Grad of the Week: Melissa Olson

Melissa Olson

MCU is pleased to spotlight soon-to-be graduates from the Class of 2022.

What is your major?
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Graduate School Path

What are your hopes and plans after graduation?
This Fall, I will begin a PsyD program in Clinical Psychology to become a licensed clinical
psychologist serving underserved populations.

What have you been involved in while at MCU?
I have had the pleasure and honor to be involved in our diverse student organizations and
academic honor societies which included MCU’s Black Student Union, Asian Pacific Islander
Student Association, LGBTQ+ Student Organization, Student Veteran Organization, Mental
Health Learning Inclusion, Psi Chi MCU Chapter, Delta Epsilon Sigma, and MSGA.

What is your favorite memory of MCU?
My first few weeks at MCU, and Dr. Wade assigned us to participate in an MCU event. I signed
up for the Day in L.A Chinatown. I had no idea what to expect since I never heard of a university
that goes on awesome field trips. I stepped into the shuttle and met the coolest professor that
brought us Randy’s Donuts, good music was playing, awesome shuttle driver, learned how to
use social media more efficiently on the ride to downtown, experienced the historical Chinese
American Museum, had a great time shopping in Chinatown, and this cool professor ordered us
just about everything on the menu at our dim sum lunch. I met lifelong friendships and since
that memory, it fueled my passion to become involved in student organizations and events at

What advice do you have for other students?
Have a plan and follow it. Even if you are not certain on your next steps after MCU. This plan is
a one size fits all and it will get you to your next goal when you’re ready. It’s a simple
recipe…find a mentor, check-in with your mentor, stay current with your Ed Plan, meet
regularly with your academic advisor, join a student organization, ask questions in class,
volunteer (New Beginnings Club or google local charities), seek out internships on your own
(the worst they can tell you is no, and if you go for it you’ll probably achieve it), take junior
seminar your sophomore year (you need your planning set by junior year if you want to get into
grad school), keep a notebook of everything you attend and volunteer, and make time for selfcare. It’s all up to you and it’s simple if you stay consistent. Your future self will thank you.

What was your favorite experience at MCU?
My favorite experience would be when our student organization presidents united together
during the pandemic when MCU transitioned to an entirely virtual learning platform for
academic year 2020-2021. We held weekly meetings to find ways to educate, virtual ways to
stay connected, be of service in our communities, and to bring awareness to the many social
injustices that were taking place around us. We collaborated with each other, alums, faculty,
and staff to host much needed important events to discuss these topics in a safe place for all.
This is a prime example of a Mariner’s resilient leadership tested through challenges and I feel
this is a direct reflection of the support, engagement, and leadership from our faculty and
staff members. And to Professor Royal, for the many student organizations he mentors. You are
the glue that keeps us all together and you are so much appreciated.

What was your favorite class at MCU and why?
This is a difficult question to answer, as most were my favorite. If I had to choose a class that
literally set me up for academic success it is Cognitive Processes with Dr. Kaeochinda. This class
basically explained the mental processes that involve how one gains knowledge and
comprehension. Literally, every time I begin to study, the words and tips Dr. K has passed onto
us in class pass through my mind, and I remember most of what I read when studying from
taking Cognitive Processes.

Who inspired you at MCU and why?
Dr. Kaeochinda first inspired me, by believing in me during my first semester at MCU, as I had
two of my first three MCU psychology courses with him. He took me under his wing, and he has
been there every step of the way. As I was transitioning into civilian life after my military
career, he was able to relate and teach through various ways and explain concepts to me in
ways I was able to understand. He would help me in his free time to teach me how to navigate
through Microsoft applications since this was new to me. He would come early to class and stay
after to discuss psychology and if any of his students had questions it would evolve into a group
tutoring session. He invited me that first semester to become a member of Psi Chi and that
meant to world to me. Every bit of advice he suggested that would lead me closer toward my
doctoral path; I took it, wrote it down, and followed it. Everything he gave me was liquid gold.
He is such an inspiration, and I have no idea how he makes the time to mentor to the extent
that he does. By his unwavering efforts, dedication, and an example of a model mentor; I will
be sure to pay it forward just as he has with me. And lastly, I have been incredibly blessed to
have a team of professors that are each an expert in the fields of psychology, in-turn fluent to
explain concepts and theories in a way we could understand and now have prepared us for our
next step. I will be forever grateful.