Expanding Horizons: Meet Daizha Hunter, PNW 2022 Graduate

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May 4, 2022

Daizha Hunter, ’22, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

A Hammond native who loves being around and learning about children, he first started out as an education major. However, her interests later turned to working with mental health, and she switched to psychology from her sophomore year at PNW.

Hunter is a Fellow of Honors College and has served as a peer mentor and teaching assistant at the college. She has also worked with the English Language Program and has been a member of the Psychology Club and Black Student Union. She spent her fourth research year as a McNair Scholar.

Hunter is an intern at Clarity Clinic NWI and will attend Governor’s State University to pursue her master’s degree. She aspires to become a clinical psychologist.

What do you like about your program?

“Psychology is so broad. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like being pigeonholed – I like being able to move around and see what interests me. There are so many career paths to take and I loved the flexibility of being able to change my path if I wanted to.

I’m really attracted to children because they go through a lot at a young age and it can disrupt their life path. Personally, I didn’t have the best childhood and luckily I had support to get through it, but I realize that not every child is fortunate enough to receive that help. I want to be that person who influences them positively and inspires and guides them.”

Why did you decide to take part in the PNW?

“I chose PNW because it is close to home. As I branch out with my college studies, it’s been important to me to be in my community with the people I love, know, and support me.

Also, being a smaller campus, I felt like I was getting a more intimate educational experience rather than having these large lecture halls with hundreds of students. I’ve developed strong relationships with teachers I don’t think I’ve gotten anywhere else.”

What did you like most about PNW?

“The thing I enjoyed the most was joining McNair. The program and gaining this research experience was something I hadn’t really thought about before joining. It gave me the opportunity to develop my skills and broaden my horizons as far as what I want to do in the future.

I worked with a faculty mentor, Gisele Casanova, in the summer of 2021 for the summer research program. It was very challenging and now I have a lot of respect for the researchers afterwards because it’s tough.

This summer I presented this research via Zoom for the McNair conference at UCLA. There were people (attending the conference) from all over the world and it was a truly amazing experience.

Now I feel super prepared for grad school and I don’t know if I would have felt as prepared if I hadn’t been a part of McNair.”

Did you have a key experience during your participation in PNW?

“Working with the English language program. I feel like being able to help all different types of people from all walks of life has really helped me. These students came from a completely different country. As far as they are concerned, they don’t know anyone and it is difficult to communicate because English is not their mother tongue. It helped me put myself in their shoes and form great connections with them as a student. I am still friends with many of them.”

Was there someone at PNW who inspired or encouraged you along the way?

Gisele M Casanova headshot

Gisele Casanova, Associate Professor of Psychology

“She encouraged me to apply to McNair because she saw something in me. She believed that I could advance to graduate school. Before that, I was wondering if I was ready for it. It helped that someone I respect pushed me to apply to McNair.”

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