Following Her Heart to Study the Brain
For Tristen Witkowski '22, her path to a career in occupational therapy was forged during an introduction to psychology class at the University of Bridgeport.
“My freshman year we had a lecture on neuropsychology, and I just fell in love with the biology of psychology,” she says.
That night, she did some research. She found UNH Manchester’s neuropsychology program, and the rest was history.
Tristen hit the ground running when she arrived at UNH Manchester. Guided by Neuropsychology Professor Dr. Daniel Seichepine—who she describes as the “most influential professor and advisor” she’s ever had—as well as Dr. Faby Gagne, Tristen developed and executed her own research study involving neuropsychology education and learning modalities, one of which was virtual reality. She presented her findings last spring at the Undergraduate Research Conference, which showcases student research, scholarly and creative projects.
Tristen also took advantage of the main campus during her time at UNH, enrolling in a neurology lecture and lab in Durham where she participated in human brain dissection and learned in heavy detail how the brain operates. Regardless of campus, Tristen says engaging with faculty is key to making the most of the college experience.
“My best advice is to not be a stranger to your professors. Sit in the front of the classroom, if possible, and talk to them about anything and everything,” she says. “College is much easier when you are familiar with your professors and participate in class.”
Tristen is currently enrolled at MCPHS University, pursuing her dream of becoming a pediatric occupational therapist with a focus in neurology. She came to UNH Manchester with a passion, and she left with a purpose.
“I am so grateful for my experience here. UNH allowed me to shine brighter than I knew I could,” Tristen says. “UNH taught me more than neuropsychology—it taught me how to be a good student and how to succeed."
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