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Exploring What Minnesota has to Offer

January 15, 2016

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL
Major: Psychology
Minor: Neuroscience

“As a high school student, I couldn’t have imagined the variety of opportunities I’ve taken advantage of during my undergraduate career.”

Erin Begnel is a student who demonstrates the sheer magnitude of options that are available to liberal arts students. In reference to her studies in psychology, she said, “As I’ve gone through college, I became more interested in the clinical side and understanding why normal functioning goes awry in some people; this has steered me towards the biological side [of psychology]."

Erin’s passion for research is evident from her role as research assistant in three labs. The Department of Psychiatry, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, and the Engel Vision and Imaging Lab have all benefited through Erin’s involvement. “One achievement I’m particularly proud of is to have obtained co-authorship as an undergraduate. The article has been published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews and is titled ‘Conceptualizing the Neurobiology of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury from the Perspective of the Research Domain Criteria Project.’”

“The liberal arts [education] has made me more culturally aware and better able to understand the impact that I can have within the community.”

During her time outside school, Erin has been involved with several internships. As a family focused intern with the Washburn Center for Children, she worked with five-year-old boys with varying degrees of behavioral, emotional, and developmental issues in a classroom setting. Her work included facilitating a support system and to assist them with their treatment goals. Erin was also an advocacy intern with the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health this past summer. Her work dealt with compiling advocacy information for the benefit of parents and caretakers of children with mental health diagnoses.

Erin attributes part of her success to the plethora of options that the University of Minnesota provides. “The U, specifically, has paved the way for what I want to do professionally. From taking different courses to becoming involved in the research performed at a top research university, I never thought I could be doing as much as I currently am.” After graduation, Erin plans to attend graduate school for clinical psychology or special education with a specialty in emotional and behavioral disturbances.

This story was written by an undergraduate student account executive in CLAgency. Meet the team.