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Aimee Heinze '21

Although Aimee had been admitted to Bay Path’s pre-PA program, by the time she arrived on campus freshman year, the curiosity she’d discovered in a high school psychology course had reshaped her educational goals. She began to explore her budding interest in law and criminal behavior through forensic science courses, with the eventual goal of becoming a police officer, but soon realized, forensic psychology would allow her to work more directly with criminals and the law. “It’s been a great culmination of general psych and coursework focusing on the marginalized; individuals who operate differently. You have to look at society differently to understand them,” she says. “It really changes your viewpoint, not only of the world but of the people around you, too.

She describes her honors thesis, which she presented on Academic Achievement Day as “the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.” Her research paper and accompanying slideshow looked at the psychological effects of parental incarceration on children, noting high rates of depression, anxiety, ADHD and behavioral problems amongst children of incarcerated parents. “These conditions impact children internally, but also, society at large,” she explains. “The implications of the effects of these behaviors are on everyone—students and teachers that are in school with these kids, along with counselors and physicians.”

As her final year at Bay Path winds down, Aimee is completing an internship with the Springfield office of Roca, an organization focused on helping young people facing poverty and incarceration to transform their lives. “They work with adolescents, young people who have been incarcerated and have charges against them. By completing this program, they are able to get the charges against them absolved.” For her internship, she compiled extensive resources and learning supplements from local community colleges, trade programs and unions to help Roca participants plan their next educational and professional steps.

In the fall, she’ll enter the clinical psychology doctorate program at William James College in Newton, MA. “I want to be a prison psychologist,” she states. “I really want to start programming within the prison around emotional support animals and service animals with the inmates. My end goal isn’t really about getting somewhere; it’s more about starting something.”

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