Student Success Story: Chelsea Monheim
“Open your mind before your mouth” is a quote from psychology student Chelsea Monheim’s favorite band, Motionless in White. Monheim describes it as a quote she tries to live by and if everyone else did the same, she probably wouldn’t be conducting the research she is today.
Monheim was born in Fairport, New York, and started her collegiate career at Monroe Community College. In the summer of 2016, she finally transferred to SUNY Brockport as a nursing intent. While preparing to become a Nursing major, Monheim worked on getting her necessary credits to graduate. She started to notice a trend that whenever she had an elective, she was filling it with a psychology course. But, it wasn’t until Dr. Jennifer Ratcliff’s social psychology class that Monheim decided it was time to switch majors.
“After taking her class it was like I had an epiphany that nursing wasn’t for me,” Monheim said. “Dr. Ratcliff has had a huge impact on my college career. I’m so happy to have met her because she has helped me so much on my journey.”
Dr. Ratcliff continues to help Monheim on her journey today. They are now conducting research together on the relationship between disclosure of bullying experiences and post-traumatic growth later in life, specifically on members of the LGBTQ population. Their hypothesis is that the more a person disclosed their bullying experience, the more social support they would receive, which would promote post-traumatic growth later in life. While they had conducted an experiment similar to this one during the spring of 2017, they were only focused on college students at the time. Now they have taken their research to the community, participating in two Pride parades, one in Buffalo and the other in Rochester, to further cement their hypothesis.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, Monheim knows the struggle many people in the community are going through. While she tries to stay focused on the research, the pain she feels for those she is surveying can feel overwhelming at times. Despite this, she is always able to continue working because she knows that the payoff of her research is more than worth it.
“It can be very mentally taxing at times, but even though it is hard work, we have to push forward so it can be used to help people later in life,” Monheim said. “Just knowing that is extremely rewarding and makes it all worth it.”
After attending the two parades, they will evaluate the data they have collected to see if it matches their hypothesis. While they are still in the early stages of analysis, they seem to have already found some correlations for their hypothesis. Now they plan to begin creating a presentation for Scholar’s Day and possibly even seek publication. But, what’s next for Monheim and her career?
Monheim is torn between becoming a social psychologist and a clinical psychologist. If she went into social psychology, she would pursue a teaching career, while conducting research on LGBTQ population to find better ways to help the community. If she went into clinical psychology, she would become a therapist, specializing in the LGBTQ population. While they are two completely different careers, one thing remains constant, her passion and heart are in helping the LGBTQ community.
“The College is helping me develop as a student, a professional, and as a person,” Monheim said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the person I am shaping into today.”