Avila Now

May 25, 2022

Q&A: Eleanor Dick, current MSP student

Eleanor Dick with poster presentation

Eleanor Dick has a fascination with human behavior and a love for research. Her passion and curiosity brought her to Avila to pursue a Master of Science in Psychology.

“Avila has exposed me to several different types of research experiences, all of which have been fun and exciting, and will prepare me greatly for getting into a Ph.D. program.”

Eleanor Dick, current MSP student

What surprised you about Avila or the psychology program?

I am surprised by how close I am to my classmates and professors. I didn’t anticipate developing meaningful relationships so quickly and easily. I knew Avila would offer what I wanted from my education, but it has given me so much more!

Why did you choose Avila for your master’s program? Did something speak to you? Did something click? Gut feeling?

Besides being close to home, I chose Avila because I had a really good recommendation about the program from a friend who completed his MS in Psychology here. That gave me the confidence that Avila has a good psychology graduate program. On top of that, I knew Avila was a good school and they were very flexible with admissions—I knew very quickly that I was accepted, which was something at the time that I wanted. 

Why psychology?

I’ve loved psychology since my junior year of high school! I just find human behavior so fascinating and enjoy using the scientific method to explore research questions. I love research, but I also really love writing—so psychology combines the two in a way that I enjoy.

How did you develop relationships with classmates and students?

I met my best friend at Avila during a new-student orientation—as cliché as that sounds! She was the only other person in the MS Psychology with a research track from the KC area, so I asked where she was from and we became friends from there! So with her, and my other friends in the program, we developed friendships by consistently having the same classes together. In each of my classes, the students overlap a lot. I like that because I consistently have people who are in the same boat as I am, and who can help me with my classes when I am stuck.

What professional goals do you have for the future, and how has your Avila education prepared you to pursue these goals?

My goal is to work as a research psychologist! Avila provides substantial research experience that prepares me for a Ph.D. program. I think at this point I am most interested in social psychology. I am also interested in experimental psychology or school psychology.

What types of research experiences have you had thus far?

The obvious research experience I’ve gained is through Research Design and Analysis I. During that class, I created a literature review for variables of my choosing and did a hypothetical research proposal. Researching and writing a literature review was a valuable experience. I was also able to use my literature review and submit it to the Great Plains Conference in Emporia, Kansas. I was accepted, presented a poster for my literature review, and won an award, “Outstanding Graduate Poster!” This has been my favorite research experience so far, as it was my first time presenting a poster at a conference, and I won an award.

I have also gained research experience through Dr. P’s (Marcia Paqualini’s) lab. In the lab, I am a part of the development of the ASAPS Scale, which is designed to measure public speaking anxiety in individuals. My role in the research is to learn how to properly use the scale, so my classmates who have developed it so far know if it will be successful or not. Within the lab, I am also working on another research project that involves analyzing the usefulness of the PRPSA (another public speaking anxiety scale) by taking data we obtained and conducting a factor analysis to see if it aligns with the original authors’ findings.

Avila has exposed me to several different types of research experiences, all of which have been fun and exciting, and will prepare me greatly for getting into a Ph.D. program.

Who at Avila (faculty, staff, or other students) did you form an inspired relationship with, and how did they assist you?

The most helpful resources I’ve used at Avila are the professors! For example, Dr. Wagge, Dr. P (Pasqualini), and Dr. Branch each offer unique perspectives on the material, research, and graduate school as a whole/Ph.D. options, etc.

One of my favorite relationships I’ve made so far at Avila is with Dr. Wagge. I’m the graduate assistant for her undergrad Psychological Statistics and Methods I course. She helps me understand my research interests, look for/apply to Ph.D. programs, and answer questions.

Dr. Wagge inspires me by breaking down the barriers of the typical professor or classroom experience. She makes class, as her student and as her graduate assistant for her undergraduate class, a very fun and exciting learning environment. She makes me and her other students want to be there and want to learn. By taking the “pressure” away, we can thrive and absorb the content. Plus she is fun and always has puzzles to put together in her office!

What’s one of your favorite parts about being on campus?

I am a commuter student and only really on campus for class, but when I am on campus I love seeing my friends and all the squirrels! I also always get a really good parking spot which is nice.

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