Hometown: Oakville, Conn.
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Internships: Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism as a substance abuse technician, fall 2012 semester
Activities: WCSU Women's Soccer Team, Psychology Club, Women's Soccer representative on Student Athletic Advisory Committee, PASS program peer tutor, Danbury Youth soccer coach, volunteer at Connecticut Sports Arena, work part-time at Carvel Ice Cream in Watertown
Honors and Awards: Dean's List all four years, Outstanding Student in Psychology, MVP of WCSU Women's Soccer Team for 2011-12, First-Team All-Conference for Little East Conference in 2012, LEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, First Team All-Region in 2012, All Academic Team in 2011, WCSU Scholar-Athlete of the Year
When asked, Samantha Trayer will tell you that she chose to come to WestConn for a number of reasons. "First I wanted to stay somewhat close to home but still be far enough away. I am very close to my family and I didn't know how I would handle going to school hours away from them," she says. "I really like the southwest area of Connecticut; there's a lot to do here and plenty of community activities to choose from, including soccer! I chose WestConn to play soccer and they also offered my desired major as well." After visiting campus for a day visit to meet Women's Soccer Coach Joe Mingachos, Trayer says she "immediately knew I would be a good fit for his soccer program and the girls on the team were very welcoming and nice to me."
Trayer says she decided to major in psychology because she took AP Psychology as a senior in high school and loved it. "I also wanted to pursue a career in which I could help people. I love listening to people and hearing about their struggles in life and seeing if I can help them in any way," she says. "Besides, psychology is about improving someone's life and I hope to make a big change in someone's life when I am older. I have a lot of passion for this field of study and it really shows in my academics."
Three members of the university's Department of Psychology made quite an impact on Trayer. The first professor she mentions is Dr. Mary Nelson. "I experienced my first psychology statistics class with her and it was the hardest class I ever had to take," she says. "Professor Nelson was very hard and the first professor to actually give me a zero on one of my quizzes. However, she taught me how to work hard and if I do just that I will achieve what I set out to be. I ended up taking three courses with her and got A's in all of them. Trayer next points to Dr. Shane Murphy. "He was one of my mentors also in the psychology department and really got me interested in the idea of psychology and sports," she explains. "Sitting through his 2.5-hour night class really helped give me a good mind set while playing sports. I also took two classes with him my senior year — History of Psychology and Child & Adolescent Abnormal Psychology. I really enjoyed taking classes with him and he helped to guide and push me into attending graduate school. He was also a very personable and brilliant person with whom I could discuss a variety of topics." Trayer also praised Dr. Lisa. Reynolds. "I took classes with her my junior year and the course I took with her was Psychology of Women. Dr. Reynolds is a Family and Marriage Therapist and she is the reason why I want to pursue a career in Family and Marriage Therapy. She is my role model. She helped me find graduate programs that are suitable for me and has taught me a large amount of information related to life and relationships. One day I hope to be just like her."
Asked what she will remember most about her Western experience, Trayer says, "One of the most memorable experiences I had at WestConn was during my sophomore year. It was the year we went on to win the Little East Conference at home against UMASS Boston. I still remember every detail of when we won and they handed us the trophy."
Trayer's plans include going to graduate school part-time for the family and marriage therapy program at either Fairfield University or Saint Joseph's University and to continue working. "I also hope to find a soccer league to play in to continue playing my favorite sport."
Trayer’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Get involved and enjoy every minute of it. You only get to experience college once."