July 20, 2021 — When Kiah Johnson ’22 enrolled in the psychology program in the College for Health, Community and Policy, she had no idea that so many opportunities would come her way.
Johnson said she chose UTSA because it felt like fate – but her path to research projects, the presidency of an honor society, and earning a scholarship was due to hard work and tenacity.
As a second-year student, Johnson was invited to join Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. “It’s been great being able to volunteer and hearing different psychologists speak about what they do,” she said. “It’s really encouraged me to take initiative about what I want to do when I graduate.”
Johnson is now the president of the organization, and is excited to keep the momentum of volunteering and career connections growing.
Not only does Johnson keep busy in the classroom and volunteering, but she is also a part of a research lab for Assistant Professor Alicia Swan. Currently, Johnson is working with a doctoral student on a paper on traumatic brain injury. “I love being in the lab so much,” she says. “Dr. Swan and everyone else in the lab are so encouraging, and they really want you to succeed. I always have a support system.”
“Kiah is a tenacious student with whom I have the privilege to know as a student, a leader, and now a junior researcher,” said Swan. “In the time I’ve worked with her, she’s already demonstrated a capacity for independence and professionalism beyond her years. She’s the kind of student that galvanizes a mentor to remember that we not only mentor students to embark upon a career, but to shape the world in which it will proliferate.”
It was Swan who brought the scholarship opportunities to Johnson’s attention. As she sifted through the material, she saw one that caught her eye – the Mary Pat and Louis H. Stumberg Endowed Scholarship for Interdisciplinary Studies in Music and the Sciences.
“At first, I thought it was too strange to pursue, because it asks how music relates to your major and career choice,” Johnson recalled. “But as I started writing my essay, I started to see that music has a lot to do with getting me through all the classes and the science side. I just let that lead me.”
After graduation, Johnson plans to attend graduate school and eventually earn a doctorate in neuropsychology. She credits the faculty at UTSA for encouraging her to keep pushing forward. “Everybody has always been welcoming and willing to answer questions, both about their work and psychology in general.”