Julia Williams '19 on Learning to Think Critically
What made you choose your program at Simmons?
I switched into psychology when I realized that nursing was not for me. I was more interested in learning about the brain and what it is about stigma that shapes and evolves the way we internalize the world around us. While on the smaller side, the psychology department is full of wonderful professors who are all very compassionate educators. It made learning so much more accessible, interactive, and beautifully complex.
Tell us about interning at Harvard Medical School (HMS).
I started working at the Sabatini Lab of the neuroscience department at HMS as a work study in the spring of my first year. My job was pretty simple: touch mice, put them in experiment boxes, save data into a folder, and feed/water them as directed. But the longer I stayed, my reputation as a “mouse whisperer” helped me stay on and work for different graduate students/post-docs. During my senior internship, I got to hone my base scientific skills, as well as learn technically challenging things like mouse brain surgeries, data analysis, and discuss papers.
What lessons will stick with you after graduation?
Simmons has taught me how to think critically. That might not sound like much, but in high school we were never expected to dissect an issue. In all of my Simmons courses we were expected to have actual debates on various topics. Because of this, I've learned how to truly examine an issue from all sides.
What is your favorite Simmons memory?
The course "Psychology of Women." With opinions flying everywhere, it was my personal welcome to the wizarding world of “caring about social issues and analyzing them critically.”