Finding Greatness: Amanda Juarez

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2021 12:00 AM
Category: Pressroom

Macon, GA


Psychology major Amanda Juarez is one of three President’s Scholars for the #MGA Class of 2021. She is moving on to a doctoral program and hopes to become "a champion for equality and advocate for positive change."

Full Name:  Amanda Jill Juarez. 

Age: 36.  

Hometown: Omaha, Neb. 

Residence: Macon.

Family: “I have three amazingly gifted and high-spirited children: Gavin (19), Leo (9), and Jillian (6), who have inspired me to continue to follow my passion. My children, along with my adoring husband, Adrian, have watched me grow and develop throughout these years, and thanks to their support and encouragement, I have been able to truly flourish within my studies.” 

Employment: “When I began attending Middle Georgia State University, I was employed by Ricoh USA and worked there for close to 9 years. I found that working full time as a non-traditional student and a mother of three proved to be quite challenging. However, in 2018, I was able to begin solely focusing on my children and school full-time and have felt very fortunate to be given this opportunity.” 

Degree Objective: Bachelor of Science in Psychology. 

Class Rank: Senior. 

Primary Campuses: Macon and Online.

Activities: “I have received credit as a research assistant for Dr. Scott Hinze, a teaching assistant for faculty member Cory Smith, and I am currently working as a student intern for the United Way of Central Georgia. I am also president of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, a member of the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA), and will soon complete ‘Connections Matter’ training, as well as join Resilient Middle Georgia’s coalition.” 

Career Goals: “After graduation, I plan to continue my studies and pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical and Community Psychology with a goal of beginning this journey in the fall of 2022. I feel deeply impassioned to work on social justice matters and I hope to make a meaningful contribution to action research, program development, and social policy.” 

She chose Middle Georgia State University because … “The Macon Campus is very close to home and Middle Georgia State University not only provides the same level of challenge and education that other nearby private schools do, but MGA truly demonstrates its core value of inclusivity by providing affordable tuition.” 

The greatest thing she discovered about Middle Georgia State was … “How incredibly supportive and accommodating the professors and administrators are. At MGA, I truly feel that students are a priority, and this has become evident by the opportunities, events, and campaigns provided. I must admit that I was originally intimidated by returning to school after more than 10 years, but I quickly developed a sense of connection and community here, and to be honest, it feels bittersweet to be graduating this spring.” 

Her greatest academic experience as a Middle Georgia State student has been … “Working closely with professors to help develop test questions and study sessions (as a teaching assistant), as well as collaborating on a research project (as a research assistant) that culminated in a conference presentation, undergraduate award, and publication.  

“I’ve also continued to work with Dr. Scott Hinze on the development of research regarding resilience and while working on this, I have gained experience in IRB submission and grant applications, receiving the first undergraduate research grant award. I am currently in the data analysis stage of this project and hope to present our findings at the next Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) convention.  

“I am also a student intern with the United Way of Central Georgia, and within this internship, I have collaborated with several local agencies to promote mental health awareness, focus on trauma-informed care, and to build resilience and healthy coping skills within the community. I have designed non-clinical well-being sessions for the residents of Pleasant Hill, incorporating storytelling and music therapy, and have created mental health ‘first aid’ kits to be distributed to the local community centers, schools, and faith-based institutions.” 

To her, “greatness” means … “Believing in yourself and continuing to follow your goals and aspirations, despite experiencing setbacks. Greatness means battling worry, self-defeating talk, and feelings of ineptitude. Pushing through those anxieties and pursuing your dreams really shows a sign of triumph, of greatness, and through overcoming these challenges, you will help to inspire others, and I believe this will ultimately perpetuate a positive, encouraging cycle of motivation, determination, and excellence.”  

In five years … “This summer I plan to travel, spend time with loved ones, and apply to a doctoral program in community psychology. I plan to work for the school I will be attending, as a teaching assistant and/or research assistant, and I am currently considering Georgia State University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. My goal is to become a champion for equality and advocate for positive change at both individual and systemic levels.”