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Student Story

Ashtyn Van Horn ’23, B.A./M.A., Psychology

Dallas native Ashtyn Van Horn is majoring in applied behavioral psychology and minoring in business. As someone who appreciates the fine and performing arts, she enjoys playing the piano and guitar as well as watching musicals. She also likes viewing psychological documentaries and going on runs along the Brooklyn Promenade.

Why did you choose the major you did?
Psychology is at the intersection of every decision made in our lives; it is intertwined in everything we do. Fundamentally, I believe that we cannot begin to understand others — and, by extension, ourselves — and make meaningful connections in our lives without understanding the underlying processes that motivate our behaviors, as well as the influence of the cultural contexts within which we are all raised.

What professor, classroom experience or extracurricular activity at SFC had the greatest impact on your success here?
The entire psychology department and the honors program have been highly influential in my success here. More specifically, Dr. SungHun Kim in the psychology department has become a great mentor over my time at SFC and challenged me to think more creatively and critically — especially through cultural and moral lenses — about the unique experiences individuals go through.

What personal qualities allowed you to achieve at such a high level at SFC?
I am resilient, tenacious, gritty, compassionate, creative and sagacious. These qualities have allowed me to pursue healthy competition with my peers in the classroom, as well as within athletics as a member of the SFC women’s soccer team. This combination of traits also has helped me to be incredibly open and receptive to learning from a wide range of people and forged the ability to pass on that knowledge and experience.

What did it mean to you to attend college in New York City?
Pursuing my higher education in the world’s greatest city has provided enrichment beyond the classroom from incredibly diverse people and cultures, as well as unique opportunities to develop as a person and professional via groundbreaking programs such as the Brooklyn Mental Health Court, where I interned. These are opportunities I would have been unable to pursue elsewhere.

What’s next for you?
I was accepted by Pepperdine University to begin my studies this fall in their clinical psychology doctoral program. I plan to use my Psy.D. and training for a career pursuing both individual-level treatment and macro-level changes through clinical practice, research and policy development. Upon graduating, I will specialize in comprehensive adult neuropsychological/clinical forensic mental health evaluations. I also intend to pursue an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellowship, a one-year program providing psychologists the opportunity to work on the staff of a member of Congress, or with a Congressional committee, with the goal of contributing a more effective use of psychological knowledge in government and providing psychologists with valuable learning experiences in public policy.

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