Acing the Test

sara moss '14

Photo courtesy of Sara Moss '14.

Sara Moss ’14


As a psychology major, researcher, tutor, volunteer and study-abroad student, Sara Moss ’14 has learned a lot about leadership, scholarship and culture. And with help from a grant that allowed her to accept a challenging internship at London’s King’s College Hospital, she put all of that knowledge to the test.

Clubs and organizations:

Teaching assistant, research assistant, Writing Center tutor, Dickinson Friends mentoring program and Phi Beta Kappa.

Favorite books:

To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sense of an Ending, the Ramona series and Man’s Search for Meaning.

Favorite movies:

Good Will Hunting, Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, When Harry Met Sally, Crash and Pitch Perfect.

On choosing Dickinson:

A graduate from my high school was attending Dickinson, and when I was doing my college search I visited her for a day. She took me to an education class, where students were discussing their service-learning placements; to the gym, where I saw a climbing wall; past campus signs written in other languages; and to the library, where she and her friends met to do work. I knew I had found the place I wanted to be.

Favorite professor:

My work with [Assistant] Professor [of Psychology Suman] Ambwani has had a deep impact on my life at many levels. Her Intro to Psychopathology and Research Methods in Clinical Psychology courses helped me develop a strong basic understanding of mental illness and clinical research, and the research skills she helped me gain [as her research assistant] led me to secure an internship in London and two competitive fellowships

Proudest accomplishment:

Probably completing a summer internship at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, England. I pursued the opportunity, found funding (through a Dickinson grant) and got myself to work each day. It was the first time I felt 100 percent independent, and I absolutely loved it!

Favorite place on campus:

The library. There are lots of comfortable study spaces and ample places with a ton of natural light. You can study, hold group meetings or hang out with friends and get a snack or coffee at the Biblio Café.

Favorite downtown restaurant:

I love Miseno’s, the local pizza joint, which is a 30-second walk from campus. My friends and I have a tradition: Every semester, we get Miseno’s pizza on the night before classes begin.

On studying abroad:

I studied in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a semester, and it was a truly life-changing experience. On my last day, I rode my bike into the city, picnicked in a beautiful park with friends, ate ice cream at Nyhavn (the main harbor) with my host sister and had a long dinner with my host family. I felt both gratitude for the experience and sadness that I was leaving my new home.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be:

My best friend, Noorjahan [Akbar ’14]. Every meal we have together is filled with meaningful conversation and laughter.

Little-known talents:

I can name all 50 states in less than 20 seconds and can rap the song “Aaron’s Party” from memory.

As a kid, I wanted to be . . .

. . . an author of children’s books.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

Beyond gaining a ton of knowledge about psychology, social movements, cultures and values, environmental science and writing, I’ve also gained a real sense of confidence in my ability to learn, think critically and apply [what I’ve learned] outside the classroom. I’ve discovered that there are people (like my friends and professors) who will support me in every endeavor and that I am far more capable than I realized.  

Future plans:

I’m hoping to find a way to return to London to continue the eating-disorder research I was involved in during my internship and to pursue some independent projects. Ultimately, I am going to apply to clinical-psychology Ph.D. programs and enter the field as a researcher and clinician. I also want to continue to travel, hike, take photography and, one day, publish a memoir!

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Published April 7, 2014