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Student Spotlight: Emily Payne ‘15

Psychology major the first in her family to attend college

Nov 4, 2014 | Article by: Laura Bulman

Emily Payne '15


Emily Payne ’15 began her studies at Syracuse University just over two years ago, yet she is on track to graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences this May with a major in psychology and a minor in health and wellness. Growing up in nearby Baldwinsville, New York, Payne excelled throughout high school, earning enough college credits before her first year on campus to be able to graduate early. As the first person in her family to attend college, Payne has enjoyed taking advantage of the many opportunities that the College of Arts and Sciences has to offer.  Being a local resident, Payne has many aspects of Central New York to share with her fellow students so they can make the most of their time at Syracuse.

Why did you choose Syracuse University?

First of all, the university has a remarkable commitment to assisting students with extenuating circumstances to be able to afford their undergraduate degree. In my college search, I encountered many helpful individuals who were very willing to give me any information I could ask for. I also feel that Syracuse University offers the opportunity to learn a wide variety of different subjects, and I love the proximity to many of the activities I enjoyed growing up in Syracuse.

What led you to study psychology and health and wellness?

I developed a passion for pursuing a health-related undergraduate degree as a result of an advanced placement psychology class in high school, as well as familial influence, since almost all of my female relatives in my immediate family are nurses.

What are some of the opportunities outside of the classroom that you have valued?

My favorite thing about attending Syracuse University is working in a research lab in the psychology department. I am currently a research assistant in the Center for Autism Research in Electrophysiology, working with Dr. Natalie Russo, and I am volunteering at Access Care and Resources for Health (ACR Health) in Syracuse. At ACR Health, I perform a wide variety of tasks such as preparing materials for clients, helping to organize events, and even working at major events such as the Breaking Barrier Summit recently held at the Genesee Grande Hotel near campus.

What do you hope to do with your degree?

I plan to pursue either my master’s or PhD directly following graduation. My prospective field of study is public health and, specifically, epidemiology. I am very interested in conducting research in the field of adolescent and young adult reproductive health.  I’m grateful that Syracuse University has allowed me to make connections with faculty and community organizations that have proved invaluable. Being a first-generation college student means that I don’t always know all the ins and outs of college life or applying for graduate school, but I have certainly found that faculty and staff offer immense help for those who aren’t afraid to ask.

As a CNY native, can you offer any advice on places to visit off campus?

I love kayaking and walking along the trails at Onondaga Lake Park, grabbing awesome food from places like Tully’s in Dewitt and Fairmount, Heid’s in Liverpool, and the B’ville Diner, going to the many rock music concerts offered during the spring and summer months, and hiking at state parks in the area.

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Contact Information

Laura Bulman
315-443-8085
lbulman@syr.edu