The Brookdale Community College chapter of Psi Beta National Honor Society for Psychology held its induction ceremony for the 2023-24 year. Psi Beta is a national honor society for students attending two-year colleges, who plan to major or minor in psychology and those who are interested in psychology. The mission is to encourage students’ professional development and psychological literacy by promoting and recognizing excellence in scholarship, leadership, research, and community service.  

“I am thrilled that we have an active chapter of Psi Beta on campus,” said Professor of Psychology and Chapter Advisor Dr. Beth Boylan. “This opportunity allows students to make meaningful connections with faculty and professionals throughout their experience at Brookdale.”  

Members inducted are students who maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25 and have completed a college-level psychology course with a grade of B or higher. 

Phi Beta President Eva Abraham and Vice President Kaila Miller led the society throughout the academic year. Both are graduating this semester. Abraham, from Freehold, NJ, will graduate with an associate in arts as a psychology major, transfer to Rutgers in the fall, and pursue research in social and organizational psychology. Miller, from Middletown, NJ, will be attending Rider University and is interested in working with developmental psychology. She will also continue in the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology at Rider in the spring semester. 

Brookdale’s Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Michael Cohen was the guest speaker. He shared his story about being on top of the world after receiving a trustee scholarship to Boston University. Then he found himself surrounded by strangers and trying to be everything to everyone. He fell into alcohol and substance abuse. He eventually reconnected with his family and friends, got clean and sober, and attended a small, affordable state college, where he found teachers who helped him grow and succeed. 

“I’ll never forget Dr. Nelson who introduced me to African American Literature and Dr. Caroline Funk, who taught me that woke can get a little too far when you excuse bad stuff like an atrocity with cultural relativism,” he said. “Or there was Pam Cross and Marsh Fever who fought for me when it was time to get me into a doctoral program. These names are not names that mean anything to you but you might know Dr. Raj who loves you and wants to see you succeed or that Professor Boylan wants you to think for yourself and get involved or that Marlena Brothers Frank wants you to value positivity and have a happy outlook and I want you to know you can do math.” 

He encouraged the students to remember who they are here because who they are now might be the most vital foundation for who they want to become. What matters is the knowledge and experiences gained from family, friends, and the places that have influenced and defined you.  

“This understanding of yourself is something you possess inherently, without the need to get lost and rediscover it,” Cohen said. 

Before announcing the new inductees, Abraham and Miller spoke about their experience this year as leaders of Psi Beta. 

Eva noted that this year’s Psi Beta club exhibited remarkable enthusiasm, pride, and participation.  

“I have truly never seen the club with as much spunk and dignity and participation as we did this year,” she said. I am really proud of that.” Even though the Psi Beta Honor Society in Psychology is a daunting title, we are just a large group of friends who love psychology and want to share our passions. 

Miller congratulated the new inductees on their outstanding academic achievements and leadership. And she mentioned this year’s community service project involved participating in an assembly that focused on mental health and bullying held at Clifton T. Barkalow Middle School in Freehold 

“This program was a great opportunity to be involved with many psychology professionals and mental health organizations that can open doors for jobs in the future,” Miller said. 

The ceremony marked a significant milestone for the following newly inducted members of the Psi Beta honor society: 

Amarachi David is the chapter’s new President. She is from Nigeria, Houston, TX, and Monmouth County, and is studying Psychology at Brookdale with academic interests in Neurology, Personality Disorder, Psychopathology, and Treatment. After obtaining an associate degree she plans to pursue a career as a Medical Doctor in Neurology at Rutgers. 

Nidia Jimenez-Barrios, from Long Branch, is majoring in Psychology with academic interests in social psychology focusing on women, LGBTQ+, and people of color, and plans to transfer to Georgian Court at Brookdale in Fall 2023 after graduating from Brookdale. 

Ashley N. Medina is majoring in Psychology. She is a single parent of two boys and volunteers at a domestic violence shelter. After obtaining her associate degree she plans to continue for bachelor’s and master’s degrees. 

Justin Ray Medina is the chapter’s new Vice President. He is from Red Bank and Tinton Falls and is majoring in Psychology with academic interests in Medicine, Psychiatry, LGBTQ+ issues, and Latin American youth, and enjoys painting, playing piano, and working at VNA; his goals include completing his associate and bachelor’s degrees and becoming a Medical Doctor. 

Ariadny Pedroso Nascimento, originally from Brazil but currently living in Long Branch, is majoring in Biology with academic interests in psychiatry while also enjoying biology research projects at Brookdale. Her transfer and career goals include completing her associate and bachelor’s degrees and eventually becoming a Medical Doctor, with Rutgers, Georgetown, and UNC Chapel Hill being her top picks for transfer. 

Yuririan Santiago-Reyes is from Long Branch, NJ, majoring in Pre-Social Work. Her transfer and career goals include obtaining a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from the Rutgers University School of Social Work at Brookdale. 

Kyla Nicole White, from Jamesburg, is majoring in Psychology with academic interests focused on Forensic Psychology; additionally, she is a member of Women in Leadership and Learning (WILL) and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Her goals include obtaining an associate and bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology. 

For more information about Brookdale Community College Psi Beta Honor Society visit the website.