The New York State chapter of the nation’s largest grassroots mental-health advocacy organization, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), has awarded scholarships to Dianna Paige ’19 and Elena Parkins ’18. The award covers expenses to attend the 2016 NAMI-NYS Educational Conference in Albany.
The 2016 conference gathers psychology professionals to detail new breakthroughs in the research and treatment of psychiatric disorders and to explore crucial issues affecting mental-illness sufferers and their families, such as recognizing and addressing trauma, suicide prevention, and employment.
“They are both very bright, motivated, and passionate students,” says Associate Professor of Psychology Jamie Bodenlos.
Paige, a psychology major and public policy minor, has earned dean’s list honors since arriving at the Colleges and, earlier this fall, was the recipient of an Academic Excellence Award. Her particular interest in mental illness in children and teens has led to her professional goal to establish a nonprofit with a focus on mental-health awareness and implementing education and advocacy programs in communities and schools.
“I hope the conference allows me to expand my understanding of mental health and the stigma behind it. I want to take any opportunities I can to increase my knowledge so I can spread it to others,” says Paige, who also looks forward to networking with industry leaders.
Perkins is a psychology and music double major and a recent inductee into Psi Chi, the psychology honors society. She is interested in the use of music therapy in the treatment of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
“From this experience, I hope to increase my knowledge on the many mental illnesses prevalent in our society, as well as to learn about how society reacts to these mental illnesses and how advocates for mental health can work to make those reactions less damaging,” says Parkins.