The Charger Blog

Class of 2021 Outstanding Psychology Majors Reflect on Time as Chargers

Meet three members of the University’s Class of 2021 who will be earn their psychology degrees as part of Spring Commencement. They are looking forward to continuing their education after graduation.

May 3, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Alison Klein '21, Jordan Bernard ’21, and Cody Ruais ’21.
Left to right: Alison Klein '21, Jordan Bernard ’21, and Cody Ruais ’21.

As a Charger, Alison Klein '21 loved being a part of the University community. Whether she was attending an event on campus, such as Homecoming, or attending a psychology club meeting, she enjoyed meeting new people and seeing familiar faces.

A psychology major with a concentration in forensic psychology, Klein made meaningful connections on and off campus. A member of Y2Y New Haven, a student-run organization focused on developing a youth homeless shelter in New Haven, Klein got to know students from other local colleges as they worked together to help young adults facing homelessness.

As an intern at Coastal Connecticut Counseling, a marriage and family therapy practice in Southport, Conn., Klein learned about the importance of a team-based approach to counseling. The internship led to a job in which she conducted client intakes and became HIPPA certified.

“My coursework at the University of New Haven has persistently required me to be an analytical and scientific thinker,” said Klein, a member of the University’s Honors Program. “From evaluating sources to working on my thesis, I have been expected to produce a high caliber of work that has prepared me for similar expectations in graduate school and beyond.”

‘I am capable of greatness’

Klein, who will be attending Roger Williams University after graduation to pursue her master’s degree in forensic and legal psychology, is one of 1,500 graduates in the Class of 2021 who will accept their degrees as part of the University’s Spring Commencement.

Her classmate, Cody Ruais ’21, says he, too, has enjoyed the opportunities he has had to serve as a student leader at the University. Eager to continue to learn and to further his education, he has been accepted to Emerson College’s Master of Fine Arts poetry program, and he has also applied to clinical psychology graduate programs.

Ruais, a psychology major with a concentration in forensic psychology, is also pursuing a second major in criminal justice with a concentration in crime victim services. He is exploring several career options, including teaching writing, or becoming a clinical psychologist or a lawyer, and his ultimate goal is to make a meaningful difference in others’ lives. He says he is particularly grateful for the support of one of his professors who was especially inspirational.

Professor Horton has been more than just a mentor to me,” said Ruais. “From a young age, I was told that I would never be good at writing. It wasn’t until his course that I was told otherwise. Professor Horton has showed me that I am capable of greatness. This confidence has revolutionized the way that I see myself. I now know my abilities as a writer, my own self-worth, and that what I say matters and people need to hear it.”

Cody Ruais ’21.
Cody Ruais ’21.
‘Strengthened my confidence’

Psychology major and English minor Jordan Bernard ’21, a resident assistant and a Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion office assistant, will never forget the relationships she made at the University. An orientation leader and, later, an orientation coordinator, she took every opportunity to help her fellow Chargers feel a sense of belonging.

“Participating in many leadership-based opportunities helped me become more confident in myself,” said Bernard, who is also looking forward to attending graduate school, and has been accepted to the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program at Long Island University Brooklyn. “I have grown so much during my time at the University because of my leadership involvement on campus. I also have met some of the best people – some have become my closest friends and others have become my mentors.”

Klein, who is looking forward to starting her master’s degree at Roger Williams in the fall, says working on her thesis project has been particularly rewarding. Working with Tracy Tamborra, Ph.D., she investigated the impact of ethnicity and race on perceptions of parental fitness in biethnic and biracial custody disputes.

“I have been awarded the sole graduate assistantship position in my admissions class,” said Klein. “I attribute this honor to my Honors thesis work, since I believe the research foundation that I developed made me a prime candidate for the assistantship position. Working closely with such a distinguished faculty member has strengthened my confidence in my ability to conduct research. I believe this will serve me well throughout my career.”