s difficult to pinpoint, I think broadly speaking it is the memories of the awesome conversations I have had with professors and peers. Or better yet, since I still have several years to go, I bet that memory hasn’t even happened yet!

What are your plans after graduation? 

More school! I was accepted into the 2023 cohort for the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program and selected as the recipient of the Excellence in Academic Performance Fellowship, so starting in the fall, I will be right back here on campus!

How did your degree program prepare you for your next steps?

I would say more so that it was the people here that prepared me for the next steps. From the classmates sharing their perspectives and listening to mine, to faculty and staff who wrote letters of recommendation or reviewed my documentation for application. Most importantly to the professors who took the time to make sure I was competent in the subject matter.

What advice would you give to incoming transfer students?

You deserve to be here. You have earned your accomplishments and are worthy of praise.

Get involved and consider biting off more than you can chew because it is always easier to pull back when necessary than to wish you had done more after the fact. You are capable of far greater things than you can currently comprehend.

Photo credit: Joseph Donlin