Meet Abby Finta

Pursue graduate-level research at Franklin College

By now you know student transformation – not research – is the heart of the Franklin experience. But small school doesn’t mean small opportunity. All our students have the chance to customize and complete independent research. Just ask 2018 graduate Abby Finta. She conducted a study about the effects of video games and presented her findings at a conference alongside professionals with Ph.D.s.

“Because there are fewer students at Franklin, the professors know who all the students are. It’s easy to make connections and there are so many more opportunities.” – Abby 

Abby chose to pursue an independent research project to round out her psychology major. This unique application-only course allows students to research something they’re personally interested in while working closely with a supervising professor. In Abby’s case, that was Ryan Rush, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, who used this as an opportunity to prep Abby for graduate school. 

“It’s much more like a graduate study experience than an undergrad course. We give students the opportunity to be independent so they understand what grad school feels like.” – Ryan

Inspired by research that shows a correlation between aggressive video games and real-world violence, Abby tested whether video games that involve helping others would influence helpful post-play action – and they did. Her study was so wellAbby Finta in Australiaconducted she was accepted to present it at the Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Conference in Chicago.

“This is not an undergraduate conference. Abby presented alongside Ph.D.s and graduate students. We specifically structure independent research so students can apply to present at this conference, and they’ve almost always been accepted.” – Ryan

But the faculty’s support didn’t stop there. As Abby was preparing for graduate school interviews, they ensured she’d succeed – not because they had to, but because they cared about Abby and her future.

“The department as a whole was extremely supportive. They genuinely care. When I was preparing for my graduate school interviews, they came back to campus after going home to do a mock interview with me so I could prepare.” – Abby

“When a student shows the capability to do big things, we find opportunities for them. With Abby, we pushed her to do things she otherwise wouldn’t have done, and we got to see her grow and blossom as a person.”  Ryan

This fall, Abby started pursuing her doctorate of psychology at Spalding University, and she’s got an entire department of Franklin faculty members who she can call on for advice, support, and encouragement along the way. If grad school is in your future, find the experience, challenges, and support system you need to get there at Franklin College.

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