Building Connections and Relationships Through Psychology

Miranda KutellOriginally set to attend college in New York, COVID-19 altered Miranda Kutell's plans. However, she is grateful for that twist of fate that landed her at Webster University. 

“I love Webster. I have had a lovely experience and wouldn't change it. I think the professors in the Psychology Department are amazing. They are always available to talk about schoolwork or just chat. It's always fun. I also like where we are situated. I love the neighborhood and being able to walk around where I want, and I can walk the whole campus in 10 minutes. That is pretty convenient. I consider it my home,” Kutell said.

Reflecting on how studying her major has changed her perspective on life and career, Kutell said she has become a more positive person with a better perception of how the community and society work. 

“I feel like I have a much more positive outlook than I used to. I am a lot more insightful, and I feel like I can 'read' my friends a lot better with what I have learned. With psychology, you learn so many things, like the social, cognitive and developmental aspects of life. The latter is where my main interest is. I also think about the possibility of raising a family in the future. What I would need to do before then, or if I want to have a family while I'm still in school, how would that impact me and the people around me?” Kutell said. 

She was recently elected president of the Psych Society, after rising through the ranks as the Social Media Manager and serving on the board. She enjoys her role as she gets to host different events that are meaningful and important to her, while also fostering a greater sense of community. 

“What I mainly do is create events, but it is really to help foster and create a sense of community within and outside of the Psychology Department. It can be pretty involved, you know, but it's good to know that I can fall back on my Vice President or Treasurer, if need be. I've created events that students have enjoyed, like a mental health day and Women's History Month. I am most proud of the latter because it took a lot of planning, and we had a really good turnout. Back in November, we had a Thanksgiving food drive and donated it to the Willow Project. Currently, I'm arranging a grad panel for our final event, and then afterward, we will have interviews for new board members," Kutell said. 

With the completion of her bachelor's degree on the horizon, Kutell already has ambitious plans for post-graduation. She will be working on a video game and gender research project next semester for her master’s thesis. She is also creating another research project for the summer with Professor Heather Mitchell and Clint Johnson, studying gender and humor. She has also been accepted into a PhD program at Saint Louis University for experimental psychology. 

Despite all the responsibilities and activities she has, Kutell has a positive outlook and is grateful for the mentorship that her professors provide.  

“Of course, it has been stressful at times, but looking forward is helpful because I know if I do something now, it will positively impact me in the future. I really think of most of my professors in the Psychology Department as my mentors, and they give me advice, which is really great. They validate my feelings but also remind me that they know I'm able to do this because I have been able to balance being a student, the president of Psych Society, working in labs and more," she said. 

Kutell encourages students to talk and build relationships and bonds with professors. 

“It's beneficial to talk to your professors when you can, even just saying hi to them before class. They really do take notice of that. Psychology is a social science. So it really is important to have these connections and grow them over the years. Webster is great because a lot of the professors are personable, both within and outside of psychology. Also, just keep your head up and keep going," she said. 

Kutell is a senior majoring in Psychology. Born in Miami Beach, Florida, she moved to St. Louis when she was a baby. Following the footsteps of her mother and sister, she enrolled at Webster in 2020. She is enthusiastic about exploring gender in unique aspects of life, and enriching her community. 

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