By Elizabeth Gallagher '17 and Lissa Jimenez '16
April 9, 2015
Vivian Fitzgerald graduated in May, 2014 from Saint Anselm College with a major in Psychology. She is originally from Chicago, and transferred as a junior from Stonehill College where she played volleyball. Her sophomore year she spoke to the volleyball coach here at Saint A’s, got recruited and fell in love with the campus which led to her decision to transfer. Vivian liked the sense of community and social awareness on campus, she commented that, “Saint A’s graduates aren’t just trying to make money, they are trying to make a difference.” Because of these experiences at Saint A’s, Vivian decided to work for a year post graduation for AmeriCorps Vista (volunteer service in the United States).
Through AmeriCorps, she works for Campus Compact, a small nonprofit organization in New Hampshire. Their focus is to promote college awareness to high school students of low economic status. Viv was placed to work for the service and solidarity program through campus ministry at Saint Anselm, organizing service trips in the US and internationally. In her time at Saint A’s, Vivian was also a participant in these trips.
Her senior research project, which was conducted in the Psych Department, focused on Examining Female Involvement in Sport Effect on Communication. She worked with Prof. Brady to replicate a study that looked at nonverbal communication styles in a lab setting. She recreated this in the psychology department observation room using the NOLDUS program to code behavior of athletes and non athletes. Vivian’s hypothesis was that female athletes have more male nonverbal communication tendencies than female non athletes. There were four main nonverbal characteristics she coded for including talking duration, fillers used in conversation, upper body movement, and lower body movement. Her hypothesis was supported and found an increase in all of the male nonverbal characteristics in the female athletes versus female non athletes. Vivian presented her research at the New England Psychological Association and won eighth place overall for her poster out of over one hundred other students.
One of Vivian’s contributions to the Saint Anselm community is bringing the Special Olympics to Saint A’s because of her experiences volunteering at the Stonehill College Special Olympics. The next step for Vivian is to pursue a career in occupational therapy.