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Screenshot of Abby Case and Amber

College, COVID, and Career Paths

Posted: 06.18.20

This week, Abby Case, our Annual Fund and Stewardship Manager, sat down (virtually) with Amber Quinlan, a Central Scholarship recipient and recent graduate of Bucknell University.

College Milestones

When it came time to choosing her dream school, Amber Quinlan said it was difficult. She knew that she wanted to attend an out-of-state school, but that it would cost more money than in-state. She had to figure out how she and her parents would balance the tuition cost with scholarships and other funding. “I stayed motivated to overcome these challenges because I knew I wanted and needed a degree to pursue a career in psychology. I had a great support system of friends, family, and teachers encouraging me.”

Once she got to campus her freshman year, Amber’s biggest challenge was figuring out how to gain independence because she was 2.5 hours away from home. Like so many other first-year students, she found it intimidating to make new friends. It helped a little that she was a Bauer Scholar, a scholarship program for students from Baltimore City highschools, so she had met up with a few of them before going to Bucknell for the first time.

While Amber knew from early on in her academic career, that she wanted to pursue Psychology, a pivotal class for her was Multicultural Psychology, which she took during her second semester, freshman year. “It set everything in place for what I did with the rest of my college career. I plan on going back to school next year and pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology and working with diverse and underserved communities.”

The Impact of COVID-19

As we all look back (or forward) to our college graduation, it’s almost impossible to imagine not living out those last few weeks at our academic home, but rather, our literal homes. “We were all in denial first. When we realized we weren’t going back to finish out our senior year on campus, many students said, ‘If I had known that was my last week on campus, I would have done things differently.’ It was hard. We didn’t get a graduation ceremony, and we’re not sure if we’re going to. I still have a feeling that we’re going back, even though we aren’t.”

Luckily, the outbreak hasn’t altered Amber’s immediate plans for the future too much. She plans on taking this year off to study for the GREs and apply to graduate school. Amber hoped to get a job in a lab at a local university this year, but she’s not sure if or when that’s going to happen.

Students’ Needs

When Abby asked Amber, “What do you think students need right now?” she thought about it. “It depends on the student, but many need financial support. Bucknell, for example, has lots of international students who had to relocate. Some couldn’t fly home. Also, I know many students are struggling with depression. Bucknell offered virtual career and counseling sessions online, which helped. But, I think having someone to talk to, right now, is probably the most important for students.”

Thanks, Amber, for taking the time to chat with us! We’re proud of you and wish you the best of luck. We’re excited to see what you accomplish!