Caroline Kaye '18 and Selen Amado '18


I very vividly remember attending this same lunch two years ago right after I was selected as a new Psychology UDR. I remember listening to these speeches and feeling seriously impressed by those UDRs who so clearly knew what it took to be a liaison and a leader in their respective department or program. I was intimidated for sure—after all, what in the world was a funding request and who was Conference & Events? I really did not imagine that this same timid sophomore would be standing up here two years later with the intention of letting you know what the Psychology UDRs have accomplished as well as some words of advice (and yes, I do now know how to complete a funding request and coordinate with Conference and Events to organize an event. Trust me—it will happen for you!)

So, on behalf of myself and my wonderful co-UDR, Selen— I would like to share our thoughts with you about what it has meant for us to be Psychology UDRs these past two years. For one, we have been VERY busy!  Our team of Psych UDRs which included last year’s graduating seniors, Danya and Dena as well as Lauren currently, have held research nights, alumni career panels and networking nights, TED-style talks, and speakers from off-campus. We have met with, emailed, advised current and prospective students, and perhaps the most exciting news—gotten a Psychology minor newly approved (look for it next fall!)

A word about getting that Psychology minor approved because it shows a lot about what a UDR in any department or program can accomplish. Our efforts began in the fall of 2016 with an email that you may remember was looking to gauge interest in a Psychology Minor and a subsequent follow-up survey. After countless meetings, drafts, proposals, and presentations, most recently to the UCC (Undergraduate Curriculum Committee), we were informed that the Psych minor was approved! A year and a half’s effort had come to fruition, all because our UDR team, supported by the amazing Psychology staff and faculty around us—including Professor Dizio, Professor Cunningham, and Professor Wright, of course,—worked collaboratively to carry out what Brandeis students had told us they needed and wanted.

For new UDRs and even returning UDRs—here is our biggest piece of advice to you—if you want to have the greatest impact as a UDR—embrace the responsibility and privilege to act as that critical liaison between the faculty and students. Enjoy the chance to work as a team, lean on each other but also take risks in accepting responsibilities that may be out of your comfort zone—remember, in the confines of our supportive Brandeis community, there won’t be any catastrophic endings. Embrace these challenges as a way to figure out how to do more, and how to go above and beyond for our Brandeis community. Doing this may be difficult, even daunting, but for sure, hugely rewarding for you and your fellow students.

So on behalf of both of us, thank you very much!