Newsletter Article

Christopher Wyszynski: Open to the Possibilities

"I love to learn and with each new class comes a new paradigm with which to view the world.  I thoroughly enjoy trying to use these paradigms to explain what is happening in daily life.  For me, the process of learning is inspiring."

     Christopher Wyszynski (BS student)

Photo of Christopher Wyszynski
Photo: Christopher Wyszynski (BS student)

And, speaking of inspiration, meet Christopher Wyszynski - psychology honors student, researcher, undergraduate teaching assistant, and published author.  Christopher, who will graduate Magna Cum Laude this June with a psychology degree and a philosophy minor, has been working with psychology professor Jonathan Bricker, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.  His independent research, under Dr. Bricker's mentorship, resulted in the recent publication of an article in the journal Health Psychology.  Christopher studies the relationship between adult smoking cessation and child/adolescent smoking.

Christopher's love of learning and openess to shifting paradigms literally took him to the other side of the world, to study at the Australian National University.  What he found surprising about this experience was the emphasis on the research happening in the United States.  "While I was expecting to learn more about research and advancements from Australian researchers," remembers Christopher, "it was fascinating to hear different perspectives on US contributions to the field."

Chief among advice that he would pass on to current psychology undergraduates is the importance of really connecting with faculty.  Christopher encourages students to seek out professors outside the context of the lecture hall, taking advantage of office hours and more in depth interactions, such as research and peer TAing.  "Some of the most insightful comments and advice about the field of psychology as a whole, the directions it is taking, playing the academic game, and how to prepare for graduate school, have come from discussions with professors," says Christopher.

Although he wishes that he had even more time to connect with and learn from his UW professors, Christopher is now poised to move on to the next step.  Following graduation, he will begin work as a Pre-Master's Research Assistant at Fred Hutchinson, working in the areas of smoking acquisition, cessation and treatments.  Christopher's long term goal is to enter a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology.