Lisa Svenson '11G, Psychology

Alumni: Bachelor's and master's degrees in Psychology

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When Lisa Svenson decided to pursue her undergraduate degree at age 41, she was caring for her grandmother as well as her daughter. “I lived in Nashua and Rivier was the most convenient location—the evening program fit with my life,” she says. “Because of my age, I wanted a program I could get through quickly.”

Psychology faculty encouraged Lisa to investigate the five-year combined bachelor’s/master’s program. “I loved the smaller graduate classes,” she says. “By the graduate level, the students all had a certain depth of commitment; we had deeper conversations.”

“The majority of students at Rivier were welcoming, accepting of the non-traditional student. It’s the culture the school establishes,” she says.

Lisa says she enjoyed her internship working with the homeless. “Families in Transition in Manchester was a fabulous place to intern,” she says. The coordinating seminar was a great experience as well. “I learned a lot of mind-expanding things, like why we think the way we do and alternate views of time—fascinating things you don’t learn in a typical class.”

She enjoyed the rigor of the graduate classes. “The graduate classes were more work, but it was good work,” she says. History and Systems of Psychology was one of her favorite courses. “We learned various theories and where they come from. It gives you a better context to understand concepts.”

Lisa hopes to go on to a doctoral program and eventually to do some work with victims of domestic violence and assault. She believes her Rivier education has prepared her well. “As an adult with perspective, I realize you don’t have to be at a big-name school,” she says. “You can learn a lot at a small school. You get out of it what you put in.”