Student Spotlight

Joy Houlder Class of 2019

Psychology major

Joy Houlder ’19 has always “gravitated toward people,” and her Emmanuel College journey so far reflects that. As she looked toward her sophomore year, an interest in mediation and community-building inspired her to become a Resident Assistant (RA) in Loretto Hall, her own home away from home during her first year at Emmanuel.

"I really wanted to work with first-year students. Students who are a few years older are more settled and have everything a bit more together than students who are new to college," she said. "I wanted to be a resource for my residents. I love talking with them and that they feel comfortable coming to me with their problems or concerns."

One of their main concerns? How to find their niche in a new environment.  

"Residents have come to me a lot with questions about fitting in," she said. "I'm very repetitive; I always tell them, 'Give it time.' It took me a couple of months to figure it out and find my place, but it will happen. Honestly, give it time."  

Living on campus and being so close to the countless events and activities that take place every day gave Joy the opportunity to meet many of her peers and to join many different clubs and organizations—some she never expected.  

"After hearing about the Ukulele Club, I thought, 'That might be something I'd like to do,'" she said. "I'm the Club's librarian, so I organize all of the sheet music. It's been really fun; we perform around the city at different group homes and retirement homes and deliver Christmas- and Valentine-grams in the residence halls."  

Joy also serves as the Public Relations Officer for the Black Student Union (BSU)—a position for which she learned the ins and outs of connecting virtually, as she keeps her personal life free of social media. When she has time, between her RA duties, her job as a front desk assistant in Loretto Hall and her roles on the executive boards of the Ukulele Club and the BSU, she tries to experience new things, such as learning about cultures different than her own through the Asian Student Association or staying active with the EC Swim Club or Zumba Club.  

In the classroom, Joy plans to develop her strengths in making connections as a psychology major with a concentration in counseling and health. A talented artist with a minor in studio art, her goal is to become an art therapist, and she hopes to find an internship with one of the Fenway neighborhood's many hospitals or healthcare organizations.  

"I came to Emmanuel because I wanted to be surrounded by the city and all of the opportunities that are right outside the gates," she said. "I have a bike that takes me everywhere I need to go. I love being right in Boston, but on a quiet campus. I never feel overwhelmed by the buzz of the city—but I know it's all steps away. It's a really happy medium."

Interested in Psychology?

Psychology is a rich and varied discipline dedicated to the scientific study of the complexity and diversity of the mind and behavior, including cognition, personality, memory, emotion, interpersonal relationships, psychological disturbance and psychotherapy. Psychology majors at Emmanuel receive a broad liberal arts education as well as training in the specialized knowledge and skills of psychology with concentrations in developmental psychology, neuroscience and counseling & health. Beyond the classroom, students are able to take advantage of the various research and internship opportunities in Boston, from world-class medical centers to nonprofit and human services organizations.

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