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Psychology Student Excels at QCC

May 2023
  • Psychology student Austin Schacht
    Psychology student Austin Schacht

Austin Schacht started at QCC in the spring of 2020, with a strong interest in psychology and helping his community. Spring 2020 turned out to be one of the most challenging semesters to start college, but he didn't let the disruption stop his progress as he continued his higher education journey and became an incredibly active member of the QCC community. He is now set to graduate this month.

Austin is a psychology major and has been a member of the Psychology Club for two years, moving from publicity coordinator to vice president and finally his current role as president of the club.

"My goal is to become a researcher. I hope to research addiction so that we can further understand it and understand how to treat it better. I want to do everything in my power to help people overcome their addiction because I know with the right conditions it is entirely possible," he said.

Austin wanted to do something to give back to the community and has volunteered for The Recover Project, a peer support center in Greenfield, MA for individuals who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. He has spearheaded multiple fundraising opportunities. In addition to raising money for The Recover Project, he recently organized a fundraiser for Everyday Miracles, another peer recovery center located in Worcester. 

"Peer support is all about creating conditions for people to recover. We support our peers in many ways, but a key component is letting them lead the process. I think that’s the real difference-maker for a lot of people," he commented. "This work is important to me because I’ve seen the devastating impact addiction has had on my community. "

In addition, Austin has been very proactive about finding speakers to participate in meetings and activities for the Psychology Club and the Psi Beta Honors Society. 

During the pandemic, these two organizations were some of the few that remained active, thanks in no small part to Austin. The clubs were creative in developing remote activities 

Professor of Psychology Valarie Clemente described Austin as an exceptional leader who motivates others to be their best selves. He has been active in the leadership of the Student Government Association and Students Anonymous, served as a peer mentor at QCC, and completed domestic violence victim advocate training through the YWCA.

"I see students like him as the future of our field. He will bring a lot of depth and diversity in thought and perspective that the field is lacking," Professor Clemente said. "I always say to my students they're the future of our field and they're going to move it ahead. The research isn’t broad enough, whether it's people of color or the LGBTQIA+ community, different spiritual groups, ages, or abilities. Our students represent all of those folks and their representation in our field will help bring it forward and make it better." 

As if that wasn't enough, Austin is also the delegate to the National Psi Beta organization where he reviews what other chapters are doing across the country and brings that information back to QCC's chapter. He is also involved in the Psi Beta national research project where he will present at a local conference, an opportunity that not many community college students have. 

 "He is really a wonderful person and he’ll be deeply missed. I'm excited about what comes next for him. He’ll be very impactful wherever he goes and I’ll be proud to say I knew him when," Professor Clemente added.