Rachel Stanley – Waukesha

Rachel Stanley Ripon College
Rachel Stanley is pursuing a degree in psychology and her self-designed major, disability studies, at Ripon College.

Name:  Rachel Stanley

Hometown:  Waukesha, Wisconsin

Course of Study:  Psychology and self-designed major in disability justice

Why did you choose Ripon College?
It has a very robust psychology program that provides lots of research experience. I knew I wanted to go into psychology before I even applied to Ripon, so this was very exciting to me. The size of the school also was appealing, as I do not do well in large crowds. Further, the financial aid offered made the price of attending comparable to that of a state school.

How has financial aid impacted your college experience?
It is the only reason I am able to go to college. Because of my disability, I cannot work full time, and most of what I earn goes towards paying for medical bills. As an independent student, financial aid has made it possible for me to continue my education.

Did receiving financial aid impact your decision to attend Ripon College?
Yes, I could not have attended otherwise. I also was told by my high school counselor that with the amount of financial aid Ripon gives, it wouldn’t cost any more than going to a large public university I was considering, which is why I decided to come here.

What will a college degree mean to you?
It will mean opportunities to further my career and ambitions, and it will give me the tools to effect change in the world. I want to conduct autism research and help develop more sensitive and person-focused treatments, which I could never do without a college degree.

Have you learned something during college you didn’t expect?
I didn’t expect I would come to love research so much, but the research experience given to me by the psychology program really opened my eyes. Now research is a large part of what I want to do with my life, and I never would have known that had I not come to Ripon College, since many colleges don’t give you such extensive research experience.

What are your plans after graduation?
I want to go on to acquire a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and conduct autism research that focuses on the personal and lived experience of autism; and to use that research to develop treatments that are appropriate for the needs of autistic individuals. I also want to be more broadly involved in disability advocacy and policy change.

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