Psych major, EOP student pursues counseling career

Akeem Samuels20141105_HONPZ_Akeem-342

Hometown: Guyana, South America/Antigua-Barbuda, Caribbean/Brooklyn, N.Y.
Major: Psychology
Minor(s): Sociology, Disaster Studies
Clubs/Organizations/Activities:
Resident Assistant, Deyo Hall
Peer Mentor/EOP Liaison, Educational Opportunity Program
Office Assistant, Department of Psychology
Orientation
Leader
Vice President, MVP (Men Valuing Professionalism)
Anticipated Graduation: May 2016

What’s the best part of being a student at New Paltz?

The best part of being at New Paltz is the community. They are accepting of your differences, and they are very diverse. It’s small, but not too small. I’ve always been a very friendly person, but people being friendly to me in return made my transition a lot easier and made my life better in general. The community is so welcoming. I’m just happy and lucky to be here. New Paltz is the best!

How has your campus involvement enhanced your college experience?

I’ve gotten involved with a lot on campus, and I’m still trying new things. Being involved in all of these organizations and clubs has expanded my horizons. It’s helped me grow, and made me a better person and leader. It’s also helped me to manage my time very well.

Are there any faculty or staff members you’ve connected with?

Akeem (sixth from left) with the Educational Opportunity MVP club
Akeem (sixth from left) with the Educational Opportunity Program MVP club

Even though he’s not my professor, Aaron Hines from the School of Business is amazing. I first encountered him when he presented about graduate school at an Educational Opportunity Program event, and I thought he was really cool. Then I started going to campus Bible study, and he was there. I introduced myself, we got to know each other, and he became one of my closest friends. He’s very down to earth and willing to help you, so I’m so happy I made a connection with him.

Glenn Geher, the chair of the psychology department, is my advisor. I’ve never taken a class with him, but we’ve had conversations and he’s a really great guy. He helps you whenever you need assistance. He’s so busy, and even though he has so many responsibilities, he still makes time for everyone.

Also, Navin Viswanathan is my psychology research professor this semester, and I’m looking forward to having him as a professor and getting to know him better.

 

“I’ve always been a very friendly person, but people being friendly to me in return made my transition a lot easier and made my life better in general.”

 

How have you benefitted from the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)?

EOP is everything. They’re the reason I’m here today. In a way, they created who I am. I was on a waiting list to get into New Paltz, and if it wasn’t for EOP, I don’t know where I’d be today. I’m so happy to be an EOP student.

Akeem (third from right) participating in the New Paltz Clean Sweep with the Educational Opportunity Program's Men Valuing Professionalism club
Akeem (third from right) participating in the New Paltz Clean Sweep with the Educational Opportunity Program’s Men Valuing Professionalism club

What are your plans for the future?

A lot of people have commented on my personality and my desire to be friendly and helpful to other people, so I tried to think how I could use these skills to better the lives of others. Counseling came to mind, and I decided psychology would be best for me. Later down the road, I added my sociology and disaster studies minors, which intertwine nicely with psych.

I want to be a guidance counselor. I’m doing psych and sociology so I can gain that experience and hopefully use it to better my career. My guidance counselor in high school in Brooklyn was such a great person. She made sure I got into college and did what I had to do to graduate on time. She really cared and wanted me to succeed, so that motivated me to pursue that career. She was also the one who told me about New Paltz. She knew people who went here, and told me it was a really great school. I applied to five colleges, and New Paltz was my No. 1 choice.

I definitely plan on going to graduate school in the future and I am considering staying at New Paltz.