Being a trailblazer takes courage and fortitude. No one knows that better than Stanysha Lowery, a student in Lloyd International Honors College graduating from the psychology program at UNC Greensboro.
One of five sisters and the first person in her family to attend college, Lowery dealt with feelings of uncertainty during her first year as an undergrad. She struggled to acclimate to college life and her studies. “I knew my family was looking to me. Light was shining on me, so that influenced me to stay.”
Found Her Niche in Psychology
After speaking with her advisor about her interests and dipping her toe into psychology research, Lowery found her niche and excelled from there. She improved her grades and later became a student reflection leader for the Honors Colloquium.
“I felt like I had to open the door to many opportunities, to show my sisters that college is a route they can take one day,” she says.
Lowery, who is also minoring in family studies, will graduate in December 2022. She plans to attend graduate school to continue her studies in data science and data analytics.
Developmental and social psychology are areas that pique Lowery’s interest. “What fascinates me most is how parents influence children’s decision-making,” she says.
“I want to explore how that influences a student’s college experience. I am a first-generation college student from a low-income family, so that research topic sparked my curiosity.”
Lowery wants to gain experience in data analytics and strengthen her research skills to hopefully eventually pursue a PhD in psychology. She hopes to become a professor who mentors and inspires students, just as her professors helped her at UNCG.
Captivated by Family Studies
She enjoyed taking family studies courses as well because they focused on the close relationships and dynamics within a family, with a global perspective.
“Our program doesn’t just focus on traditional families; we have talked about single parenting, stepfamilies and blended families, and compared American families to families in Japan, China, Europe, and elsewhere. I love that aspect of the program,” she says.
“Initially I was more interested in human development, but I grew more captivated by family dynamics and how a child’s experience with their parents can differ based on birth order, especially parental influence on children’s behavior and decisions,” Lowery says.
Engaged in Research
Lowery’s undergraduate thesis, which she is completing this fall, is on the imposter phenomenon. This is when one experiences feelings of inadequacy and incompetence despite their education, experience, and accomplishments.
Her research examined how the college experience differs in first-generation versus non- first-generation college students, with a focus on the imposter phenomenon and how that may influence the student’s overall experience.
Lowery says she loved the hands-on experiences available to psychology students. In 2020, she worked with her advisor, Dr. Jasmine DeJesus, on the professor’s research on children’s eating habits. Lowery synthesized data and gained valuable experience in the research process.
“Our professors want us to engage in research,” she says. Students can take and retake one research class that involves assisting with research in a professor’s lab.
Lowery’s interest was sparked during that course when she worked with Dr. DeJesus. It was then that she realized she could study research as part of a master’s degree.
“The support I received from my professors and the Honors College helped me immensely,” she says.
You Can Be You at UNCG
Lowery also met her fiancée, Collin LaButte, MBA and economics major, at UNCG. “I’m from Charlotte, NC, he’s from Exeter, New Hampshire,” she says. The couple is getting married in 2024.
“UNCG is very diverse,” Lowery says. “The accepting attitudes made me feel comfortable on campus. There are many international students, LGBTQ+ students, people from many different backgrounds, so you can be you. I love that.”
She also loves that UNCG has given her a sense of competency and accomplishment. “Skills I have gained here, like networking and learning from others, will help me succeed in a MA program,” she says.
“I learned it’s okay to fail, just learn to work your way back up,” Lowery adds. “The Honors College has given me a second chance and I’m so grateful for that.”
Story by Jane Bornhorst for Manning Words, Inc.
Photography by Sean Norona
#UNCGRAD, Celebrate With Us!
Graduates are invited to share their accomplishments on social media by using related “digital swag,” tagging posts #UNCGGrad, and using Commencement-themed Snapchat filters at the Greensboro Coliseum. The University will display #UNCGGrad-tagged Instagram and Twitter posts live before the ceremony. Graduates are also encouraged to use the Commencement 2022 persona in the UNCG Mobile App.