Memory Studies in Tanzania
By Ohio Wesleyan University
Experience Prepares OWU Student for Clinical Psychology Career
Name: Amanda Barry ’17
Majors: Biology and Psychology
Hometown: Seville, Ohio
Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Exploring the Prevalence and Perceptions of Dementia in a Rural Community in Tanzania”
Barry traveled to Maasai, Tanzania, to administer Mini-Mental State Examinations (MMSE) to those experiencing symptoms of memory impairment. She also examined how people with dementia-like symptoms are perceived by conducting semi-structured interviews with family members of various age groups.
Lessons learned: “This experience had an exceptional impact on my academic, professional, personal, and intellectual development.
“Academically, I was able to apply what I have learned in class. In class, I learned the basics about the disorder, but through my TPG (Theory-to-Practice Grant), I was able to apply my knowledge and learn more about the disorder in a real world setting.
“In addition, I was able to apply material learned in several other courses, including Quantitative Methods (PSYC 210), Research Methods (PSYC 310) and Counseling and Psychotherapy (PSYC 327). In Research Methods and Quantitative Methods, I learned how to collect and analyze information, which I was able to apply to my experimental design and analysis for this project.
“Professionally, this experience provided me with an applied learning opportunity that few other students are able to experience. I was able to write a grant, design my own research study, collect the data, analyze the data, write a report, and present my results to my peers. This sets me apart from many of my peers and will aid my applications to graduate school for Clinical Psychology with a focus on dementia.
“However, I believe the largest impact was on my personal and intellectual development. Intellectually, this experience gave me insight into how other cultures view mental illness, an experience I would not have had without the TPG program. I was able to investigate the stigma, treatment, and health care facilities of a third-world, collectivist country, which is about as different from the United States as possible.
“This gave me a lot to think about; mental disorders are not inherently stigmatizing as they are in the United States, and this provides different insight that can be applied to my future career. Personally, this experience was a huge step out of my comfort zone. I traveled to Tanzania last May (2016) and loved every second of it.
“It was so different than anything I have experienced before and that made me want to return to study mental illness in this different culture. I never thought I would be able to travel to Africa (or within a foreign country) by myself, but this project forced me to do so and allowed me to prove to myself that I was capable. It was a huge stretch of my comfort zone but it pushed me to experience new things and this gave me much greater self-confidence.”
Why I chose OWU: “I decided to attend OWU almost as soon as I stepped foot on campus. The grounds were so beautiful and the students were all so welcoming.
“As I learned more about the school, I learned about how involved and dedicated the professors were, the opportunities for travel, and the opportunities to do my own research. Altogether, this made OWU the perfect fit for me.”
My plans after graduation: “After graduation, I am going to move to Dayton, Ohio, to complete an internship with The Rucks Group as a research assistant. After a gap year, I plan to attend graduate school to obtain my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.”