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My W&L: Randl Dent ’15

“My W&L experience has been everything I thought that college would be.”

My W&L experience has been everything I thought that college would be. I have made great friends, studied abroad, gone on road trips, and have been involved in a multitude of different extracurricular activities that I feel passionately about. Thanks to W&L’s small, liberal arts dynamic I’ve had a very well-rounded college experience and I will be incredibly proud when I have the privilege to call myself a W&L alumna.

The experiences that have shaped my life at W&L the most would definitely be the opportunities I’ve been offered as a psychology major. Many students told me when I first got to W&L that I would end up deciding on a major based on a particular professor. Lucky for me, I decided to major in psychology and not only loved particular professors, but the department as a whole. I have taken classes with almost every psychology professor and have really enjoyed all of them. I love that all of the professors know me and are willing to stop to chat about my thesis or what I am doing in my lab. I love that I know all of the senior psych majors and most of the senior neuroscience majors and have had the opportunity to get to know them all through our classes. I even love that we have psych department t-shirts. Our psychology department is one of the things I will miss most when I leave W&L.

I have been a part of Dr. Megan Fulcher’s Gender Development Lab since my sophomore year. It has afforded me with many opportunities, and enabled me to grow not only as a researcher, but also as a person. I came to W&L thinking I would follow the pre-med track with a psychology major. Before I knew that the pre-medical track was not for me, Dr. Fulcher already knew. I was given increasingly larger and more important assignments in the lab and was really starting to like researching and working with children that came into our lab. In the Fall of 2013, Dr. Fulcher and Dr. Murdock encouraged me to apply to the Emerging Young Scholars program at the Society for Research and Adolescence (SRA). I was invited to be an emerging young scholar and attended SRA in March of 2014, meeting many college upperclassmen, graduate students, and professors while there. Dr. Fulcher introduce me to an alumna who had just finished her Ph.D. and was about to start teaching, and who had the best advice for me as I began to seriously think about my future. At SRA, I had the opportunity to interact with professionals in the field of psychology and public health and ask questions about graduate school. There was even a session about writing personal statements and perfecting your C.V. I was unsure of how well I would fare in a graduate program, but Dr. Fulcher and Dr. Eastwood allayed my fears. A few weeks after SRA, I was supposed to attend a conference with two of my lab members and both of them unexpectedly could not come because of job interviews and graduate school visits. I went to the conference alone and was scared that I wouldn’t be able to handle everything on my own. But, the conference went great and I was able to fully explain our project as well as answer the difficult questions that graduate students and professors were asking. It was these experiences that made me sure that I wanted to go to graduate school.

When it came to grad school interview prep, I was confident and prepared because of everything W&L had taught and instilled in me. I had my C.V., my hotel booked, and my questions ready, but the W&L community helped me prepare even more. In the days prior to my interview, Dr. Murdock put me in contact with an alumna who is about to graduate from the clinical psychology program at VCU. I spent 45 minutes on the phone picking her brain for everything about the school and professors I might encounter. In fact, she knew every professor I was going to meet with and had advice on how to win over each one. My work-study advisor, Jan Kaufman, and her husband, Dr. Art Goldsmith, even set up a lunch for me with a mutual friend and colleague who was a professor at VCU. I had a great time at lunch with her and felt really prepared for my interview. Though I was waitlisted for the Ph.D. program, I was more than prepared for the opportunity due to my support system and alumni network that I have found through W&L.

I have had a great four years here and I am really sad to say goodbye, but because of the experiences I have had and people I have met, I feel prepared and excited for all that graduate school (and life) has to offer.

Hometown: Dunkirk, Maryland

Majors: Psychology and Sociology

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Lifestyle Information For Everyone (LIFE)
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated
  • Multicultural Greek Council (MGC)
  • Student Association For Black Unity (SABU)
  • Office of Health Promotion
  • Upper Division Resident Advisor
  • Teaching an after school class in the READY program at Central Elementary

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • 2013- Spring Term in Argentina with Professors Pinto-Bailey and Botta
  • 2014- W&L Intern for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • 2014- Camp Counselor at Princeton University for the Summer Institute for the Gifted

Post-Graduation Plans: I have been accepted into a few masters’ programs for social work and public health and am still waiting to hear back from many programs. It looks like I will either be attending University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia or Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.

Favorite W&L Memory: When my mom came for parents’ weekend junior year. Usually my whole family comes, but it was awesome to get that quality one-on-one time with my mama and show her everything I love about W&L.

Favorite Classes: SOC- 290: Culture and Poverty with Professor Eastwood and PSYC-261: Socioemotional Development with Professor Fulcher

Favorite W&L Event: Fancy Dress is definitely my favorite event. There’s something so wonderful about getting all dressed and dancing to a great band.

Favorite Campus Landmark: I absolutely love The Ruins. I always go there when I’m feeling stressed out. It just reminds me that things will definitely get better.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you? Most of my friends can tell you that I am a diehard Ravens fan, but most don’t know that I love football. Sundays when I’m home are purely for football and that’s the way I like it. My dad taught me to throw a pretty good spiral when I was about 8 or 9 and I’ve loved football ever since.

Why did you choose W&L? I chose W&L because when I was visiting during a prospective students’ weekend I was lost on my way to the admissions office and a student walked me there and wished me luck on my interview. I was immediately sold.

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Why did you choose your majors? I chose psychology and sociology as my majors because they are so complementary to one another. I am interested in the individual as well as how they interact with others and their society.

What professor has inspired you? Dr. Megan Fulcher has definitely inspired me. I can’t explain how much I have grown since I joined her lab.

Advice for prospective or first-year students? Take advantage of all of your opportunities, socially and academically. College is a time for growth and you do not want to leave the same person you came in. This means take classes purely because they seem interesting and do not be afraid to venture outside of your major.

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