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Marie Johnson

Richmond, VA

Virginia Commonwealth University

Activities & Involvement:

I will remember volunteering with OAR, an organization that provides community, access to technology, financial counseling, and job search assistance to currently and formerly incarcerated adults. I will also remember being a member of Phi Sigma Pi, a gender-inclusive honors fraternity that served the greater-Richmond and VCU community through volunteerism, scholarship opportunities, and fellowship.

Lastly, I had the privilege of serving as an Education Coach for fellow college students with intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and autism spectrum disorder. As an Ed Coach, I worked 1:1 with one or two students a semester, which allowed me to attend classes with my students as well as prepare biweekly tutoring sessions. I also served as an advocate for my students, suggesting modifications to their assignments and making sure their professors met their accommodations. My goal with each student was to build up their confidence in their abilities and encourage them to practice self-advocacy.

Honors & Achievements:

I successfully defended an undergraduate honors thesis in Psychology. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.86 GPA and departmental honors.

Future Plans:

In July, I begin a two-year fellowship in Clinical Neuroscience at the Yale Child Study Center. I will be researching autism spectrum disorder and shadowing clinicians in the Developmental Disabilities Clinic.

After my fellowship is completed, I hope to attend graduate school to earn my PhD in Clinical Psychology. I am passionate about helping others to recognize their gifts and to find their voice. I am hopeful that I can do this in a clinical setting with children and adolescents who face barriers such as autism spectrum disorder.

Proudest Moments:

I am thankful that I learned self-advocacy and efficacy from a young age. My experiences in learning how to navigate my needs and become a strong self-advocate allowed me to succeed, and inspired me to help others do the same. I am so proud that I have pursued this in college in many ways. For example, I participated in undergraduate research in two labs; in one lab, I helped to develop a substance use prevention manual for adolescents who had experienced trauma. In the other lab, I learned about family systems and resilience, and I studied adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. I continued on to write and defend an undergraduate honors thesis inspired by my research experiences with teens that have autism. Throughout college, I made a point of working with disadvantaged populations, including formerly incarcerated adults and college students with intellectual disabilities. All of these ventures allowed me to follow my passion of building up others and helping them find their voice and confidence.

Sign Marie Johnson's Yearbook!

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You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

- Dr. Seuss