By Ingrid Gooch ’16
When I was a senior at Hood College, I received the incredible news that I had been nominated for The Best of Hood. My beloved alma mater, one of the top liberal arts colleges, considered me one of its most outstanding constituents. I was overwhelmed, and tremendously honored.
Several academic experiences at Hood have stayed with me in my post-baccalaureate career. During a year-long fellowship with the National Institute of Health (NIH) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), I was introduced to the leading health disparity research. The overwhelming majority of research on effective means of reducing disparities involves application of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, a concept with which I have been fascinated since I first studied it in Survey of Clinical, Community, and Counseling Psychology with Dr. Wanda Ruffin. Not only have I continued to reference this theory when discussing health issues in my non-professional life, but its widespread application among top scientists at NIH demonstrates the incredible value of holding a degree in psychology from Hood College. Of course, the psychology department offers its students even more than the exemplary coursework! My scientific career truly began with Dr. Elizabeth MacDougall in her Geriatric Assessment Research Lab (GARL). The lab offers its students applied training opportunities in which they gain experience and insight into real, scientific experience (survey data acquisition, data analysis, manuscript preparation, poster preparation, and so forth). The department’s genuine care for students’ success and well-being is unmatched.