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Graduate student Q&A with Madison Atwater

Madison Atwater, CYFS graduate research assistant
Madison Atwater, CYFS graduate research assistant

Name: Madison Atwater

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Program: School Psychology

Year: First-year doctoral student

Project: Concussion Management Grant

What kind of work have you been doing with the project?

I am currently learning about concussions/mTBIs and how to properly care for children — particularly in schools — who have suffered them. I learn by reading a lot about these subjects, doing a literature review and coming together with others in my grant to discuss what we’ve learned. Next year, we will be able to use these skills in school practicums.

How did you become interested in your field?

I have wanted to be a school psychologist since I was 16. I realized then that I found people simply fascinating, and I wanted to understand more about why they do what they do. I also realized, through an experience with children in foster care, that I not only related well with children, but also had deep compassion and empathy for them.

I chose schools as the best outlet for this because it would give me an opportunity to affect an entire environment so important to children. It also will allow me to help individual children with a number of different issues they may be facing. The more I learn about it, the more confident I am in my choice.

What are your career plans?

I want to work in a school with children directly. I would love the opportunity to work in settings I am unfamiliar with — perhaps a rural setting, so I can further my understanding of the field and people in general.

What have you enjoyed about this semester?

I came to Lincoln because I wanted to challenge myself by moving to a new environment. I’ve really enjoyed my time here.

What are some of your hobbies/interests in your spare time?

One of the most interesting projects I’m working on right now is a series of children’s books a friend and I are writing together. I also like to read. I’m particularly drawn to older books, and older things in general, but I’ll read practically anything if someone recommends it. And I’m slowly but surely attempting to achieve expert status in 1980s movies knowledge (my favorite is “Better Off Dead”).