Allie Kvasnicka, ʼ20, could tell from her campus visit during high school that Meredith College created an environment where faculty were invested in supporting and encouraging students to be a part of things on campus that interested them.
“Before I started at Meredith, I knew I wanted to complete two degrees, participate in the Meredith Autism Program, have an internship, and complete research,” said Allie. “Instead of telling me to scale back my goals, my professors pushed me to pursue them and introduced me to even more opportunities.”
As a student earning two degrees in biology and psychology and minoring in chemistry, Allie has learned to prioritize academics and her goals. She has worked hard to learn as much as possible during all of her experiences these last four years.
Many opportunities during her time at Meredith happened because of strong relationships with faculty, such as Cynthia Edwards, psychology and social work department head. As a freshman, Allie entered Edwards’ office to declare her major and Edwards talked with Allie about her expectations for her time at Meredith and goals once she graduated. After that conversation, Edwards emailed her a week later about an opportunity to intern at the Environmental Protection Agency in the neurotoxicology lab.
“That experience developed my love for research, my passion for learning hands-on, and my desire to seek out more opportunities to enrich my time at Meredith,” said Allie.
Conducting research in the Meredith Emerging Adulthood Longitudinal Studies (MEALS) lab is another impactful experience Allie has treasured at Meredith. The lab has freshmen through seniors working on research projects that mostly study life transitions through emerging adulthood and other topics in psychology as well.
“I have had the pleasure of serving as the student lab manager, meaning I conduct my own research as well as assist and act as a peer mentor to support other students and their research projects,” she said.
The experience has given her the chance to organize the lab meetings, make sure they are meeting deadlines for conferences, and provide whatever support she can to fellow lab members. Because of these research opportunities, she has traveled to many local, regional, and even international conferences to present and support projects on campus.
“Our lab is composed of a great group of women who inspire me professionally, academically, and we have a lot of fun both in and out of the lab. It has been an honor researching with them.”
Allie also served as the leader for two years in planning the Women in Undergraduate Research Conference on campus and Celebrating Student Achievement (CSA) Day. Not only does she present her own research but by planning events such as these, she has developed her strengths. In April, Allie helped coordinate Meredith’s Virtual CSA Day. Typically a daylong event featuring academic presentations, performances, and award ceremonies, she and a team worked to reimagine the event so that student success could still be showcased on a dedicated YouTube channel.
“For CSA Day I love supporting my fellow researchers in preparing and practicing their presentations, and watching them deliver a professional presentation on CSA Day,” said Allie. “I enjoy the act of learning, applying what I’m learning, and supporting other people throughout their personal journeys. I am thankful Meredith provides an environment where I’m able to do these things.”
Allie’s overall goal is to become a genetic counselor. She plans to earn a master’s degree in genetic counseling and also obtain a Ph.D. in order to further her studies and have research and teaching opportunities.
“Meredith has allowed me to create a pathway that encompasses all of my interests,” she said. “My research experience in the biological sciences, as well as the social sciences, have made me a good applicant for both jobs after college and graduate school. My leadership experiences on campus have given me the confidence to go into the workforce or a graduate program and be confident.”