Episode 02 - Mariah Schumacher

2: Mariah Schumacher – Thoughts and Experiences of a Psychology Student

In this interview, Mariah shares how an initial interest in an introductory psychology class inspired her to pursue, and customize, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science from the University of Minnesota-Duluth Department of Psychology. She discusses her areas of study, research, and presentations at professional conferences as well as her role with the Mobile Neuroscience Lab for UMD Neuroscience outreach.

She also shares how she learned about, and attained, a position as Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota after she graduated from UMD.

Mariah describes how specific psychology classes helped to shape her perception of the world and enrich her personal life. She comments “I try to help people around me as much as I can, that is all I can ever do…help them feel comfortable, safe, and loved and maybe that will help shift their perception of something being a failure to a learning opportunity.”

Mariah also talks about her ability to see colors associated with words (a.k.a., synesthesia) as well as her thoughts and experiences while travelling abroad for 9 months. She reveals her favorite psychology terms and shares her advice for others searching for a graduate school.

Research Interests:

Mariah’s primary research interests include neural development, cognition, psychoneuroimmunology, and neural correlates of consciousness.

Publications/Presentations/Poster Sessions:

Schumacher, M.J., Hjelle, R., & Lloyd, R. (November, 2017). Autonomic and central correlates of empathic response and sub-clinical psychopathy as reflected in heart rate variability and cerebral activity. Poster session presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference, Washington, D.C..

Schumacher, M.J., Hjelle, R., & Lloyd, R. (April, 2017). Empathic Response and Sub-Clinical Psychopathy. Poster session presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research, Memphis, TN.

Mrkonjich, M., Schumacher, M., Warneke, B. (April, 2016). Parenting Style and its Effect on Children’s Adult Romantic Relationships. Poster session presented at the Twin Ports Undergraduate Psychology Conference, Superior, WI.

Bachelor of Science, Psychology (2017); University of Minnesota – Duluth.

UPDATE: Mariah Schumacher is applying to the Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Graduate Program in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota.

