Dean's Scholars alumni spotlight: Destiny Weaver

Learn about her fondest memories in CBS and find out what she is up to now.
February 13, 2024

What did you study?

I majored in neuroscience, with minors in behavioral biology and psychology.

What field of work are you currently working in?

I am a first-year Ph.D. student in Wayne State University's psychology program in the clinical concentration, pursuing minors in neuropsychology and quantitative methods.

What is your fondest memory of being in CBS?

An experience I’ll never forget is getting to know other CBS students, faculty, and staff at Itasca State Park before my first semester started. I appreciated bonding with everyone through the little field research activities at the Itasca Biological Station, soccer games and communal meals, and it was really nice to get acquainted with everyone in such a unique way. I also value spending time in nature, so I loved the opportunity to stay in a beautiful part of the state I hadn’t been to before.

How did you become interested in this field of work?

My AP psychology course in high school first got me interested in the different mood disorders and their influence on thinking and behavior. This led me to study neuroscience and psychology in college and pursue related research experiences, some through opportunities such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and NSSA Undergraduate Research Fellowship as an undergraduate student and The Diversity Supplements Program through the National Institutes of Health as a post-baccalaureate. My various positions exposed me to clinical research, working with the aging population, and neuropsychological data. I was lucky enough to get chances to support and develop projects concerning psychosocial functioning in individuals with cognitive impairment, which built up my interests and skills in statistics and scientific writing. This all solidified my enthusiasm for a future in psychological research and my goal of becoming a clinical neuropsychologist.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren't studying?

While my first semester of graduate school has kind of been a whirlwind, my favorite pastimes are journaling, long walks and taking pictures of trees. Discovering new horror movies is another love of mine.

Where has life taken you since graduating from the U?

After living in Minnesota with/near my family for twenty years, I relocated to Detroit, Michigan for graduate school! Living alone for the first time in a major city has been an exciting growth experience for me thus far, and I’m looking forward to fostering a new home away from home.

Is there anything you learned from the Dean’s Scholars Program that you continue to utilize or reflect back on in your personal or professional life?

The focus on leadership, community and social justice within our coursework and volunteering activities as a part of the Dean’s Scholars Program built an early foundation for doing so in my academic and professional life. Examining our values and definitions of leadership not only helped me see myself as capable of making positive advances in my field through scholarly contributions, but also through my commitment to fostering representation and cultural competence in research and mental healthcare.

Did you face any challenges during your undergraduate career and how did you overcome them?

The transition from high school to the academic rigors of college was definitely an adjustment for me, and I sometimes struggled to embody a sense of assurance in my courses. While I developed a bit of academic self-doubt early on, being open to getting more comfortable with trusting faculty and staff helped me see the importance of reaching out for support when you need it.

Do you have any advice for current students about continuing on their path or advice for life after graduation?

​​It's easier said than done, but it was so beneficial and essential for me to intentionally take my time with figuring out what I wanted to do after college. Throughout my undergraduate career and three-year gap year, I allowed myself to explore new opportunities and change course whenever I found myself engaging in something I didn't have passion for or could see myself doing long-term. There can be a lot of pressure in the academic environment to be entirely sure about the next step, and it can sometimes feel like you need to catch up if you're not fully sure yet. I hope current students know their journey is individual and personal and that comparison is often detrimental to genuinely learning about oneself.