Broadening horizons: Meet 2022 PNW graduate Daizha Hunter

May 4, 2022

Daizha Hunter, ’22, will be graduating with a bachelor of science in Psychology.

The Hammond native, who loves being around and learning about kids, first started as an Education major. However, her interests later turned to working with mental health, and she changed to Psychology starting her second year at PNW.

Hunter is an Honors College member and has served as a peer mentor and teaching assistant in the college. She has also worked with the English Language Program and been a member of the Psychology Club and Black Student Union. She spent her fourth year doing research as a McNair Scholar.

Hunter interns at Clarity Clinic NWI and will attend Governor’s State University to earn her master’s degree. She aspires to be a clinical psychologist.

What do you like about your program?

Psychology is so broad. I’m the type of person where I don’t like to stay put in a box — I like to be able to move around and see what interests me. There are so many career paths you can take and I liked the flexibility of being able to change my path if I want to.

I’m really drawn to children because they go through a lot at an early age and it can disrupt how they go through life. I personally didn’t have the best childhood and thankfully I’ve had support to get through it, but I realize not every child is as fortunate to receive that help. I want to be that person to impact them in a positive way and inspire and guide them.”

Why did you choose to attend PNW?

“I chose to go to PNW because it’s close to home. While I’m branching out with my college studies, it was important for me to be in my community with the people I love, know, and who support me.

Also, by being a smaller campus, I felt I would get a more intimate education experience instead of having these large lecture halls with hundreds of students. I’ve developed close relationships with faculty I feel I may not have gotten anywhere else.”

What did you like most about PNW?

“What I enjoyed the most was joining McNair. The program and getting that research experience was something I hadn’t really thought about before joining. It gave me the opportunity to build my skills and broaden my horizons as far as what I might want to do in the future.

I worked with a faculty mentor, Gisele Casanova, in the summer of 2021 for the summer research program. It was very challenging and I have a huge respect now for researchers after this, because it is hard.

During that summer I presented this research over Zoom for the McNair Conference at UCLA. There were people (participating in the conference) from all over and it was a really amazing experience.

Now I feel super prepared for graduate school and I don’t know if I would’ve felt as prepared had I not been a part of McNair.”

Did you have a pivotal experience while attending PNW?

Working with the English Language Program. I feel it really helped me be able to help all different types of people from all walks of life. These students were coming from an entirely different country. For them, they don’t know anyone and it’s hard to communicate because English is not their first language. It helped me put myself in their shoes and helped me form great connections with them as students. I’m still friends with a lot of them.”

Was there anyone at PNW who inspired or inspired you along the way?

Gisele M Casanova Headshot

Gisele Casanova, Associate Professor of Psychology

“She is the one who encouraged me to apply for McNair because she saw something in me. She believed I could go forward to the graduate level. Before that, I questioned if I was equipped to do that. It helped me push forward that someone I held in high regard pushed me to apply for McNair.”

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