Podcast Transcription

BradleyWelcome to the masters in psychology podcast. One of our goals for this podcast is to interview and highlight psychologists, psychiatrists, educators and practitioners to better understand what they do, how they got there and share the advice they have for students wanting to receive a Master’s Degree in Psychology. For one of our first podcasts we wanted to talk to a student who recently finished her undergraduate degree in psychology. Today I have the pleasure of talking with Mariah Schumacher. Mariah has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in cognitive science from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Mariah has presented at multiple conferences in various states, including Wisconsin, Tennessee and Washington DC. In 2017 she received the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Grant for her research project titled empathic response and subclinical psychopathy. She previously held a role with a mobile neuroscience lab for UMD neuroscience outreach. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree from UMD, she then joined the Department of Psychiatry as a full time clinical research coordinator in the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders lab at the University of Minnesota. Mariah’s primary research interests include neural development, cognition, psychoneuroimmunology and neural correlates of consciousness. Mariah, welcome to our podcast.
MariahOh, thank you. I’m super excited to do this podcast over webcam.
BradleyYes, and and in today’s world, with the COVID and the riots and everything else that have been happening more and more people are doing the virtual meetings like through zoom and anything else. So I think more and more people are getting comfortable doing it, but it’s still a little strange, because you’re not with that person and you don’t really pick up on those non verbals as much as you would if you were in person, but we see you. You look great. You got a good background I see all the tattoos. So tell me, first of all, what made you think about getting tattoos? And how long have you been getting tattoos?
MariahWow, that’s a question. Um, I guess my first tattoo was when I was 18 or 19 and I’ve been in college pursuing my bachelor’s in psychology for about a semester and really was loving everything in my life and the place where I was, was up in Duluth, Minnesota. Next to Lake Superior. And I just wanted some sort of symbol and being an 18 year old wanting a tattoo on my body. I ended up getting Minnesota and Lake Superior on my ankle and this very cool watercolor. It wasn’t the most above board operation for my first tattoo and they didn’t ask for our IDs and we had to pay all in cash. And it was a little bit questionable. But I was really excited to have it. And then after that. More things just came up in my life that I wanted to put on my body for various reasons. And now I have some tattoos.
BradleyHow many do you have?
MariahI lose count sometimes, I think its 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Something like that.
BradleyAnd what is your most recent tattoo?
MariahI most recent Tattoo is this mosquito on my arm. Let’s see, how can you see it like that.
BradleyRight there.
MariahMosquito right above the brain tattoo that I have that I love a lot. Also, I got right after I graduated mosquito tattoo I got in Cluj Romania in August this past summer.
BradleyOkay. And speaking of that, you mentioned a couple things related to some of the questions I was going to ask. So the first one was obviously you were at the University of Minnesota up in Duluth. So tell me some of your fondest memories, while you were up in Duluth.
MariahThe city itself is a really magical place because of being on a hill, all the time and gravity kind of feels like it is pulling you toward the water because at the bottom of this hill is the Great Lake Superior. We built a really nice relationship over my years living in the city. And but one thing that’s coming to mind for memorable moments when I was at the University of Minnesota Duluth are not actually so much to do with my psychology courses but with how I implemented the knowledge. I think it was pretty sub conscious at that point, but also not. I worked at a radio station at the time, and was a DJ at night and during the day. And a lot of times while I was in the radio station, I would have really good one on one conversations with people. So I would either be doing my show and then while songs are playing someone would be in there with me and we’ll be chatting. Or I would be the one hanging out in the radio station while someone else was doing their show and it became a really special intimate place to kind of use my inquiry tools that I was learning so much about in my classes and get to form some really strong connections because of those conversations and being able to use my tools that I had been gaining on the human psyche and how to inquire with other humans about their experience more accurately.
BradleySo, You know, I have so many questions for you. And I’m trying to flow naturally with what your responses were. And one of them was some of your interests. And you know why you went to the University of Minnesota Duluth and I guess one basic question for the listeners and viewers, because this is going to be both in the audio and the visual visual form is what what initially got you interested in psychology?
MariahYeah, I was thinking about this earlier today. Um, I thought I had an answer. But the more I thought about it. I’m not exactly sure. I really enjoyed my general psych course that I took in Community College. I actually got to see in that class. But it was so challenging and I loved the materials so much that definitely had an influence but I had this other type of motivation that drew me towards thinking about thinking, which is how psychology was often presented to me. And I knew that was something I was Interested in for a long time. I remember in middle school and high school thinking I was going to grow up and do my doctorate on why people acted the way they did. And one of those little sub sections being how if someone was in a gifted and talented program in elementary school. Someone else was not. How the pressure of that system changed outcomes for people who, if they had been the same ones in separate situations would have different experiences. And so I had these kind of questions coming to me throughout my I guess pre college education. And when I found psychology. It seemed to really connect kind of give words to these questions that I had been asking.
BradleyAnd so what areas of psychology did you find the most interesting back then and have those changed now?
MariahUm, well, it’s kind of hard. A lot of people really like abnormal psychology. I did find it very interesting. That’s a specific mental disorders, I suppose, schizophrenia, bipolar kind of learning more about these Illnesses, mental illnesses, that people survive with. But I am actually remembering that I connected really well with developmental psychology that was fascinating to me, learning how the brain formed and grew and over time really was impacted by so many factors. So that was a big one. Another class I really enjoyed was transpersonal psychology. Was very different, very different. And I liked the different quite a bit.
BradleySo, you know, a lot of people remember some favorite teachers and or courses and you’ve talked about a couple of courses. Do you remember, or have any good memories, where teachers had a positive influence on you?
MariahYeah, for sure. I had one biology professor who really, I guess, believed in me. Really strongly. I really liked the class and the way that he presented it. He was very passionate about everything he was teaching, which is always something that stimulates me in a professor. And I actually had a really strange experience one time where I was doing very well in this class and I stopped by his office to talk about something as I did when I was passing and he was grading the tests that we had just taken and I walked in and he said that he was checking the answer key against my test to make sure that his answer key was right, which was very strange to think that a professor had thought that maybe he made a mistake and was checking my answer key so maybe he was just trying to flatter me, because we had great discussions or something like that but I really connected well with this professor and he actually helped me navigate how to integrate biology classes toward what I really wanted to be learning. Which was a lot closer to neuroscience than just psychology. So picking the right biology classes that fit my interest kind of helped me create a Neuroscience degree without having an official one and it was very helpful.
