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Prairie grass stands tall at the Green Oaks Biological Field Station.

Maddie Tucker

Coal City, IL

Psychology Major, Neuroscience Major

Maddie expands her academic and personal frontiers in collaboration with professors, faculty, and students.

Maddie stands behind a clear class board with black marker in her hand writing down formulas in a darkened, purple lit background.

Could you tell me more about your work with the Knox Cognition and Aging Lab (KCAL)? What motivated you to take part in this program?

I joined KCAL at its start in January 2021. I was motivated initially to join KCAL because I simply desired to grow my understanding of research in the field of psychology. Since then, I’ve learned so much about the formal process of empirical research from start to finish. As a lab group, we have had the opportunity to explore a number of interesting topics, including financial exploitation among elderly adults, conspiracy theory mindsets, the impact of words, and Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Patricia Xi's special interest in an everyday memory failure known as the “tip-of-the-tongue” phenomenon. This is perhaps one of my favorite parts of KCAL. As students we have the opportunity to both engage with our professor’s research interests as well as develop our own curiosities until they become full-fledged studies. 

Which professional opportunities has Knox helped you take part in? 

Knox offers so many opportunities for students to advance their academic and professional careers. For me, great examples are the support services I’ve received through TRIO, the McNair Scholars program, and KCAL. Within each organization, I’ve been able to conduct empirical research and speak at conferences to both share my own findings and learn from others. Each of these programs, and more, have substantially helped me prepare for both my academic and professional endeavors after Knox.

Where do you see yourself after graduation? 

After graduation, I’ll be moving to Chicago and beginning my master of arts in counseling psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology this fall! In the more distant future, I hope to also pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology and continue working towards increasing equitable access to mental health care resources for all. 

What advice would you give to current Knox students who have interests similar to yours?

One thing that I believe Knox does well is offer students the opportunity to get really involved with the things they’re passionate about pursuing. If you’re interested in research, start by chatting with a professor who has lectured on topics that impacted you. If you’re drawn to student leadership, attend an organization’s general meeting or take an even bigger jump by applying to the student leader selection process. Experiences are waiting for you everywhere! 

Describe a memorable class, experience, or professor and the impact it had on you. 

So many people and experiences come to mind here. I have to give great credit to both Associate Professor of Psychology Sara O’Brien, and Robert M. & Katherine Arnold Seeley Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology Heather Hoffmann. Sara’s abnormal psychology course and mentorship of my summer 2021 McNair research project confirmed and strengthened my desire to enter the world of professional clinical psychology after Knox. Meanwhile, two of Heather’s courses—PSYC 376 Behavioral Pharmacology and 271 Human Sexuality—are among my favorite classes at Knox, and her dual mentorship of both my Honors project and my senior neuroscience project have been invaluable. Heather has instilled in me an academic rigor that I never knew was possible, and the learning environment that’s facilitated in her classes is incredible. Without these professors I certainly wouldn’t be the person that I’ve become over the course of my time at Knox College.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

If you choose Knox, come here knowing that these next four years will shape and grow you like nothing you’ve experienced before. You’ll be challenged at times, but you’ll have access to so many opportunities and fall into the company of so many incredible people. My own Knox experience looks pretty different from what I envisioned as a timid first-year, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my last four years. The human powered experience is real, and if you allow yourself to expand your comfort zone, make occasional mistakes, be present, and get involved, you’ll almost certainly be so thankful for it.

Maddie Tucker is the special events coordinator of Union Board, the president of M.E.Ch.A., and the president and co-founder of String Arts Squad, a resident assistant, a psychology and neuroscience Red Room tutor, a research assistant with KCAL, a McNair Scholar, and an Honors program candidate.

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Printed on Saturday, June 15, 2024