Rebecca Brewster ′15

Hometown: Mobile, AL

Major: Psychology 
Minor: Anthropology/Sociology

Academic interests: Clinical adolescent psychology

Extracurricular activities: CODA Fellow, Davidson-Broughton Summer Intern, Clinical Psychology Lab Research Assistant, UrbanArt Intern, DeNeuville Learning Center Intern, Rhodes Singers, Kappa Delta Sorority

Tell us the story of how you got to Rhodes College.

When a representative from Rhodes visited my high school, a friend who was familiar with Rhodes encouraged me to attend the information session. As I listened to the representative speak, I quickly realized that Rhodes was exactly what I was looking for: a smaller liberal arts school situated in a city full of opportunities for community involvement. After applying, I received an email sent to Rhodes applicants asking for applications for the CODA (Center for Outreach in the Development of the Arts) fellowship. Since I had played the piano for 12 years and sung in the choir at my church growing up, the possibility of being able to continue these passions and combine them with service and involvement in the Rhodes and Memphis communities was extremely attractive to me. After being invited to interview for CODA, I finally made my first trip to visit Rhodes. Like every other human with a pulse and/or Harry Potter addiction, I immediately swooned at the aesthetics of the campus. After my acceptance to Rhodes and the CODA program, it was a done deal for me.

How have you changed since beginning your studies at Rhodes?

I entered college completely unsure of what my academic interests were or what my career might even vaguely look like. Fortunately, I decided to take an introduction to psychology course my first semester. I was immediately drawn to the course and professor, and I continued to take psychology classes, leading to a choice in major, a gratifying sense of direction, and an academic department I have grown to love and deeply respect. Rhodes has also contributed greatly to my personal growth, largely due to the small size of classes and the ease of communicating with professors, which has proved invaluable to my experience.

You spent last summer in North Carolina shadowing psychologists working with adolescents. Tell us a bit about your experience.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Davidson-Broughton Summer Study Program by the psychology department at Rhodes. This program allowed me to participate in an eight-week internship program with seven other undergraduate students at Broughton Hospital, a state psychiatric facility in Morganton, North Carolina. The program involved a weekly class with various professionals working at the hospital. I was also assigned a specific supervisor, a psychologist at the hospital, who acted as a mentor for the duration of the program. I was able to observe my supervisor in almost all of his work with patients and staff, which led to a more rewarding experience than I could have ever asked for. My supervisor not only served as a dedicated mentor to me, he also allowed me to see in action what it means to be in the field of clinical psychology. I was able to apply all I had learned in the classroom to a real-life setting in my potential career, and I would highly recommend this program to any psychology major considering a career in clinical psychology.

How has your research with Dr. Jonathan Cook helped you to grow as a Rhodes student?

It has been an incredibly rewarding experience that helped broaden my understanding of the field of psychology and led to personal growth. I was immediately attracted to the qualitative nature of Dr. Cook’s research, which revolves around determining the nature of depictions of mental patients and professionals in LIFE and LOOK magazines from the 1930s to the 1970s. With my involvement in this research, I have been able to combine my interests in psychology and the arts, which is something I previously would not have thought possible. Participating in this research has not only allowed me to grow my skills related to research, it has also allowed me to work with history and photography in an analytical and thought-provoking way.

How has your work with CODA influenced your college career?

One of the reasons I chose to work with CODA is that it represents one of the main strengths of Rhodes as a whole: community involvement. So many students at Rhodes are involved in the Memphis community, and in a multitude of ways. Even though my major and career goals are not in the realm of the arts, CODA has allowed me to maintain a strong connection to the arts. I have kept my love of music alive with my participation in Rhodes Singers, and explored other interests through internships with various non-profit organizations in the Memphis community, including ArtsMemphis, the Levitt Shell, and UrbanArt. This fellowship and these internships have launched me into the community outside of Rhodes, which has served to contribute greatly to my personal growth and admiration of the city of Memphis.