BradleyThat sounds, that sounds logical. I remember you going through that stage with your classes and your teachers as well. And I think that’s about the same time that you got your brain tattoo because you were so focused on the neuroscience and neurology aspect of it as well. So talking a little bit more about your experiences we’ve talked about kind of your pre-college experiences. And now let’s transition to kind of your memories and the courses that you took while you were taking undergraduate studies and tell me some of the things that you remember for your undergrad.
MariahI know I had a few courses that were really helpful for shaping my perception of the world. And I took one that was psychoneuroimmunology learning about how your psyche, your brain and your thinking affects your nervous system. Because they are one. And then how your nervous system affects your immune system. And so there were a bunch of examples of how thinking differently, loosely, can affect your ability to fight off illnesses and that was super fascinating. Another thing that was very impactful for my decision to move into research for a little while, was my own undergraduate research project. And I got to get an EEG cap and put it on subjects and like squirt goo on their head to make it stick and I was looking at Heart rate increases and frontal lobe activity changes when people were shown a graphic video clip to see if their physio if their body reacted the same as we thought it might react, based on their empathy scores. And that was really neat. I ended up going to the Neuroscience conference in DC with that research. Yeah, it was very fascinating.
BradleySo for our listeners and our viewers. I think you’re referring to when you are a research coordinator at the University of Minnesota.
MariahI was referring to that in this research project helped me Figure out that research was interesting. I did this research project while I was in undergrad. And then for I graduated I ended up in a position at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities looking at Developmental Psychology. Again, it was a neuro-psychiatric lab and we were looking at brains developing over time. And how kids brains, who were and were not exposed to alcohol prenatally before they were born, how their brains develops differently. So that was also very neat. I was able to learn how to run fMRI scans and look at data. I got to see so many brains on the screen. It was so exciting because I have been looking at them in textbooks for so long. And enjoyed that job while I had it. I learned it wasn’t quite right for me so I ended up leaving I knew I was going to leave anyway.
BradleySo, before we find out why you left and I know the reason why you left. But before we talk about that. Tell me how you found that opportunity at the University of Minnesota.
MariahI knew I wanted to leave Duluth. I wanted to work with neuroimaging. I wanted to see more brains essentially and there was one fMRI clinic in Duluth and they were only hiring receptionists and I applied for that and they didn’t get back to me and and so I knew moving to the cities would bring me some more opportunities. I ended up moving before I had a job, but I had applied to so many. What really was the key was just thinking about what I really wanted in a job. And then I looked up keywords and found this lab at the University of Minnesota and just sent the principal investigator an email saying, hey, this is who I am. This is what I’m looking for. I’d love to learn more about what you’re doing. And if you happen to have a job opening, let me know. And we got into a really good dialogue being open and truthful and forthright about what I wanted was how I ended up getting that job. It is how I have gotten very many of the things that I want in my life and learning how to communicate really clearly has come largely from the psychology background and other things I learned.
BradleyNow you mentioned that you were on the radio, and some people I’ll bring this back up because I know that you enjoyed your time there and you had a great time. Being on radio and helping behind the scenes as well. And I believe the name of the program at the time. I don’t know if it’s still called, is it the basement.
MariahThe Basement. KUMD’s The Basement.
BradleyYes, yes. So have you kept in touch with anybody from your undergraduate, whether it be, you know, just going to school or those people who were involved with KUMD?
MariahI have a lot of those people who are mentioned, we would have these really fantastic conversations during one of our DJ sets. Are people that I’m still very close with right now. We may not be talking every day but we check in with each other pretty often. I made some really strong connections there. It’s very helpful in times of big isolation and people feeling pretty lonely at times and a little bit scared about big changes and big uncertainty in the world. It’s nice to have some of those connections and be able to check in on them and feel love from them and be able to give love to them.
BradleyOf course, yeah, of course, especially during these times that we’re going through right now. People are finding more and more that they need to have that connection, whether or not it’s, you know, you can’t have it in person as much as you could in the past and so people are reaching out more and more. So the reason I brought that up again, is I actually have a little clip here that I wanted to share with you actually on the program. So I’m going to go ahead and share my screen. And I’m going to share the computer sound as well. And I’m going to bring this over. And here we are. You remember this one?
MariahYep. I am a different person, there.
BradleyYes you are, but here we are. It’s only 27 seconds long. I’m going to go ahead and play it for our listeners and our viewers and this is Mariah Schumacher. While she was at the University of Minnesota Duluth and she was at KUMD.
Mariah“It is college radio day on KUMD Duluth public radio streaming online at KUMD.org. I’m DJ Maya and we’re going to get started with a track from Mother, Mother. This is ghosting.” And the two folks in that video are people I still keep in contact with. Very good friends.
BradleyCool, cool. So what kind of memories and feelings that come about when you see that little clip?
MariahOh, very much joy, also a little bit of awkwardness. I was usually faceless on the radio, and we ended up recording this little section for college radio day and I didn’t know how to move my body the right way. I was like, I’m not usually being video recorded during this. Yeah, very fun day very fun time in my life I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many people that love me and I love them so much that’s been abundant in my life. It seems like when I look for love there. People are there.
BradleyNo, that’s good. I, you know, as a parent, and as a person, individual, I’m glad to hear that. We need more people to support others in their endeavors. And along those same lines, you know, one of the questions that I had prepared for you was are there any resources or people that have helped you along your journey. And when I say journey. I mean not only your educational journey but life’s journey as well so any people or resources that have helped you along with your journey?
MariahOf course, of course. A word that I or a phrase that I suppose that I came to recently was “The universe’s my greatest lover.” And whenever I need some sort of love or support it seems to come to me in some way. Either through a person or through some sort of animal or action or other something from my own existence. I seem to be given exactly what I need. If I look for it. There’s times when I seem to get distracted from what maybe is really important to me. But if I look for that I am often given exactly what I want. A good example of that is the queer community that I found in Minneapolis. When I didn’t totally know how to put words to some things and I found the words polyamory, and I found the word pansexual to help kind of describe my experience of the world and that brought me to a beautiful group of people who are all trying their best to live true to themselves and be kind to others around them and petition for their right to do so. And it was just, it’s been fascinating being involved with this community and actually a big chunk of this group of people is now the ones I’m seeing trying to rally together to fight for equality right now in Minneapolis and stand up for protecting their own neighborhoods and part of like a little group chat, where I get to see people organizing and trying to make sure there’s someone on watch for every neighborhood. Encouraging each other to drink water. Stay rested. If you need mental health. I’m here to talk. Here’s places we found you can donate money if you don’t feel up to going out today. Stay safe. It’s just this this big community of people that care about each other and then are caring about being safe in this super uncertain time. And community is so important I’m finding. And having a group of people who are there to support you and be supported by you is invaluable. It is a great, I guess insight, I’ve found in my life and I really push toward it constantly. And I find myself surrounded by more and more people and more and more love all the time.
