Major: Associate in Science
When Alexis Reisch was looking at colleges, she hoped to attend a four-year institution on a tennis scholarship. But after exploring her options, she could not find the right school for her.
“College of DuPage was the best choice for me,” she said. “It offered so many opportunities, one of which was leadership development.”
In addition to playing tennis for one year, Reisch took part in the Living Leadership program and New Student Orientation. She liked that freshmen and sophomores could become officers of clubs and organizations, which would not happen at a four-year school, and she became active in Haven, a student club that deals with human rights in regards to different cultures and religions.
Reisch also participated in a research project with Psychology Professor Ken Gray involving how different mindsets affect outcomes. Gray, Associate Professor of Sociology Mary Jean Cravens and others helped broaden her analytical skills. In 2013, she was named one of the two Outstanding Graduates at College of DuPage.
At the University of Illinois at Chicago, Reisch studied neuroscience and received the Transfer Merit Award, was accepted into the Honors College and participated in the school’s Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) program, working in a psychiatry lab interpreting results from a diabetes study. She then worked in a cognitive neuroscience lab associated with the College of Medicine/Department of Psychiatry where she completed her senior year Honor’s Capstone Project. In addition, she started a chapter of Nu Rho Psi, which is the national honor society for neuroscience.
Outside of the classroom, Reisch participated on a volunteer trip with Alternative Spring Break doing forest restoration work in Tennessee and volunteered with a student organization called Project ESTEEM (Enrichment of Science Through Exposure to Experimental Models), where she went to shelters to expose the children to science.
Having earned her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience, Reisch received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to study neuroscience at Linköping University in Sweden.
“My project, ‘Exposure to Early Life Trauma as a Risk Factor for Impaired Emotion Regulation,’ examined how childhood abuse affects emotional regulation in adulthood,” she said. “It was similar to the research I have done at UIC examining how reported childhood trauma scores relate to brain activation differences and biases in categorizing emotions in facial expressions.”
Reisch discovered the Fulbright application through UIC’s Office of Special Scholarships. She then attended an information panel/Q&A with former Fulbright winners from UIC who spoke about their experiences.
“I realized that obtaining a Fulbright grant was perhaps more within my reach than I previously thought,” she said. “Receiving the Fulbright is something that showcased and validated all of my previous hard work, and it is something that will be a huge accomplishment.”
Reisch recently participated in the Auxiliaries de Conversación program, also known as North American Language and Cultural Assistants in Catalunya, Spain, for one year and currently is applying to research positions while working as a hotline assistant at Family Shelter Service.
She actually is back at COD taking a class, and Reisch still appreciates everything College of DuPage did for her as she continues to embark on new experiences.
“I’ve always done what everyone else wanted me to do,” she said. “College of DuPage helped me find my own voice. The faculty and staff really opened my eyes, and I learned how to explore what I wanted to do.”