Featured Alumni: Olyvia Kuchta

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1. When did you graduate? I graduated in May 2015.

2. What do you do now? I recently graduated with my masters degree in Cognitive and Social Psychology from Ball State University. At the beginning of the new semester I will be teaching Research Methods at UW-Madison.

3. Why did you major in psychology? I majored in psychology because it is something I am so passionate about and find myself getting wrapped up in, I can truly find my “flow” and spend hours with the rest of the world out of focus as I stay in the zone focusing on data analysis, reading research articles, or writing research papers. Moreover, I am passionate about social justice and I believe psychology is one powerful tool that can allow us to move toward a more equal society as it can help understand behaviors such as stereotypes, attitudes, prejudice and discrimination and what can be done to ameliorate some of their negative effects.

4. What do you do for fun? I spend time with my family, garden, run, do weightlifting, do Zumba, do kickboxing, read, do research, cook, go to coffee shops, check out cool new places, do crafts. I also enjoy going to local events and meeting new people.

5. What academic experience or accomplishment are you most proud of? When I graduated from UWGB, I was the graduating class speaker and I was able to share my story in front of the class I graduated with as words of inspiration as we graduated. I was honored to do that then and I still feel so proud of myself for doing that. Also, I completed a thesis project in graduate school on female leadership and feminist identity which was a big accomplishment for me as well.

6. What’s your favorite movie, book, and TV show related to psychology?  I’m not much of a movie buff, but probably even though I know Dr. Martin would give me a hard time, I really like Shutter Island a lot. I also like Girl, interrupted as well.  For books, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. For TV shows, Dexter or Criminal Minds.  And can I add podcast? I love Hidden Brain (and fellow psychology nerds will love it too), Code Switch, and Criminal.

7. . What’s an important goal or accomplishment you are currently working on? My dream is to get my PhD in social psychology and be a professor doing research on gender and sexuality and teaching. I am currently working on a few publications and research projects and will continue to do research and teach to prepare myself for a doctoral program. I also strive to maintain a happy and healthy body, mind, and attitude to keep myself motivated and maintain a good work life balance. Moreover, I also work hard to be a role model and advocate for other women and minorities and it is my hope and goal that my research and advocacy can serve to empower minorities and guide policies that can shape a more equal, accepting, and peaceful world.

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