BradleyYou brought up something that I wanted to comment on, and especially given the last week, a little over a week’s worth of events happening around with Mr Floyd and and what’s been happening there. I’ve heard some people comment that the they always look on the bright side. And one of the bright sides, what has happened is, it’s drawn attention to not only the black lives matter, but others that are almost forgotten a little bit in terms of being discriminated against. And that would include everybody in the LGBT and A environment and groups. I know that I’m involved with a business resource group at where I work. And we always talk about how can we support those people. I’m an ally and I think you already know that. And so I think more and more people when you talk to them in a casual way, non threatening way, then they actually are more open to discuss that. And I have to admit I don’t know everything about the community. I even had to look up what does pan mean what does pansexual mean versus, you know, some other ones. And so kind of in your own words, kind of describe what what the differences or similarities are between pan and polly.
MariahOkay. I liked those words. Thank you for them. So pansexual and polyamory are just words that I found community near. They’re good reference points for how I want to be living my life. Pansexual means I might be attracted to you. No matter what you look like, or how you identify because there’s all for all sorts of folks who are on gender anything, and that’s super beautiful, I love the fluidity and I might be attracted to any one of you I guess is the way I interpret pensexual. And Polyamory is so many things. For me, It means well, I guess the words, I’ll say for it in this moment are that I try to be as in love with every person that I encounter. In whatever way makes the most sense for both of us. And sometimes those lines get really blurry. You know, you maybe you’re not supposed to spend a lot of time with one person if you’re in a monogamous relationship. There’s all these kind of unspoken things that happen and I know I can love so many people in so many ways. And each relationship is entirely unique. Sometimes there’s romantic pieces of it. Sometimes there’s sexual pieces of it. Sometimes it’s just being really psyched about existing together and spending my time and setting my boundaries in very specific ways has really sharpened my communication skills, it has been so valuable in my life to navigate relationships in a completely new way without relying on a structure like monogamy for me and I say I love you to so many people all the time, and it’s just so lovely.
BradleySo, you know, the viewers and the listeners are obviously going to pick up that you are very open minded and you love everything and everyone. And you are positive. People feel that when they’re around you. And I’m somewhat biased. So I think the listeners and the viewers have figured it out by now that I am your dad. And so I’m very proud of you, but without that even being there. I also have noticed you grow from somebody who is just a young inquisitive person into somebody who is always searching and always seeking more experience more knowledge. And sharing that with others and then being open and transparent about what you’re feeling and thinking while you’re going through all of these stages and so everybody knows you know when you’re going through grade school and high school and college you are trying to figure out who you are, what you want to do, where you want to go. What kind of career you want to have. And one thing that I did see and you’ve updated it you know every once in a while on your Facebook, you have a saying underneath your name and your current one. Says Mariah Schumacher in parentheses “Moss”. So tell us how you came up with that nickname, Moss, instead of using Mariah.
MariahI noticed a lot of people around me in the queer community choosing names or having names come to them that felt very right for them and moss felt very right for me. And when I began traveling, which I did for about nine months I just introduced myself as moss and people were like, nice. Yeah, okay. Moss. And it felt really good to be called this squishy warm thing this plant that I identify really strongly with and a bunch of ways, I suppose. And just have that picture, I guess, be brought up in my own head as something I identify with.
BradleyNo, that’s the one thing that I would say is some people may not know this about you but you had a young age, and even now when you are viewing words and sentences you actually visualize those in colors. And so did that come about with the word moss as well, or what do you see your picture with the word moss and your and when you use that?
MariahSynesthesia is beautiful thing. I’m very happy to have noticed that I exist with it. But it’s a little different for the word moss for me. I usually get really strong colors with people’s names so you can tell me someone’s name or I can meet someone and they’ll tell me their name and I will get colors for their name. I’ve not ever been able to do it for my own name. I’ve tried and it hasn’t really worked. I’ve but I’ve met other people named Mariah. And I’ve been able to see their name. But it’s different for every person different John’s have different colors slightly. In some sort of my mind’s eye. So I don’t actually really get colors with moss. I just get the feeling that Moss gives me, which is overwhelmingly positive. And if someone hearing my name or interacting with me gets a smidge of that overwhelmingly positive life force that is most from hearing my name, then great.
BradleyWell, thank you, I, I’ve never asked you that before so I wanted to add that in. And it makes sense. It would be difficult for me to kind of describe my own name as well. But I’ve, I’ve met other Bradley’s and Brad’s and I picture them with that name. And it’s unique to them, even though I share the same name. So I kind of understand what you’re talking about. You mentioned earlier when we were talking about feeling good that you’re surrounded with a community that is open and your its ever expanding you’re meeting new people all the time. I know that you did an interview with a friend of mine. And his show is actually called the people I know show and Kurt and I actually went and traveled and met up with you and some friends as well. Tell me some of the happiest memories, memorable moments that you have during the time that you you traveled. What were some of the ones that come off the top of your head.
MariahWell, I was gone for a while and I had so many amazing experiences. Moving to different places about once a month meant I grew very fast. I felt so many different experiences, the one that’s coming to mind. I guess because we’re talking about polyamory is I had was traveling with a long term partner of mine named Ro and we ended up in a place where I connected with someone else that was there and we had to navigate existing in the same space together in a lot of uncomfortable ways. And there were times that everyone was pretty uncomfortable and we had to communicate pretty hard. To try and figure out why we were uncomfortable. And the way I approached a lot of these conversations was in my heart believing everyone wanted everyone to be having a good time and to be safe and to be comfortable. And I learned that lesson over and over and I continue to learn that lesson. Whenever I inquire with anyone. I had some very intense healing conversation with a good friend of mine yesterday and a phrase that we came to is one that I want to share. I wrote it down. Seems like a good time to do it. And it’s one that is sometimes hard to say all the way. So I’m going to see if I can do it. If I think back to times when I’ve been hurt. By someone or something. The hurt is there. And so far, when I do inquire, it seems like this hurt was the result of a misunderstanding. Every time. Or a difference in relativity between my experience and someone else’s and we just couldn’t understand each other, somehow, and that hurt one or both of us. And if I think about all the people that I’ve met in my life and times I’ve been scared or hurt. I don’t think anyone has ever meant to hurt me. And that’s maybe a fairly fortunate place to find myself. I don’t know if everybody feels that way, but so many of the conflicts between folks when I’ve talked through them with between myself and another or talking with two others. It always seems to boil down to a misunderstanding and our bodies holding trauma from being alive in your life is really traumatic so. That’s a quote that I came to and it felt really powerful. So thank you for hearing it.
