Where curiosity and craft intersect

Family science major Kristen Gittings finds support and new research opportunities with encouragement from her faculty mentors.

Kristen Gittings

Kristen Gittings describes her major — now called family and human services — as the intersection of psychology and sociology. These disciplines encourage self-exploration as well as learning about the behaviors and motivations of others.

Gittings has been interested in psychology since she was 12, but her curiosity about family studies sparked when she took an honors course taught by Bethany Willis Hepp. The course fit well with Gittings’ academic and personal interests, and she related to the holistic approach of the program. “The professors in the family studies department prepare their students to care for one another, which is the foundation of being an effective member of society,” she says.

“ My professors have inspired me to learn and to grow into an individual who understands the diverse experiences of every person. ”

Kristen Gittings

The faculty commitment to the whole student enabled Gittings to gain support for opportunities in related academic areas. She is a research assistant in the cognitive psychology laboratory supervised by Blaire Weidler, who taught Gittings the research process, how to collect and analyze data, and how to present in academic forums.

“She is one of the people who makes Towson special,” Gittings says.

Gittings is grateful for the faculty support and notes that her growth as an academician and as a writer are two positive outcomes. After taking Maria Fracasso’s course in research methods, Gittings became more confident in developing cohesive arguments about her research. She says the class offered her a new outlook on the impact of effective writing.

An avowed lifelong learner, Gittings expects to fan the flames of her curiosity and practice her research and writing in an advanced degree program.

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