Spotlight on Alumni: Vivian Fitzgerald ’14

By Elizabeth Gallagher '17 and Lissa Jimenez '16
April 9, 2015

Viv2Vivian 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.

“Me, Myself, and I” Presentation by Dr. Gilbert M. Foley

By Mackenzie Wild '16 and Kelsie Cameron '17

We would first like to thank Dr. Gilbert M. Foley, EdD for joining us on campus alongside many accomplished professionals in the field! As students, it is always great to see our facilities such as the NHIOP being used openly by the community whilst also allowing students to gain a broader knowledge of study from outside the College’s affiliates. For those of us interested in childhood psychology, trauma, and attachment, this program was a great supplement to our studies.

This presentation was very enriching because of the amount of detail and background given to support the main objective that infants, toddlers, and children have specific and important attachment needs. Not only was evidence of this idea provided by brain scans of children whom had experienced neglect, but also in the philosophical formation of the self. The early formation of the self plays a role in the “Brain-Self Connection” in that a lack of ego identification can be detected in many (though not one specific) locus of the brain. Ego and early sense of self can only be developed properly within a secure and stimulating attachment environment, further promoting the importance of early childhood and parental interventions. Alongside this concept, it is clear that children in particular need secure attachment through relationships, affection, sensation, and language in order to relate to the rest of the world through their sense of self.

As students in this field, what should we be focusing on as we approach our professional research and fieldwork? Dr. Foley suggests that attachment interventions should incorporate affectionate touch, mutual gaze (reflective functioning), and certain vocal-rhythm combinations. A special focus should be put on responsive and secure caregiving while also being mindful of age-appropriate sensory input. As students, these lessons were very helpful and enriching, and we are very thankful for Dr. Gilbert Foley for representing his important work here on campus!

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The Goulet Science Center

Psychology Major

The Psychology major is designed for students to study the science of human and animal behavior. Departmental courses provide the student with the opportunity to gain a general understanding in four different areas:

  • Brain and Behavior
  • Development and Potential
  • Society and Relationships

Courses include hands-on laboratory and field work experiences for students to gain competency and skills within the field of Psychology.

Courses within the department are designed to prepare students for graduate studies in a variety of fields ranging from legal, medical, research or business as well as equip them with marketable skills for a complex, dynamic global workforce.