BradleyYeah. Well, thank you for sharing. I believe a lot of listeners and viewers could relate to that. And when they look back at some arguments or breakups or failures or anything along those lines. And after everybody has calmed down, and you have some clarity. Regarding the episode or the situation. A lot of people would wish that I wish I would have said this or I could have said this or I would have thought about asking it this way instead of the way that I did because semantics is is something that comes into play and everybody has their own experiences. And experiences help determine your reality. And so, you know, one thing that I had as another question was, you know, some of your experiences while you were traveling, you know, one of the things that you have on your Facebook is “traveling and listening as best I can, on this little place”. So why, why did you choose that I know that you had some other ones previously, but that one is definitely interesting. So I think you did that, after you were traveling for some time. And so, traveling and listening as best I can, on this little place. So tell me a little bit more about why you have that on your Facebook page.
MariahI think I’m glad you brought it up because it is something I wanted to say. A word that’s really important at this point in my life is listening. I believe so much of my wisdom of being alive and existing it all has come from listening to other folks experiences. And the more I traveled around Eastern Europe, or wherever I was or my home country. Talking to people if so many different backgrounds. And I listened with a part that believed that they were good and just doing their best to be a good person in the world. I, that’s what I found over and over. And I’m finding the more I listen, the more interested I even am. I don’t run out of questions. There are so many different ways to be alive. And I know mine pretty well. And it’s really neat to learn about other people’s so that’s the listening piece. I was traveling and the world seems so small, sometimes. So I guess that’s why it’s a little place. Sure.
BradleySure. I understand. You know, you mentioned something and this is going to be a difficult question. I want to ask it because it makes you think for a second. So, take, take a moment after after this question. What’s been your biggest failure over the past year, and why do you think it happened?
MariahI think I will just go with what’s coming to mind. And that is my youngest brother came with me for about six weeks of traveling. And I underestimated how difficult it would be to travel with a 14 year old in the way that I was traveling, which was quite rough. Working for my food and my board. And he got pretty hurt from it. He wasn’t totally expecting what we were going to be doing. I think he felt a little lost and really wanted to be on his phone, didn’t want to engage so much. I tried some different tactics to get him to engage. But we had kind of had started off with such a big misunderstanding that a lot of hurt was caused I think from me to him and from him to me. And so we had a lot of really beautiful experiences and I hope he remembers them in good light. But we also had a lot of hard ones and we hadn’t had too many hardest experiences as siblings before then. I don’t think it’s invaluable. But it was very hard. I think if I had approached it with the mindset of really trying to understand him. Maybe we would have had a different outcome. Or maybe if I had waited a couple years until he wasn’t 14 I will never know. I’m still glad it happened, but it was very hard.
BradleySo, you know my perspective on that is, even though it was hard and difficult at times. I think time will show that it helped him to gain perspective and hopefully will help him realize traveling, you know that I’m a firm believer in traveling as much as you can, outside the United States. Because right now, a lot of people can’t remember the last statistic I read but vast majority of people haven’t traveled outside of the United States. And it’s a shame because you just develop these blinders on. And when we were talking about expanding your experiences and knowledge. That’s one of the best ways to do that is to travel and I’m glad that he was able to go with you. And even though there were some tough times. Hopefully he is going to be able to put that into perspective and and really appreciate both the bad and the good that happened through that. Since you have returned, have you guys had any discussions on what happened. And have you kind of resolved some, some, I don’t want to call them issues but talked through what happened and why each other behaved that way. And have you had that opportunity?
MariahWe have, yeah. We really talked about it pretty quickly after I got back. He actually stopped texting me for about a month after he had left. And we just needed a real break from each other, I suppose. And when I did get back. We talked about it and what we would probably do differently and he asked if we could come again on another traveling time so I’m hoping we’ll be able to do that again at some point, because I, I would love to just bring people I love out into the world and see what that’s like. Maybe we wouldn’t go for six weeks, maybe a couple weeks.
BradleySure, sure. And and handle his expectation toward what to expect during that traveling. He probably wasn’t aware of that it was going to be harsh when you’d have to work for your food and that sort of stuff. Whereas normally he was thinking, oh, we’re going to stay in a hotel, and we’re going to do this and and travel and so Yeah, yeah. If I, if I were his age, and I have that expectation and it didn’t come true. I’d be, what am I doing here what what’s going on. I love you. However, this is difficult. So I want to get back to a little bit more about your education and I know that before you started traveling, you had plans to continue your education and go on for your master’s in psychology and you actually narrowed down, I believe, at the time, some schools that you wanted to attend. So for our listeners and viewers, you know, one of the goals of our website is to help them understand what resources are available. What kind of questions you need to ask yourself before you start going down that road of picking a program, picking what type of area you want to study, let alone, where you want to go for school. So kind of go back and think about what your frame of mind was when you were going through that those stages of trying to figure out what do I want to focus on. Where do I want to go to school. What were some of the criteria that you use. And what were you thinking when you’re trying to narrow down where you want it to go and what you wanted to study.
MariahYeah. A big motivator for me was finding a university that was not in the United States. And a big piece of that was that I wanted to be experiencing different in the world and going to a new place I thought that would be a good way to do it. Just find myself in one spot for a few years and see what happens. Pick up another language, possibly. I know if I live in a place long enough, I will be speaking that language because my brain will want to. So kind of starting their narrowed down, well, I guess selected what I was going to be doing this specific way. I knew I was interested in more of the neuro side. And so I looked into some neuropsychology, some neuroscience. I looked a little bit into cognitive sciences. There was a consciousness and cognition lab. I believe in British Columbia, that was so fascinating that was I think my number one choice. And there was a few great schools in Germany, they are really leading lot of the research. And it’s fascinating. But I did not want to live in Germany. Especially after traveling around for a little while, I realized that’s not a place for me at this time. But during my research I found narrowing down to some sort of program seemed like the first step after finding where-ish in the world I wanted to be. And from there, looking at the program, looking at the costs was a little bit overwhelming to do it all like clicking by myself and finding how much was this actually. Does it matter if I’m in a country or not. Should I be contacting a certain person. Sometimes I would email someone inquiring about the program and they would say we’re not actually taking applications right now. And I was like, oh, that’s not what I was asking it got a little bit confusing. So finding four or five schools I was really interested in was the result of hours of research, really.
