Ben Garretson '09

How has your Hood education benefited you?

I remained in contact with my mentor after graduating. She helped me negotiate the appropriate steps in my career path, for which I am very thankful.

How did your time at Hood prepare you for the graduate school coursework?

My graduate course work at the University of Pennsylvania pertains to consciousness, which is an interdisciplinary subject. As a liberal arts college, Hood prepared and fostered the intellectual growth and flexibility that is necessary for such coursework. My mentor’s responsiveness to my interests and ideas facilitated these preparations as well; she recommended and loaned books for me to read as my ideas were developing.

What were your extracurricular experiences?

Along with independent reading, I was a student member of the American Psychological Association, inducted into Psi Chi—the national honor society in psychology—and vice president of the psychology club. The extra-curricular experiences supplemented the internalization of personal responsibility and involvement with my major, and helped when applying to graduate school.

Did you decide your major right away?

I originally came to Hood with the intention of majoring in management. After being exposed to the field of psychology, I became enthralled by the subject. I then chose to minor in management and major in psychology.

What is your favorite memory of Hood?

Academically, my initial learning and reading of psychology opened up a window for me. My favorite memory is when classes turned from being obligations to being subjects of enjoyment, which is an important transition to undergo for success. Hood provided this for me.

Who were your mentors at Hood?

Professor Ingrid Farreras in the psychology department.

What is your opinion on the value of a Hood education?

Hood provides a safe, comfortable and supportive environment for the student to socially and academically engage and grow on multiple levels. You never feel like a cog in a machine at Hood. The positive atmosphere provides positive education.

What is your opinion on the value of a liberal arts education?

Instead of being solely restricted to one pipeline of thought, a liberal arts education provides ample access to multiple pipelines of thought that, for the developing student, invoke a broader and more comprehensive education as well as multiple opportunities to channel interests in a self-directed manner. The value of a liberal arts education is priceless.

What would you say to students applying to Hood?

I would tell students that Hood provided everything an undergraduate education is supposed to provide. It provided an easy transition from home, the students and teachers were really nice, and there was a good balance of social events and things to do.

What role has your Hood education played in your career?

Hood opened up my interests into the scientific subject of consciousness as it pertains to human nature and reality and allowed me to develop those interests into ideas. These ideas are now being further developed in graduate school as a research project that I plan on extending into a doctoral program for a dissertation and book. The feedback mechanisms that Hood provided certainly helped attain this goal and allowed me to take my thoughts and ideas seriously within an active context.

Why did you choose to attend Hood College?

Besides being accepted, I chose Hood because it provided a liberal arts education with smaller class sizes compared to those in a university setting, it was within reasonable driving distance from home, and it had a positive ratio of female-to-male enrollment. The decision was pretty easy and simple for me at the time. I didn’t apply to many other schools.