Minor: American Studies
Summa Cum Laude
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Plans: Family trauma researcher
One of the best things about UMBC is how supportive professors and staff are. They tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. They see potential in you and encourage you to take each mistake as a learning experience. Their ongoing support helped me feel confident about pursuing a wide range of opportunities.
Second generation Retriever and valedictorian Kara Seidel sees every experience as a learning opportunity. She is particularly thankful for the broad range of academic and professional experiences she has found through UMBC, as well as the relationships she has developed. Her work at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in an HIV/Addiction Lab and at the American Psychological Association helped her identify her core intellectual interests within the vast psychology field, and pursue her own research.
“As a student at UMBC, I accessed unbelievable opportunities to gain hands-on learning. As a result, I was able to discover behavioral therapy and a passion for research and helping families dealing with trauma,” says Seidel.
Seidel has worked as lead research assistant in the Trauma Lab of Christopher Murphy, professor, and chair of psychology. A member of the Honors College, her commitment to challenging herself academically and as a student researcher earned her a Shimoff Award and a Distinguished Achievement Award from the psychology department.
As a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar, Seidel has also explored ways to combine academics with service. The UMBC Shriver Center awarded Seidel with the Samson, Rosetta A., and Sadie B. Feldman Family Award for her work as a student service coordinator in the Students United for Campus-Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success (SUCCESS) program. Seidel also served as president of Psi Chi International Honor Society, is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society, and works as a social justice intern for UMBC Hillel.
Ultimately, Seidel reflects, her success at UMBC is all about community. “The array of experiences I’ve had at UMBC are because of the people I have met here,” she says.
Seidel will work as a behavioral therapist and researcher for the next year, before beginning a Ph.D. program in psychology, with a focus on supporting families experiencing trauma.
Photos by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.