BradleyAnd do you remember some of the sources or who you talked to, to help you narrow down some of your decisions? Was it just a lot of online research and then talking to people? Did you talk to colleagues other professors other students?
MariahI did talk to one professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, because I was really interested in the University of British Columbia. And he had taught there for a while. So I had a meeting with him, and we had a dialogue about what that place was like and what maybe I could expect that was helpful. A lot of it was my own research on the schools and kind of getting to their site and navigating it figuring it out. Some are easier than others. I was often surprised by how difficult it was to navigate these sites and they’re all different.
BradleySo, now that you brought that up a little bit. I am going to share my screen again I have something else that I want to share with the viewers and the listeners and I’m sorry listeners. I didn’t describe the previous share that I made, but you did listen to her. So obviously, in that last clip was her at KUMD. I didn’t describe what I was seeing. This one is actually a picture. Let me go ahead and share my screen and hopefully you can see this picture. This picture is actually from when you attended you actually presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington, DC. Back in November of 2017. And this is a picture I believe of one of your professors, is it Lloyd or?
MariahBob Lloyd!
BradleyYes. So tell me what you think of and feel when you see this picture. And for the viewers out there you see this but for the listeners, this is a picture of Ro and Moss and a professor known as Lloyd and behind her behind Mariah, she has a placard billboard of her study and that she actually presented at this conference. So tell me a little bit more about this.
MariahSome professors in my life were just so fun to be around. This professor was very weird and very lovely and really helped me with this research project. A lot of the ideas were about using heart rate variability and the physio aspect of it were just, I had no idea how to do these things. So he was very helpful with that and wow. Yep, I got a lot of great feedback for writing my submission and writing my paper, things like that. It is really useful to have someone there to help. I do and I believe I was one or two my guy. He they had one or two people they were kind of mentoring and I got to be one of them. It was a wild ride and I ended up in Washington DC at this giant conference and it was very overwhelming sometimes, but I am so glad I was able to do it.
BradleyI was just going to ask you, I know that I saw some of your posts on Facebook, and it seemed like you were, you didn’t necessarily enjoy the experience. But you were enjoying the fact that you could have that experience and that you really enjoyed having Lloyd there as well. I mean, I remember that Facebook post. So it’s, it is who you know it contributed to who you are now, and that experience, whether it was good or bad for you is, is part of who you are now. So yeah, I like that now along the same lines. I’m going to share one other thing with the viewers here and I’m going to go right here and bring this one up. I’ll bring this one down. And then I’ll bring this one up. And this one is interesting. And this is actually one that I wanted to share with you. Back in November 2017-2018. You actually posted this on Facebook and for the listeners out there. It’s a picture of Mariah in a winter jacket with her hood over her head and she also has a cap on over head and then she kind of has a what color would you call that scarf. A teal scarf kind of covering your face in this picture is next to one of the paintings that you did and she actually named this “Two pics of a work in progress”. And so tell me the first things that come to your mind when you see this. It’s been a few years since you’ve seen this.
MariahYes, it hasn’t been a few years and so seeing this, um, I was in the middle of a painting and really liked how it looked so far. And also had recently taken a picture of myself on a very cold day wrapped up completely. So just kind of my eyes and nose were showing. And thought that my painting was still a work in progress and had heard a quote recently around that time from my partner about how everyone is always a painting in progress. And you can always add new brushstrokes to your life painting and it’s never too late for that. And that was what was on my mind when I posted painting picture and me picture with the quote two pictures of a work in progress.
BradleyI like it. I like it. That’s of course why I brought it up for you. So, this wasn’t pre-planned for the listeners and viewers, I, we didn’t talk about what we wanted to accomplish on today’s podcast but she had no idea what I was going to bring up on KUMD and some of these other pictures so It’s nice to see your reactions and get your feedback. So we’re almost done here, but I do have some other few other questions for you if you still have some time. Yeah. I asked you a little bit about your biggest failure and you talked about that. And I can sense that you you wish that you handled it better and handle the expectations a little bit better with your brother. But let me ask you this kind of a general question now that you’ve gone through a lot of your training and some of your education in psychology. You know what’s, what’s the most common reason why you feel people fail or give up? And given your take, take that question kind of in a psychological view. What is the most common reason for people failing or giving up?
MariahIt’s an interesting question. I feel like it’s two. Failing I suppose I would think of as a perception. Whether or not I consider myself failing at something has entirely to do with if I think I’m failing at it. Maybe same both giving up. I bet it has a lot to do with trauma. And our bodies in the world’s react to things before our brains do so often and we find ourselves in fight, flight, or freeze mode and make decisions that don’t always seem logical to our logic brain. And I find my logic and my emotion don’t always match, even if I logically know this is okay. And it’s not a failure. It’s just an opportunity to learn my body might still feel like this is a failure, somehow. I need this. I think that’s a really big piece of it. I hope people can find peace from that. I try to help the people around me as much as I can. That’s all I can ever do. Is try and help them feel comfortable and safe, and loved. And maybe that will help shift their perception of something being a failure to some sort of exciting learning opportunity or giving up as listening to yourself, clearly.
BradleyI like the answer. You’ve talked about a couple concepts there. Which leads me to another question that I had ready for you is what is something new that you have learned recently?
MariahOh, so many things. Lovely love in my life named liza lovely, lovely liza is currently reading a book that she’s shared some ideas with me and it’s about Emergent Strategy, I believe, is the name of this book. And she’s been talking about critical connections versus critical mass and how there are some connections in one’s life that are very critical. They are people you can interact with and have healthy dialogues with or maybe you’re working towards healthier dialogues together and these critical connections are very important to you and your growth. And then critical mass is the other people in your life that are also so important. Maybe your neighbors, family members, you’re not quite as close with friends that are very important for interaction and living your day to day life not lonely. And how to set certain boundaries between those two types of connections and instead of spreading oneself, very thin over all the people that exist, recognizing which ones are very important to you in specific ways. And putting more energy into these connections. And getting rich, rich connection by putting in the work. I’ve had some I’ve had relationships where I have trouble communicating with this person for a little while, we don’t understand each other all the way, because we are different. And when I work on this connection if it’s important to me. And it seems important to them and we want to keep working on it. Then we find better ways to communicate and it’s hard. But the richness that we get from making our soil, really, really good. Brings just such great benefits I have such great communication that I learned about every day by working on my communication every day and trying to get better.
