Florida Tech Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Recognizes Swimmer Erin Graham
By Jerry Durney, Florida Tech News Bureau // October 1, 2023
Graham is majoring in Psychology
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Being a scholar-athlete at Florida Tech takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field.
Panther women’s swimmer Erin Graham, a senior who is majoring in Psychology, joins us for this edition of Scholar-Athlete Spotlight. Arriving in Melbourne all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, Erin recorded five top-five finishes during the 2022-23 season.
Away from the pool, Erin was named to the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner’s and Florida Tech Athletic Director’s Honor Roll following her freshman and junior seasons.
With Panther Swimming set to return to competition today, Erin sat down with us to give us the scoop on everything that goes into being a psychology student at Florida Tech.
■ Tell us a little bit about your major here at Florida Tech, what made you choose it?
I’m majoring in psychology and I’m doing a minor in sustainability. Psychology is something that I’ve always been interested in. I’ve always been interested in how people’s brains work.
Originally, I was more interested in doing clinical psychology but after taking a couple of courses that were based more on that, I have too much empathy and would need a psychologist of my own. So, I’m looking more to focus on the IO (Industrial and Organizational), the business side of psychology.
■ How do you plan to use your degree after graduation?
Once I’ve graduated, I want to eventually work in a business doing IO psychology. I would like to be involved in the hiring process of people, designing interview questions that would choose the best candidates to work for the company, and creating team cohesion within the company, like by doing team bonding activities and stuff like that. I think there would be a lot of kinds of rewarding jobs.
■ Growing up in South Africa, what stood out to you about Florida Tech that made you want to be here?
I was lucky enough to meet David Dent, the swimming coach. He came and I was at this swimming camp, he spoke with me, and he was a great guy. Understanding his values that he runs the swimming team with, it created a very nice family atmosphere among the team and that was something that I really appreciated because being so far away from home, that was definitely something I was looking for.
After being introduced to Florida Tech by him, I did a little more research on the university and it’s recognized throughout the U.S. academically at above and my major it’s five minutes from the beach, so it just seemed like a natural fit.
■ Given how much research and discussion constantly go into the always-expanding world of psychology, what’s something from your classes that you enjoyed going in-depth on?
I was lucky enough last semester to be a part of Dr. [Richard] Addante’s undergraduate research, he did a project on implicit memory and that’s basically looking at how unconscious memory works. It was super interesting to see how what I learned in class applied in the real world.
■ Is there a teammate or fellow athlete who you’ve become study buddies with?
Yes, at the moment, I’m taking a class with Daniel Aizenberg and we’re doing a project tomorrow actually, a presentation. He always helps me out in that class and we have a good laugh together. It also helps that he’s my teammate, because then if I don’t have time during the day to see him, I can always just catch up with him at practice, and we can discuss what we did in class.
■ What are some things you need to get the most out of your study time?
Yes, I’d say time management is vital in the situation, between practice and class and lifts, you really have to be on it to get ahead. Also, I bribe myself with peanut butter M&Ms, (laughs) that does help a lot.
■ How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for what you’re doing now and what do you take from the pool that you apply to your studies?
Oh, definitely. As I just mentioned, time management is a huge thing. It’s helped me to delegate time between my classes and practice and actually get my homework done.
It takes discipline to have time management and discipline to go to practice and go to bed on time. So that as well and teamwork skills. Being a part of a collegiate team has really benefited me in learning how to better deal with people and be a positive contribution to the team.
■ What advice would you give to an athlete coming to Florida Tech that has an interest in Psychology?
I would say that if you don’t enjoy reading, learn how to enjoy reading, and it’s important to get out of your comfort zone. If there’s a research opportunity or something that you are interested in, go for it, don’t hold back. Try to get involved in as many things as possible because that’s the only way you’re going to acquire more information and grow
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