Meet your Student Group Leaders: Olivia Aveson!

October 30, 2017


What do your responsibilities include within MSRG?

  • MSRG works as a group developing initiatives which advocate for research within the Master’s Student body and promoting professional development activities throughout the academic year. I will be involved in helping to design the Master’s Student Research Conference that MSRG hosts every Spring. I’m excited to see all of the hard work my peers have put into their research during the academic year.


Where did you go to school for your undergraduate degree?

  • I started out at Tulane University in New Orleans before transferring to Boston College where I got a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a concentration in neuroscience.


What lead you to the John Jay Forensic Psychology Master’s program?

  • When I finished my undergraduate degree, I was sure I was going to pursue a career in neuroscience, so I took a job as a neuropsychology technician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and their satellite site at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, which are both in Boston. Here I worked in the Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Department of Harvard Medical School conducting neuropsychological assessments for inpatients and outpatients with myriad neuropsychiatric, oncological, medical, and psychological diagnoses. This experience inspired my interest in clinical work. Outside of my job at the hospital, the director of the department hired me to conduct assessments for private cases involving civil litigation and the NFL concussion settlement; working in these forensic cases is what brought me to John Jay!


What research do you participate in at John Jay?

  • I am in Dr. Weiss’s Forensic Assessment laboratory, Dr. Falkenbach’s Psychopathy Laboratory, and Dr. Jill Grose-Fifer’s Event-Related Potential Laboratory - where I am completing my thesis.


What do you feel is the best part about working in MSRG and for students who utilize those services?

  • In my opinion, the peer guidance is the most valuable part of working in MSRG. During my time as an undergraduate, I felt like I lacked any kind of advisement and missed out on a lot of great opportunities because of it. While we get great mentorship from faculty members here at John Jay regarding career goals and professional development, I feel as through peer advisors have something separately valuable to offer. Students can receive advice from individuals who have recently gone through the same experience; such as deciding on a thesis advisor or applying to externship.


What are some of your pet peeves?

  • I used to think that after living in the South, I was a slow walker. But oh boy, since moving to New York: slow walkers who walk in the middle of the sidewalk.


What are some hobbies you have outside your graduate student studies?

  • Napping, nacho consumption, trying to find a way to adopt a dog.


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

  • Normally, I would say somewhere exciting like Croatia, Banff National Park, or the Amalfi Coast…but right now I’d settle for my bed.




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