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Mindy Wong

Harpur helps senior psychology major flourish

By Terasa Yu

Ever since she was young, Mindy Wong was aware that education was important in fostering growth.

"I didn't have a lot of TV," she said, "so my main pastime was reading. I wiped out the whole fantasy section of the library."

Growing up in Brooklyn, Wong was disciplined. Her grandfather, who was a chemical engineer, helped develop her interest in science.

"I gained my love for science from my grandpa," Wong said. "He was very close to me."

Wong's grandfather also taught her the significance of education and how vital it is to one's livelihood.

"I remember he taught me my multiplication tables when I was in elementary school, way before everyone else," Wong said. "I think I was in kindergarten."

Wong, 21, is a senior majoring in psychology at Harpur College.

"I find (psychology) very intuitive," she said, "and I like learning about people in general."

Wong became interested in psychology through an Advanced Placement course at Brooklyn Technical High School. Her love for mystery novels and crime television shows, in which she is able to analyze characters and their motives, also feeds her interest in psychology.

This year, Wong is working on her honors thesis with Richard Mattson, associate professor of psychology. She is researching how certain variables, such as types of betrayal and levels of relationship commitment, might change perceptions of intimate partner violence.

"Mindy is an exceptional student," Mattson said. "She is quick to learn and adapt and is highly creative and proactive. It is also apparent how much she appreciates being involved in the lab and in the research process more generally."

Wong is also assisting Mattson in his lab dealing with marriage and family. In conjunction, she has an internship with the Psychological Clinic at Clearview Hall.

"The Psychological Clinic internship is such an amazing opportunity because it lets me see how a clinic would work," she said. "It's really interesting being able to see case conferences and (hearing) what people with actual clinical experience have to say."

Besides psychology, Wong is also fascinated with nature and animals. She said she does not like to be trapped inside all the time and often goes out for fresh air.

"I really like going to the Nature Preserve," she said. "I like watching animal videos. It calms me down."

In past years, Wong was a member of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers at Binghamton University. During her sophomore and junior years, Wong was involved in the Binghamton University Japanese Association. She helped with the association's Ghost House one semester and participated in Japan Night another semester.

"People are very accepting here," Wong said, "and if you put yourself out there, you can pretty much do anything you want."

Wong said she could not be more grateful to Binghamton University for how much she has flourished as a student. The University has given her many opportunities that she would not have received otherwise, she added.

"There's just so much you can do and the faculty are really, really nice," she said. "They don't leave you out to fend for yourself."

Wong said that to her, knowledge is not the most crucial factor she can gain from college.

"More than knowledge, I want to walk away with a lot of experience," she said. "The more I expose myself to, the more I do, the fewer mistakes I make when I get into the work-force."

Wong hopes to become a clinical psychologist in the future. Although she plans to take a gap year after graduating, she said that she will attend a clinical psychology program for her doctorate degree.

Harpur College has helped Wong transition into adulthood, she said, as it has made her more independent and confident.

"I came in here a bit shy, but (now) I'm not as scared of saying what I think," she said. "Other people don't influence me as much as they did before."

In addition, Binghamton has prepared Wong for the reality that awaits many college graduates.

"I feel so sufficient now," she said. "If you threw me out there with a bit of money, I could probably survive."

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Last Updated: 3/1/17