“My Mount Holyoke education gave me more than just skills and knowledge; I graduated with a sense of engaged ownership of my work,” says KC Haydon ’00. After completing her Ph.D. in developmental psychology (at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development) she returned to MHC in 2008 as a visiting assistant professor of psychology. Next, she’ll begin a postdoctoral research position at the University of Illinois, where she’ll pursue additional training in autonomic and other psychophysiological aspects of attachment and social development.
Haydon’s commitment to the field of psychology began when she was an undergraduate. “I fell in love with psychology and was able to pursue my own research questions through independent research and small intensive seminars on new and emerging areas of psychology,” she says. “Completing an honors thesis gave me rich experiences with research and scientific writing. My mentors at Mount Holyoke—particularly Bob Shilkret, Norma Cutts DaFoe Professor of Psychology—taught me to think and read critically and to approach my work with vigor and joy.
Now, as a teacher, Haydon says she tries to do her best to teach as she was taught at Mount Holyoke. “My advice is to engage in your education at every opportunity. Get involved in the department! Go to office hours; meet your professors. Ask questions and collaborate with students and faculty. Do your own independent project. Learn practical skills through internships and volunteer work. Take time off after college to get more experience working in the field you think you’d like to pursue. Read the literature in your area with a critical eye. Develop your scholarly identity—what questions do you want to answer with your work? What changes do you want to make in the world? Set your goals and map out a course to meet them; roll with the punches as your plan unfolds and you encounter unexpected diversions and opportunities. Don’t shy away from a challenge: Mount Holyoke can prepare you for anything.”