"I chose psychology as my major because I felt it would make me a more effective educator and advocate for children facing academic challenges." - Ahlehm Negash (BA, December 2009)
Already an experienced educator when she arrived at UW in autumn of 2008, Ahlehm Negash brought with her a desire to combine that experience with a strong academic foundation. A transfer student from California community colleges who was home schooled by her mother, Ahlehm has also lived, studied and worked abroad.
This international student and educator stresses the importance of being open to new ideas and ways of thinking, while at the same time remaining true to one's individual beliefs and values. No small task, but one that Ahlehm is up to. "My work as a teacher in the United States, Africa and Asia has afforded me the opportunity to observe human behavior across cultures and socioeconomic statuses," says Ahlehm.
Ever the teacher, Ahlehm brought her natural talents to bear as a peer teaching assistant. She worked with psychology professor Beth Kerr in her Fundamentals of Psychological Research class, holding office hours for the students and running study and review sessions. One benefit of being a peer teaching assistant is the opportunity that it affords the student to work one on one with a professor. "My advice to new psychology majors," says Ahlehm, "is to partner with your professors in your education - the acquisition of knowledge is an active process!"
Ahlehm's short term plans include pursuing a Master's degree in school psychology with an eye toward that ultimate goal of becoming a strong "educator and advocate" for children who are struggling under difficult circumstances. Ahlehm plans to realize that goal by one day opening a residential school for refugee and orphaned children in Africa.