image 1Commencement 2006

Commencement Profiles

Adair Thomas M.A. '08
In Psychology, the Sum is Greater Than Its Parts

As Adair Thomas '08 addresses the throng of graduates and their families and friends on people’s personal choices and journeys at the Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale as the 2008 Commencement graduate representative, she will be completing a journey of her very own.

It is her interest in the choices, journeys, and personal experiences of youth that ultimately led her to major in school psychology.

"If children have an opportunity to work through experiences that may have wounded them, then there is a better chance they can grow into healthy, thriving human beings," she says.

Playing the triple role of mother, wife, and student, Ms. Thomas credits her family as an incredible support system that has helped her balance a rigorous course load.

Ms. Thomas, who was previously an accountant, describes the transition to psychology as slightly jarring. Away from the black and white world of numbers, where "1 + 1 will always equal 2," and a "Debit is always a debit," Ms. Thomas entered a world where there were no absolute answers.

After completing her prerequisites at York College, Ms. Thomas was split between attending Adelphi University or Queens College. Her mentor, Dr. Donna Chirico, the head of the psychology department at York, quickly pointed her in Adelphi’s direction. And while Ms. Thomas was "ecstatic" about attending Adelphi, she initially found it "intimidating and frightful" to be surrounded by so many accomplished professionals, as well as students who had studied psychology as undergraduates.

"I definitely came in stumbling," says Ms. Thomas.

Her fears were allayed as she began to ask her professors for help and received it consistently. During an internship, Ms. Thomas created a “bully prevention manual,” which so impressed her supervisors that they decided to implement it within the school district.

"That would not have been possible without the support of my professors," she says.

As Ms. Thomas completes another chapter in her voyage, her co-pilots in her life journey, her husband and daughter, will be in attendance at Nassau Coliseum. Reflecting back on her years at Adelphi, and her decision to become a psychologist, Ms Thomas sums up her advice succinctly: "Everything in life is hard. Choose the hard that is best for you."

Photos by Willson Lee
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