Many of our students continue their academic pursuits after Lake Erie College, enrolling in graduate or post-graduate programs. One of these students is Mitch Brown, Class of 2012, who is currently enrolled in the master's program for psychology at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.
Mitch graduated from Lake Erie with majors in psychology and German. Having grown up in Mentor, Ohio, not too far from the College, he was familiar with the campus, and chose to attend LEC because of the small class sizes and the opportunity to really get to know his professors on a personal level. "A strength of this school is that there is always that level of investment in the students who want to contribute to society in any way they so desire," Mitch said. "Professors often guided me in the right direction of what would be a good idea to investigate or expand my horizons. Once I found my niche, they were able to push me to my absolute limits intellectually."
And push they did. During his senior year Mitch did individual research which he then presented at the Psychology Senior Research Seminar at the Cleveland Psychological Association student poster session in Beachwood, Ohio. "The conference essentially was just a way for young researchers to present findings of their work in a friendly setting with interested minds," Mitch said. However, there were also a number of prominent professional psychologists present, whom the student-presenters could approach with questions related to their research's findings. Mitch's research was focused on the male body image processes for men, "a relatively underdeveloped area of study when compared to the volumes in relation to women," he added.
Apart from his conference participation, Mitch also had the opportunity to really immerse himself in the area of academic research on the LEC campus. He was a faculty assistant for the social sciences, which meant that among his responsibilities were things such as proctoring exams, grading assignments, and being a student aid for psychology, criminal justice and political science classes. He was also a teaching assistant/tutor for the introductory German classes, and was the vice president of the psychology club. During the summer break after his junior year, he took part of the study trip to Heidelberg, Germany.
Mitch fondly remembers LEC and still keeps very much in touch with some of the professors who taught him and continue to be mentors and friends--Dr. Yachanin, Dr. Cullotta, and Dr. Bell. He is currently a graduate assistant at U of Dayton, and continues his work on research on a variety of topics, including "investigating evolutionary processes in human mating, physiological responses to threats, and the underlying mechanisms of men's body image process." He credits the LEC faculty with his understanding of research and what needs to be done for it to be successful.
"LEC, particularly the psychology department, introduced me to the world of research and how to conduct effective, viable experiments," he said. "They improved my ability to identify a problem and try to explain it with the scientific method."
Mitch also had great experience at LEC with the diversity of learning methods that a liberal arts education could offer. "My favorite memory of LEC: it was a gloomy November Thursday afternoon. I was waiting for my psychology research methods class to start, and one of my classmates asked me how to perform a professional wrestling move. This is when I gave a brief lecture and demonstration of how to perform the figure four leg lock for a room of students, explaining how to apply the hold properly." In the midst of the demonstration, Dr. Yachanin, the professor teaching the class, entered the room. Completely unaffected by the students wrestling on the floor, he just inquired whether the person, on whom Mitch was applying the leg lock, knew how to reverse the pressure onto Mitch.
His advice for the current and future LEC students? "Take advantage of the vast knowledge your professors have," he said. "These esteemed individuals are experts in their respective fields. They are willing to help anyone willing to invest themselves into their studies. You have the opportunity to stand out with your own unique ideas and you have a strong support network in professors [who] give you the tools and foundations to convey your ideas in an eloquent and thoughtful manner."