"I've always been interested in psychology and in how the brain itself works," says Amber Thomas '18. "That's why I want to pursue neuropsychology. It's a perfect blend of both these interests."
Before deciding to pursue neuropsychology in her junior year, Amber was already a biology major as well as a Division I soccer player. For neuropsychology, she added a second major in applied psychology, and plans for graduate school.
She said her faculty advisors helped her make it all work. "Professor [Joseph] Trunzo, my mentor, has been my advocate from the start,” says Thomas. The Professor of Applied Psychology "helped me find required courses, professional contacts, and research experiences to help me prepare for graduate school, since I’ll also need my PhD."
Professor Trunzo’s dedication to helping his students is just one reason why Thomas found being a student in Bryant's close-knit community so rewarding. “You form strong relationships here. Many of my opportunities first came to me through a professor.”
One of those opportunities, a neuropsychology internship, allowed her to assist professional neuropsychologists, who evaluate and treat people with neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders. "It's affirmed why I want to be a neuropsychologist. I want to use my problem-solving skills to help people who are living with neurological disorders. The more I learn, the more I love it," says Thomas.
Bryant’s distinctive curriculum, in which all students with an arts and sciences major select a complementary business minor and vice versa, meant that Thomas also benefitted from the broadened perspective her business courses provided. "My minor is in human resources. It's about people—and so is healthcare," she notes.
Thomas is now a research assistant at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston – a research opportunity that will help her narrow her research interests—potentially focusing on brain injury. Then it’s off to graduate school.
Applied Psychology Research Assistant at Bryant University
• Work with faculty to achieve research needs. Conduct literature reviews for manuscripts, develop comprehensive bibliographies, and edit manuscripts
Research Fellow in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program
• Performed biomedical research in the SURF Program, supported by RI-INBRE and the National Institutes of Health
• Conducted research experiment at University of Rhode Island in Dr. Seeram's Bioactive Botanical Research Laboratory: used Indian Gooseberry (amla) to treat microscopic worms transgenically engineered to express characteristics of Alzheimer's Disease
• Presented data at the SURF conference
NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Team
NEC Academic Honor Roll, awarded to student-athletes who have maintained a GPA of 3.20 or above
Neuropsychology Intern, F.R. Sparadeo and Associates
• Observe and learn the process of neuropsychological assessment including initial interviews, testing, and case analysis
• Tutored in subject matter and worked with students to assist in the discovery of their strengths, and motivating them to achieve their potential
• Served as a peer mentor for students exploring their major and career options
• Scientific Research Honor Society
• International Honor Society in Psychology
President’s List Honors
Dean’s Student Advisory Council
• Represent the Science Department at monthly meetings with the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and department chairs
Bryant's purposeful student life delivers co-curricular immersion with an inspiring, collegial community. Students forge deep connections that last a lifetime.