Students in Action

Cassandra Lyon

"Eckerd is a young and unique institution."

Cassandra Lyon
Majors: International Relations and Psychology
Minor: Chinese
Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a tour guide, an Autumn Term Activator, a Rahall Communications consultant, a member of the Eckerd College Comparative Psychology Lab and a member of Palmetto Productions. I also volunteer at a therapeutic horseback riding program in Bradenton with one of my best friends.

Why did you decide to attend EC?

I originally chose Eckerd because of the location, the marine science major and the fact that I could "create my own major" by making a concentration. I spoke to a Psychology professor during the Explore Eckerd College accepted students day and she told me about all the comparative psychology opportunities in the area; I was hooked.

How has Eckerd changed your life?

This is extremely hard, I love and have been influenced by so many things at Eckerd. I will just point out a few highlights of my experience here:

  • Volunteering in New York City with the Dean of Students and 11 other students during Spring Break.
  • Traveling and studying in Spain during Winter Term.
  • Winter Term in San Diego with Professor Highfill.
  • Learning the basics of Chinese language.
  • Volunteering around the St. Pete area with some peers and a student leader during Spring Break sophomore year.
  • Volunteering weekly at a therapeutic riding facility in Bradenton.
  • Doing research with lowland gorillas at Busch Gardens Tampa.
What are some traits or characteristics found in most Eckerd students?

For the most part, students are eager to explore and learn. Everyone wants to hear about everyone else's trips. Everyone wants to study abroad. It's amazing, not only did I learn from my trips and experiences, but the community here is so great that I have learned about other countries just by talking to my friends about their experiences. The students here want to succeed and they want to go to class and learn, not just passively listen.

When did you know you made the right choice coming to Eckerd?

It actually wasn't until my second semester freshman year; I am slow to adjust. That was when I really started clicking with my friends and figuring out who I wanted to be around and who I didn't. It was also when I started to get an idea of the majors I wanted to pursue and when I was starting to really get to know the amazing professors here.

How would you describe the academic environment at Eckerd?

I would describe it as relaxed motivation. The courses will challenge you and professors will expect a lot, but they are incredibly understanding. They do not consider you a number. They know your face and a little about you after just one course, and if they teach within your major you will most likely get to know them pretty well. There are amazingly driven and insightful students here. I have frequently found myself walking out of class blown away by the ideas of my peers.

How do you describe the social scene at Eckerd?

The social scene is complex. I guess I would have to say there is something for everyone. Eckerd has a little of everything and with no Greek life I feel that all social organizations are very accepting and open for all.

What are some of your favorite things at Eckerd?

I love Autumn Term and the Comparative Psychology Lab. Autumn Term is a short term in August required of all first year students. Every student attends a class in the morning, but the afternoons allow you to get involved and acclimate to college life. Students can go swimming, kayaking, paddle-boarding, tanning, shopping, and there are a variety of events coordinated by the Campus Activities Office. I am an Autumn Term Activator, so even though I am an upperclassman, I attend Autumn Term to help the new students adjust, answer questions and generally help out as best I can.

The Comparative Psychology Lab is also amazing because it is for other students like me, interested in working with animals, and the club meets to talk about possible research projects. The adviser for the club also sends out internship and job opportunities in the animal field. This club is how I ended up doing research at Busch Gardens Tampa with a few of my peers.

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