2018 Success Stories

Alexis Jankowski, B.A. in Psychology

During her four-year journey to the Commencement stage, psychology major Alexis Jankowski masterminded the quintessential Salve experience.

By fully engaging in many of the University’s uniquely personalized opportunities in academics, independent field research, faculty mentoring, extracurriculars and community involvement (to name a few) – Jankowski graduated on a clear trajectory toward achieving her future aspirations.

This fall, she will attend Boston College’s Lynch School of Education to earn her master’s degree in mental health counseling, and will soon begin working at Berklee College of Music as a graduate assistant in its Office of Housing and Residential Life. A Ph.D. in clinical psychology is perhaps further on down the road, but for Jankowski, now is the perfect time to reflect a bit.

“Looking back on my time at Salve, I think that it is remarkable that each professor has helped to shape my academic and future careers outside of just being a professor that I have learned from in class,” she said. “This is one of the wonderful things about Salve, and it happens outside of the psychology department as well – the faculty and staff here really care about their students and want to see them succeed in whatever they do. It doesn’t matter if you are asking them about your interest in conducting research or if you’re asking for help with a topic on an upcoming exam, they will provide you with resources and opportunities to help you succeed.”

Jankowski worked closely with several faculty during her academic career, including as a research partner with Dr. Arthur Frankel and Dr. Sheila Quinn. She praises the insight and experience shared by Dr. Kevin Fontaine, who guided her independent study last semester in abnormal psychology. And she thanked both new faculty member, Dr. Kaitlin Black, and her four-year advisor, Dr. Paula Martasian, for all the guidance and wisdom they shared on everything from course selection to graduate school decisions to life in general.

“The faculty in the psychology department here have been such a big part of my success here, and each of them have shaped my experience in some important way,” she said. “They pushed me to pursue the things that I want to do.”

During her senior year, Jankowski and her fellow History and Systems class researchers were invited to present their project, “A Ghoul’s Guide to Psychology” before the annual conference of the Eastern Psychological Association. Jankowski’s group researched famous figures in the field of psychology who had a connection to the state of Rhode Island, focusing on three categories: the biographical background of the person, their connection to psychology and their connection to the state.

Two other groups in Quinn’s class tackled similar topics, focusing on Connecticut and Massachusetts psychologists. The three groups then merged their work, creating a website that serves as both an educational research tool and as a travel guide. At the conclusion of the EPA conference, Jankowski and her team received the History of Psychology Excellence Award.

“Receiving this award was such an honor, and for me, it validated all of the hard work that I, along with my group-mates, put into the project,” she said.

Outside the classroom, Jankowski interned in Newport Hospital’s behavioral health unit and partial hospitalization program, gaining hands-on experience working with recreation therapists, psychologists, mental health counselors and social workers. She participated in and served as co-leader of group therapy sessions and worked with patients on the road to recovery from some difficult life challenges. “Seeing the impact that can be made through working in the field of psychology firsthand has affirmed my desire to build my career within the field,” Jankowski said.