There’s No Stopping Amrita Ram
Whether she’s in the lab, visiting with residents, or off-campus working alongside children with special needs, Amrita weaves her passions with her academic skills.
Double-majoring in Psychology and Biochemistry, Amrita Ram took steps to ensure a rich and challenging education within Santa Clara University’s College of Arts and Sciences that would enable her to not only be a more caring and active force within Residence Life at SCU, but also lead her to outside projects that align with her interests.
Motivated by her life’s goal to “do good for the general public,” Amrita took the leap sophomore year to pursue undergraduate research. She joined other research assistants working on a project with Dr. Kieran Sullivan, SCU psychology professor and author of a mounting 18 publications in her field. The team explored the impact of online communications on relationships, an especially relevant topic for students attending a university cradled in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Amrita’s dedication to her team and their months of research led to successful completion of the project, culminating in a presentation of their findings at the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Conference in San Diego, CA.
As a student researcher, Amrita gained valuable insight and experience working with Dr. Sullivan and fellow undergraduate researches, which enabled her to feel increasingly confident in her work.
“A lot of the infrastructure was already put in place for us, so being a beginning research student and not having an exact idea of what I was doing, it was a very helpful environment to step into,” Amrita says. “Being so comfortable with my research professor and with my partner allowed me to feel comfortable sharing my voice and asking for a professional opinion.”
Looking back on this experience, Amrita expresses gratitude for the opportunity to learn such incredible, lifelong lessons: “The skills that I’ve learned from this project are going to be useful for me for the rest of my life. I feel that if I want to do any research this is a great place to start, and I feel very confident stepping forward in that role. It has been a very positive environment, I’ve never felt that I wasn’t being valued [as an undergraduate researcher].”
Amrita increasingly found that her confidence in the lab transcended to other aspects of her life at SCU. As a Neighborhood Representative within Residence Life at SCU, Amrita discovered that possessing a background in psychology is extremely helpful when interacting with and supporting fellow upperclassmen.
“I’m a very analytical person, so if I’m talking with a resident and I notice that something is a little off, it’s nice to have that psych background,” Amrita explains. “It can be so easy to approach a situation and not address it properly. Knowing what to look for and when to check back in with a student---these have been really helpful skills that I’ve learned from my psych background.”
Amrita is currently in training to receive her Registered Behavior Technician certification and will begin working as a behavioral therapist for children with autism and other developmental disorders. She plans eventually to pursue a master’s in psychology, where she will marry her long-held interest in how biological organisms function at the chemical level with the study of mind and behavior.