Madison Carr, Simmy Vig, and Fares Elkhayyat, Psychology Student Ambassadors
Madison is a psychology student who is part of a lab research team in her department. She reaches out into the community to learn more about mental health and to be of service to people needing care. She’s also a member off the Swahili Club, Skyping with people from Tanzania so that the club members have practice with conversation. Madison is a McNair Program Scholar.
Why did you decide to major in psychology?
Psychology allows me to help those who may not be able to help themselves through research and application. I love making other people more comfortable with talking about some of their own cognitive, developmental, or social issues.
How does your sociology minor figure into your major?
There’s no better way to study the world and people in it than to study sociology. Sociology helps me understand the individuals that I plan to study and helped me take into account other factors that may play a role in their coping and healing processes.
Do you do any community service?
I’m a mentor to students as part of the Most Mentoring Program. One of my roles is to inform them about all the resources that UM has to offer. I’m also involved with Relay for Life, which helps raise funds for breast cancer, and I’m involved with Memory Makers, which offers socialization to people with memory loss.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to enroll in a clinical psychology or counseling psychology PhD.
What do you do beyond the classroom?
I’m part of a research team in a psychology lab on campus running tests and recruiting individuals for our study. I also intern at North Mississippi Regional Center. It provides care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I perform behavioral analysis and create daily goals for residents alongside my mentor there. I’m also a member of the Black Student Union and a group called Active minds on campus. It’s an organization that helps students openly talk about mental health and address issues.
What’s your go-to meal in Oxford?
The catfish dinner with mashed potatoes and macaroni from Ajax Diner!
What are you binge watching?
As a teaching assistant in her department, Simmy helps unpack complex concepts for other students. She’s an intrepid traveler, who lived in Cape Town, South Africa, to study health sciences. She’s now working on her Honors College thesis.
Why did you choose the University of Mississippi?
I chose the University of Mississippi primarily because of the Honors College. I liked the idea of being in a small liberal-arts school atmosphere within the Honors College while also getting to experience the liveliness of an SEC school.
Did you come into college knowing what your major would be?
I knew I wanted to be pre-med, but I actually came into college with an undeclared major. I wanted to figure out my interests as I went along. I never felt like I had to choose biochemistry or biology just because many pre-med students choose those majors; I wanted to choose based on what I actually wanted to study.
Why did you major in psychology?
This major has enabled me to form strong relationships with my professors. It’s also provided me with unique opportunities like conducting my own thesis research, serving as a teaching assistant, and volunteering in the Oxford community.
What’s your go-to meal in Oxford?
Chicken and dumplings from Ajax Diner.
How long did it take you to find your friend group? Where did you meet your UM friends?
My friend group has changed some since freshman year, but I made my very first solid group of friends through the Honors College dorms living in Pittman Hall and through Greek life. I know these friends will stick with me throughout life and be there through all the crazy ups and downs ahead.
What’s an experience you had here that made you feel empowered as a young person?
Tutoring for Hotty Toddy Tutors on campus and throughout the community made me feel empowered because I felt like I had mastered the material in my classes to the extent that I could use my knowledge to help those around me. Seeing fellow students progress and realize that they can achieve anything they put their mind to was inspiring to me and motivated me to achieve my own personal goals.
Where would you ideally like to be doing three to five years after graduating?
Ideally, I would like to be in medical school working toward my goal of becoming a physician.
What are some things you’ve done at UM beyond the classroom?
I am a current Research Assistant for the UM Cognition Underlying Behavior Lab through the Psychology Department. The summer after my freshman year, I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where I partook in a six-week health studies program that included shadowing across the city and also included completing coursework on South African healthcare. Additionally, I am a member of clubs like the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the Ole Miss Future Alumni Network, and the International and American Student Alliance (IASA).
The College of Liberal Arts is a 5,000-student college within the larger university. What’s been the benefit of being a smaller community within a large one?
A smaller community gives a student a chance to form closer connections with peers, professors, and advisors as compared to a larger community with lots of unfamiliar faces.
As a prelaw student, Fares is a political science major and psychology minor who has already dived deep into his future career. He has worked for a law firm in Memphis, his hometown, and this spring will be getting a firsthand look at the criminal justice system during an internship at a local police department.
What is an “aha!” moment you had in a class or a talk with a professor?
After class is great time to talk to professors and get some guidance with what I want to do with my life. I asked my constitutional law professor about applying to law schools and LSAT’s and his advice was to really try to get into a top-20 law school, and he gave me tips on doing that.
What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
The Grill at 10-18 has a great healthy buffet.
What is an especially memorable learning experience you’ve had UM outside the classroom?
I went to D.C. for Study USA, which I found out about from the career office. There were about six students from UM, and we interviewed government and private-sector organizations about environmental policy. In spring semester, I’ll be doing an internship at the Olive Branch Police Department shadowing detectives so that I can learn more about the criminal justice system.
What are you binge watching?
I like The Office.
Why did you decide to study your major(s)?
I knew I wanted to go to law school, and law school accepts all majors. I like the fact that you can understand the way people think simply by studying it, which can make you a better lawyer.
Why study your major at the University of Mississippi?
The University of Mississippi gave me a full scholarship, and I wanted to come here.
Have you had an experience at UM that made you feel empowered?
When I was elected for my executive positions for the psychology club and mock trial, I had a sense of input.