Roanoke College is a hub of academic excellence, nurturing young minds to realize their full potential. Among its many accomplished students, one stands out: a psychology major with a passion for understanding human development. Meet Raegan Middlethon, whose journey at Roanoke College is an inspiring testament to the pursuit of knowledge, research excellence, and the desire to make a difference.
A Passion for Psychology
Raegan, a psychology major with a concentration in human development, has always been drawn to the complexities of the human mind. She eloquently describes her fascination with psychology, stating, “When it comes to psychology, I like learning a little bit of everything.” This curiosity has driven her to explore diverse topics within the field, from social relationships and development to the effects of drugs on the brain and psychophysiology.
A defining aspect of Raegan’s Roanoke College experience has been her involvement in research. She has worked closely with Dr. Buchholz since her junior year, embarking on a journey to study parasocial relationships (PSRs). These one-sided bonds that humans form with celebrities, athletes, or fictional characters intrigued her. Her dedication led to the presentation of their findings at a conference in Washington, D.C.
Following this success, Raegan and Dr. Buchholz turned their attention to the ever-evolving influence of TikTok, exploring its impact on society and individual well-being. Her commitment to research extends to her membership in Dr. Powell’s lab, where she investigates how watching videos of children playing on YouTube influences creativity, imagination, and parent-child relationships.
Summer Scholars Program
Raegan reflects on her participation in the Summer Scholars program as a pivotal experience. She relished the opportunity to delve deeply into her research without the distraction of regular coursework. “I really enjoyed being able to focus on my research without thinking about a bunch of other things, like my class assignments,” she says. This immersive experience offered valuable insights into her own work habits and academic strategies.
A Morehead Winner
Her journey at Roanoke College took an unexpected turn when Raegan became a Morehead winner. She modestly recalls, “I actually didn’t think I was a Morehead winner for a few months, so it was a big surprise when I got the email!” Her recognition as a Morehead winner is a testament to her dedication and echoes the legacy of President John Morehead, who did so much for the college.
Raegan’s journey also led her to the prestigious role of being a convocation speaker, an experience she describes as a “great honor.” She recognizes that her story may have seemed cheesy to her freshman self, but she hopes it inspired others to explore their potential. “Any psychology major will tell you that humans have the tendency to underestimate a lot of things, including ourselves,” she wisely observes.
As Raegan approaches her graduation date in May 2024, she has big dreams for the future. She is currently in the process of applying to several PhD programs, a testament to her unwavering commitment to research and making a difference in the world of psychology. Her vision is clear: “I’d like to produce research dealing with children and adolescents that helps inform clinicians, schools, parents, and policy makers.” Furthermore, she aspires to become a professor one day, potentially even returning to Roanoke College to inspire future generations of students.
In conclusion, Raegan’s journey as a psychology student at Roanoke College is a remarkable story of dedication, curiosity, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge. Her research endeavors, accolades, and future aspirations reflect the caliber of students Roanoke College fosters. As she continues to make strides in the field of psychology, we can only anticipate the positive impact she will have on the world.
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