Student Spotlight: Class: Brynne Growney, ‘21

Brynne Growney, ‘21

What attracted you to Drew?

There were many things that attracted me to Drew. 1. I was interested in doing the Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Leadership.  I knew I didn’t want to go the typical psychology route and become a counselor, teacher or researcher and wanted something that would help me stand out. Since I’m a natural mediator I felt the certificate was a good fit.  2. I was recruited to play on the soccer team and I loved Christa Racine, the Athletics Director and Head Soccer coach. She is very supportive of her players getting involved at Drew in ways other than through sports.  3.  I also met Dr. Jill Cermele before I committed to come here at an Admissions event and now she’s my thesis advisor so everything has come full circle in the best way.  She’s the best!  4. Lastly, I felt there were like-minded people here because other campuses I visited weren’t as welcoming as Drew.  Everyone here seemed willing to help me no matter what I needed and that has held true over my four years at Drew.

Did you know that you wanted to major in psychology when you started at Drew?

I knew I wanted to pursue psychology since my freshman or sophomore year in high school because I love people and I am interested in why they do what they do.  Since I’ve always loved volunteering and/or helping people, I  want to end up in the non-profit sector or possibly mediation and arbitration.  I really enjoy giving back because I’ve been so fortunate in my life. I think psychology was a good choice for me because it has taught me to meet people where they are and it provides a solid foundation for building relationships with others.

Have you done any internships?

The first internship I had was the summer after my first year at Onward Recovery; they serve those with substance abuse issues.  I really enjoyed it and learned a lot because my supervisor and others in the office were so welcoming and helpful in teaching me. I was allowed to do some in-processing of patients and it was a great experience but definitely emotionally draining.  The questions on the in-processing form that I had to ask were not simply demographic questions so there were many highly emotional conversations.  This exposed me to a side of life I hadn’t really experienced before so I did a lot of growing up during that internship. Although it was an amazing opportunity, I realized this type of work was not the right career for me and would have been worried about burnout.

During the second semester of my junior year I interned at the The Angeletti Group, in New Vernon, NJ before it was cut short by COVID-19. Luckily, I was rehired this semester. The Angeletti Group is philanthropic counsel that does a lot of work in healthcare and education as well as some work with community groups.  They are also currently working with the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.  I help them with executive searches, screening people, and do some work with data along with general clerical work.  It’s really cool to see the back-end of things to see how much work goes into making a successful non-profit organization and be able to work with everyone there.

This past summer (2020), I interned at Garnet Health Foundation in Middletown, NY which is my major local hospital.  I never considered working for a foundation until I learned about them during the Semester on Social Entrepreneurship. I liked it because I got to experience what it was like to work 9 to 5 Monday through Friday for the whole summer.  A large part of my internship was working on a golf fundraiser that they usually do in June but, because of the pandemic, they made it a socially distanced event in September and I was able to go back and help out with it. I learned so much from all of my colleagues and they made me feel more like part of their team than a summer intern.

Have you done any short or nycTRECs?

I did the Semester on Social Entrepreneurship in NYC. Taking that class allowed me to deep dive into the many types of non-profits. Prof. Jennifer Olmstead was great because she was always so flexible; if the class was interested in something, she took the time to talk to us about it instead of moving on to the next scheduled topic. I loved that we were able to talk about the theory, apply it, and see it in action, which made it much easier to learn.  I would definitely recommend this semester to all students because the topics are interdisciplinary so students with different interests and majors will get something out of it.

I also studied for a full semester in Australia. I applied straight to the University of Melbourne and joined the soccer team for the university, volunteered, got to see a show at the Sydney Opera, held a koala bear, fed kangaroos, and received my diving certification so I was able to dive on the Great Barrier Reef.

What are some of your favorite memories of Drew?

My favorite memories revolve around my friends who are so important to me. I know they will be in my life forever. Some of my favorite memories happened my first year when I lived on Welch’s 2nd floor.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out?

Use your first couple of semesters to branch out.  Take a variety of 101 classes so you are absolutely sure you know what you want to major in. I have so many friends that ended up switching majors later on because they took a class sophomore year that they did not realize would interest them so much.

Also, if you have questions, don’t be shy and ask someone! Take advantage of the many available resources and know that everyone is always happy to help.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I definitely plan on doing something to help people so right now I’m in the non-profit mindset.  After my foundation internship, I’m considering a position in non-profit development or corporate social responsibility.

Photo by Brynne Growney – Australian sunset.

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