Student Spotlight: Cassidy Conklin C’22                          

Student Spotlight:  Cassidy Conklin  C’22

What attracted you to Drew?

I was attracted to Drew because of the great athletic program, small class sizes, and civic engagement opportunities. I was excited to be an athlete on the Drew Women’s Golf team and get to know my classmates, professors, and my community.

Why did you choose Psychology as a major and Political Science and Sociology as minors?

Going into college, I was always interested in helping careers. At first, I wanted to major in Political Science and help others through policies and government. However, after taking a few Psychology classes, I saw how important it was to study how humans think, feel, and behave. For me, it was really interesting to see how Psychology is important in learning about humans and can be even more helpful in finding new ways to help others. Sociology, which studies human’s social behavior, helped me understand how society and social problems affect individuals as well. Overall, I like these three subjects together because I think they all help me understand individual and group human behavior and what can be done for the betterment of individuals and society.

Did you have an idea of a dream job when you started at Drew?

When I started Drew, I dreamed about developing my own nonprofit organization. My volunteering and activism work before Drew led me to feel very passionate about helping others. After working with many different nonprofit organizations through the Civic Scholars program, I have seen the incredibly positive impact these organizations have on the individuals and families that they serve. Through these experiences, I was able to work closely with nonprofit organizations that help the homeless. In the future, I would like to create my own nonprofit organization that combats homelessness. I would like for it to not only help individuals escape homelessness with providing housing, but give them the tools and resources they need to be successful.

Have you done any internships?

I have interned with The Morristown Neighborhood House my sophomore year at Drew. The Morristown Neighborhood House is a nonprofit organization that provides programs and resources for individuals ages 2 to 102 in the Morris County area. Through this internship, I was able to assist a Preschool Teacher in one of their many preschool classrooms. In this position, I helped a classroom of 10 children ages 3-4 with their weekly curriculum, class activities, physical education time, and many other tasks. This experience helped me learn about how class curriculum is created and implemented, work with very diverse, smart, and kind children, and fully see the importance of this organization and how their work positively impacts the community.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?

Because of my involvement with many different programs and opportunities at Drew, I have been lucky to have many mentors in all aspects of the Drew community.

Civic Engagement’s Assistant Director Amy Sugerman and Director Dr. Amy Koritz are the two most amazing mentors I could ever ask for. They have both taught me the importance of civic engagement, organization, professionalism, and teamwork. Not only that, but they have always been there to offer advice, provide me with amazing opportunities, and guide me every step of the way. They are so supportive, kind, and willing to help and have been a big part of all my successes at Drew.

Coach Maura Ballard and Assistant Coach Joe Gothmann have helped me excel on the golf course and in the classroom. They have challenged me to be the best version of myself that I can be and to push myself athletically and academically. Under their guidance, our team has been so successful, and I have been able to grow so much as a person, athlete, and student.

In the classroom, Political Science Professor Dr. Patrick McGuinn and Psychology Professor Dr. G. Scott Morgan helped me find the subjects that I am passionate about and gave me experiences and opportunities to apply what I have learned in class to the real world. Their classes, such as Dr. McGuinn’s Social Policy and Inequality in America class and Dr. Morgan’s Political Psychology class, are my favorite classes that I’ve taken at Drew, and I looked forward to taking more of their great courses in the future.

Can you talk about some of your favorite Civic Engagement experiences?

I have not studied abroad, but I have done a lot of off campus experiences. Through my Social Policy and Inequality in America class, we were able to partner with the Interfaith Food Pantry to help them research food insecurity for the senior citizen population in Morris County. I was able to interview senior citizen individuals and visit many different organizations around Morris County, including the Interfaith Food Pantry and the Soup Kitchen of Morristown, to learn more about their work for the community and the populations that they serve.

Social policy and inequality class — Morristown Soup Kitchen, volunteering with their farmers market.

Second, in my first year of the Civic Scholars Program, my peers and I partnered with a local middle school to teach them more about international education and prepare a service activity for them to help these students. Together, we organized an entire presentation about the differences of students in America and students in Honduras and the Dominican Republic. After this presentation, we allowed the students to do their part in providing kids across the world with more school supplies, so we all decorated notebooks and wrote encouraging messages to the students in those notebooks. We donated over 100 notebooks to the children in Honduras and the Dominican Republic, exceeding our goal. Not only do the students in America understand international educational differences, but they were given the opportunity to help.

My first-year civic project where we donated notebooks to the school!

What issue in the world means the most to you?

Homelessness and food insecurity are the most important issues to me. After my first hand experiences with those experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity, it just shows how serious and life-long these situations can be without proper help from the government, organizations, and society itself. There is a lot of stigma around individuals or families that are experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity, but with better understanding on how these issues occur and what we can do to help, there can be major changes in how people experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity are treated and how they are supported.

What are a few of your favorite memories of Drew? 

While at Drew, I have been given the opportunity to accomplish so many great things. My favorite memory from my time at Drew has been winning the Landmark Conference Championship two years in a row, but the best experience I had was during my first year when we were given the chance to travel to Houston, Texas and compete with the other best DIII women’s golf teams in the country at the 2019 NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championship. My teammates are my best friends and the most motivated, hardworking, and dedicated women that I know. Being an athlete on and the captain of such a great team has allowed me to excel athletically and in the classroom. I have earned two All-American Scholar-Athlete awards from the Women’s Golf Coaches Association for my freshman and sophomore years, as well as the Women’s Golf MVP for our 2019-2020 season. While our team did not win the 2019 NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championship, it was an unforgettable experience that was so fun and pushed us to work the hardest we had ever worked. I look forward to getting more opportunities to travel and compete with my team and create even better memories together in the future.

My team and I in Texas at the National Championships!

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

I would give new students 3 key pieces of advice. First, try new things or experiences whenever you get the chance! When I entered college, I found most of my passions and hobbies through my extracurricular activities and other opportunities that Drew provided me. It is always good to expand your horizons and find more things that you may be interested in. Second, get to know the Drew community. The faculty, professors, and your peers are great resources for academic help, valuable advice, and life-long friendships. Third, do not stress out too much and enjoy college life at Drew! At times, it seems stressful to figure out your classes, interests, majors, minors, and career all at once, but Drew has so many great opportunities to offer on campus and in the community, so take the time to make great memories with even greater people.

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

In 5 years from now, I would love to see myself out of graduate school with my doctorate in psychology. As a career, I would love to be either a clinical psychologist or school psychologist. In these positions, I would be able to help individuals cope with personal struggles or overcome educational barriers. In my free time, I want to continue volunteering and being involved in my community, and I would still want to be golfing as much as I can!

Any Fun fact (s) you would like to share?

While at Drew, I have completed close to 300 hours of community service!

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