Gaining the Skills to Help

Lydia Orr

Lydia Orr '19 

When Lydia Orr ’19 declared her psychology major, she knew she wanted to use it to help people. She now knows she wants to help victims of sexual assault after graduation, and she is gathering the necessary skills through a combination of classes and volunteer work. Below, Orr talks about volunteering, her current research project and more.



Clubs and organizations:

Peer Educator and First-Year Interest  Group (FIG) leader.

Favorite book:

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.

Favorite movie:

A Walk to Remember.

Favorite dining hall food:

Ravioli from the KOVE.

As a kid …

…I was dead set on working at Sea World with the dolphins.

On choosing Dickinson:

I decided to attend Dickinson because of its strong study-abroad program and the ideals of a liberal-arts college. I knew going into college that going abroad was something I wanted to do, and Dickinson makes that process fairly easy.

Little-known hobby:

I am really interested in photography. I have taken two photography classes here at Dickinson. I love using Dickinson’s photography studio.

On choosing a major:

I want to work with victims of sexual assault and violence, and I think that a psychology major gives me the necessary skills to help those in need.

On volunteering:

I volunteer with the YWCA’s sexual assault/rape crisis program and work in their after-school homework program. The sexual assault/rape crisis program is the type of job I want to do post-college. I also love working with the after-school program, because the kids have so much energy and are always willing to learn.

Favorite class so far:

My favorite class so far has been my Sociology 240 class, which is a qualitative research class. We are conducting student interviews that follow up on the student climate survey. The professor allowed students to choose their focus to interview other students, so I have been able to focus on an issue that is important to me, which makes me more motivated to do the work.

On researching:

My research project is a follow-up on the student climate survey that was issued recently. My focus is on barriers to reporting sexual assault and harassment. I will be interviewing students on their knowledge and experience with sexual assault/harassment and whether they know [about] the available resources. Sociology is my minor, and the idea of qualitative research interests me because even though quantitative research has the statistical data to back up points, qualitative data can in a sense go more in-depth. I am still in the process of researching, but I have already learned that it is hard to recruit a sample because of everyone’s busy schedules. I have also learned that a research proposal takes a lot more time and thought than just coming up with an idea. There are ethical guidelines that one must go through if they want to do a research project.

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Published June 29, 2017