BradleyAnd I think to jump on that as well. Part of the communication is being a very good listener. And not only the listener to the word, but the feeling and the nonverbal that is coming through in people. And as I mentioned earlier in the podcast, it’s, it’s difficult to pick up on that non verbal coming through the technology versus being in person as well so I struggle with that all the time and try to pick up on that all the time as well so.
MariahI often try to, some words that helps me we’re trying to send this person energy as I’m communicating with them, which does a bunch of little things, even if I’m just thinking I’m sending you energy. I’m giving them my attention very specifically, and they can feel maybe that or me sending them energy somehow. And that often helps people relax and feel seen, I hope.
BradleyMm hmm. I agree. I agree. Hey, I have two other questions regarding kind of the educational aspect of psychology and one is kind of a fun one that I am planning on asking all of my guests and all the people on the podcast. So this is one that’s going to be universal throughout is, what is your favorite term principle or theory in psychology and why?
MariahOh my goodness. Um, I think I have to choose one that I have already mentioned, and that is psychoneuroimmunology and big reason is it’s very fun to say. And it’s very fun to write a lot of letters that don’t have tails and so it looks really pretty to me. And the whole field is very fascinating learning about thinking and it’s connections to your whole body. Can I give one more answer.
BradleyOh my gosh. That was just one. Yeah.
MariahThe other one is that I kind of found through this is psychoneuroendocrinology.
BradleyWhat is that?
MariahSo your psychology affecting your nervous system psycho/neuro and your endocrine system is the hormones that are all through my whole body and your whole body and changing all the time, and oh my goodness. It’s so fascinating, especially after being involved with the queer community for a while there are folks in the world who feel very masculine, but maybe are born into a body that doesn’t have a penis, but their brains and their bodies often are so much more reflective of what we may be general generally defined as masculine. And I, this, this study is investigating that relationship, I suppose. And that’s very fascinating to me also.
BradleyIt is very fascinating. And one thing that I kept thinking about when you were talking about that is, you know, the old adage is, you know, the positive stay positive and positive feelings and vibes. Now we have research to show the reason why you need to be positive, all the time. It actually helps Improve your mood. It helps improve your health and it helps stave off some of these diseases and anything that could be attacking your, your system. And so it is It is interesting. And some people don’t look at it that way. They just say, oh yeah well stay positive. That’s not going to help me. Well, it actually does. If you look at the hormones that are released. When you are happy when you smile when you laugh all of that stuff and so I’m glad that you brought that up. So you know this is kind of a difficult question because I know that since we talked before you started traveling. Now that you’ve gotten back from traveling. It almost feels like, and correct me if I’m wrong, that it was cut short and you wanted to continue to travel, and so, I know that your original plan was to start your master’s in psychology and go into that program after you’re done traveling. So tell me a little bit more about what your future plans are at this point.
MariahUm, well, my decision on continuing my education was paused. Before this coronavirus happened. Big piece of that was how much I was learning about the world and that I didn’t feel ready to continue my education in a concrete way. And, what was the question?
BradleyBut you’re having your future plans, and so, even though you’re not going through formal education you have been, I would argue that you have been experiencing and going through education through your travels and and coming back. And so just getting you back on, on the question, I was just asking you what your future plans were for both formal, informal education, anything like that. I know that you’re always wanting to learn but kind of speak to you know your future plans.
MariahGotcha. Um, I would say they are extremely uncertain. I do like learning very much and I’m part of a permaculture course that I’m working on online reading all sorts of books about trauma and communication and trying to actively use them every day. Right now I am trying to take a short term and long term action every day that steps toward what I’m believing in. What goals I have. A lot of that is pretty focused on this movement happening in Minneapolis. Some short term goals that I can have are donating some money to places where it will be used right away. People that are on the front lines that need water and medical gear and support and people staying up doing community watches trying to send money to these places that I care about. And then, longer term actions, ften being conversations, just to talk about how weird stuff is sometimes. And how we end up in these situations in our communities where people are so scared. Just so scared on many different sides. And talking about how strange that is when it’s likely it’s all a miscommunication and it’s likely that most people don’t want to be hurting each other. And are really fearful of something or another. So that’s really where I’m focusing right now. I know that the future is so uncertain. It always is and always has been and I’m just taking it day by day and trying to focus on what really is important to me. And it’s this community that I find around me and my family and in all that I love near me, and animals. And trying to Make sure that people near me are comfortable and safe.
BradleyThat’s a good answer. I was waiting for you to talk about, hey, you know the uncertainty and a lot of people are you’re not, you’re not alone there, especially in today. They are uncertain not only about where we’re heading in their own lives in what’s happening in their world, but also what’s going to happen in terms of how are we going to get out of this Covid and out of these these times, dealing with and healing. Going through the healing process as well so, ou’re not alone. A lot of people are going through that as well. I do have kind of one, actually, I lied. I have two questions left. Maybe I’ll just do one. The one question that I wanted to ask is now you having me narrow it down because I have about three of them ready.
MariahAsk whatever you want.
BradleyThough the one that I would probably ask first is, what should I have asked you that I haven’t asked you yet?
MariahOh, maybe how Psychology has impacted my relationship with Universal communication. I don’t know how you would of known to ask that.
BradleyRight, so obviously that’s very specific. So ask yourself that you know how is psychology impacted your universal communication. I think you asked.
MariahI strongly believe that the education I received gave me so many tools on how to inquire and learn about my own perception of the universe and how others perceptions may be different. Excuse me. Others perceptions may be different from mine. And other really Is everything to me. And I’ve found that when I ask the universe for something, it will bring it to me, somehow. I mentioned earlier that the universe seems to be my greatest lover and developing these tools on how to look inside myself and look at the world and use my senses, feel and breathe and touch and see and focus on the census. I usually can find what I’m looking for, even if I don’t know what exactly I was looking for. Answers usually come to me. And having a Psych background has been really useful, for that.
BradleyWell, that was a good question that you asked yourself. Thank you.
MariahThanks.
BradleyAgain, the goal of this is to help those who are seeking to further their education, so I will ask this one and I will ask this of every guest as well. Even though you have changed and put on pause your formal education. I can still ask this because you did go through those steps. So what advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting their master’s degree in psychology?
MariahI suppose, find the investigator that connects well with you. From my research, it seems like finding someone who is doing the type of work that I would be interested in is the most important piece. Money is also very important. But finding what connects to what I want to be doing and what would be my motivation through a program is really that what seemed to be the most important part
BradleySo what I hear you saying is just find something that you’re very interested in and try to pursue that even further. A good summary. Yeah. Okay. One final question. This is kind of a fun one, since we talked about money. I actually had a question about this. Last question of the podcast, I promise. Thank you for your time and patience. But if you had the time and money to complete one project or go on one trip, what would you do?
MariahIt’s tricky. Because I feel like I have everything that I want. I guess if the world opened up again, I would really like to get to Thailand, because that’s where I was supposed to go right before I was not supposed to be traveling anymore and I had to rush home. But Thailand’s not very expensive. I would probably continue traveling. I guess that’s that’s the first thing coming up inside of me. Maybe I would buy a little van and make it a van I could sleep in and then travel around for a little while. That’s a good money project thing if I had money for that.
BradleyAnd so you’d have to bring that van or by that van. If you’re I’m assuming if you’re traveling outside the United States, you’d have to find that van and buy it over there or rent it or bring it with you over there so.
MariahI think I would keep the van limited to the United States. A lot of other countries have just fantastic public transportation systems. I really experienced that. It was great.
BradleyOkay. Is there anything else that you would like to add to this podcast? I am done with my questions. And this is your opportunity to bring up anything else that I did not bring up that you could talk about.
MariahI guess what’s coming to mind for me is your view on this phrase that I came to yesterday. And whether that rings true for you. And so I’m going to say it one more time. I’m just curious about your experience of this phrase. It is if I think back to times I’ve been hurt. By someone or something. The hurt is there. And so far, seems like the result of a misunderstanding or difference in relativity. What do you think?
BradleyMy first reaction is and you mentioned that earlier in the podcast and I had a reaction then, and it’s the same reaction now that you’re saying it again. First off, my background in education is in communication and interpersonal communication, to be more specific. I did have a broadcasting degree and was on the TV and radio, but I really enjoyed learning more about interpersonal communication. So what that phrase means to me the first thing that always came to mind was, and still does, is how similar and how much overlap there is between psychology and communication as a field, as well as interpersonal communication. And one of my undergraduate studies I looked at couples and we looked at what were called hidden agendas and back then it’s it’s not what you think a hidden agenda is. A hidden agenda is something that you have that you haven’t purposely kept from your spouse or significant other or your partner, but something that you just haven’t realized verbalize, you know, verbally, shared that with them. And so a hidden agenda could be something that you’re unaware of that you didn’t share with your, your important spouse or other. And your phrase comes to mind where if you were hurt in the past, to me, I agree with your assessment that the vast majority of the time it is because either a) you weren’t listening as well and you didn’t communicate exactly what you wanted to convey to that person or they weren’t in the right frame of mind to receive it. Some people have to be open and receptive to taking in new information that differs from their own. And if they’re not in an open frame of mind they’re already closing you out and they’re not going to listen to what you’re having to say. And so a lot of times in the interpersonal communication in the studies that I’ve done both undergraduate and graduate where people just did not know how to connect to really connect and they would just talk and until they felt listened to and respected, they would just keep saying the same thing over and over in their mind they’re thinking that they’re communicating, but they’re not because the other person isn’t open to that. And so, what I found is that more and more people have to level set before they have a good conversation with somebody. And what I mean by level set is not only with the other person. Why are we here. What are we going to talk about. What would we like to accomplish. But level set with themselves and and take that introspective approach of where am I at right now. Am I ready to have this conversation. And can I be open to it and be honest and transparent with that other person. If you’re not ready to have that conversation, you’re not in the right frame of mind, you have too many things on your mind where you still have not moved past what has happened from a previous experience or conversation with that person. And that’s why I asked you earlier with your brother, have you had that chance. Sometimes you need more time in order to, time and space, to settle down and then have that conversation. And people, people feel rejected and feel like the other person doesn’t love or care about them if you approach them and want to talk about something, but that other person isn’t ready to do that. And that isn’t, that isn’t the way that you should respond, you should acknowledge and say I what I hear you saying is this, and I understand why it would feel that way and and if we want to talk about this at a later time, we can, and then go about it that way instead of. Oh, sure. I want to talk, but you don’t ever want to talk with me whenever I want to, and then it then it just escalates. So. Does that kind of answer your question, I guess I’m kind of going on and on.
MariahYeah, thank you. Thanks. That’s great.
BradleyYeah, so, Mariah, it’s always a pleasure. I’m biased, but even if I wasn’t your dad you are a beautiful human being. And I appreciate you sharing your time with me and the listeners and the viewers. I will, with this podcast I will put a link to your other podcast with the people I know show with Kurt Carstensen, and also provide a little bit more information for the listeners and the viewers. But again, I appreciate you taking the time, and I’m glad to see that you’re happy and healthy. And continue your education. One thing that I learned. If you were to ask me, one of the questions that I asked was, who influenced me when I was going through school or life. There was a professor in my master’s degree that said a phrase that I remember to this day, and I take it to heart and the phrase is always push, “always strive to push back the frontiers of ignorance”. And think about that for a second. I had to think about that while after he said it. You’re trying to push back the frontiers of ignorance and there is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. And if you’re always striving to learn and learn and learn and accept that a) you’re not stupid. You can’t know everything. This would help the world and in a lot of ways. Trying to expose yourself to different experiences and knowledge in different people and that’s part of the reason why I know I love traveling is you get to meet all these different people and in doing so. I am pushing back those frontiers of ignorance, because I’ve never been to this place or experienced this type of conversation or this type of person. But now that I have now you’ve expanded your experience a little bit more and more and more. And so I’m a firm believer in in striving to push back the frontiers of ignorance, so I’ll leave it at that. So again, I appreciate the time, I love you very much, and I’m glad to see that you’re happy and healthy. At this time, I will go ahead and stop recording.
MariahAll right, Thanks.
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