Brandolyn Fluke '08
The Psychology of Community
The close-knit town of Poultney, Vermont, is a far cry from Brandolyn Fluke’s hometown of Alexandria, VA, a bustling city just outside Washington D.C. It was a big transition to come to GMC – and a journey of over 600 miles – but it’s here that this senior psychology major has discovered her passion for the study of community and culture.
Brandolyn first became interested in psychology because it breaks down human nature and behavior—two subjects that interest her greatly.
“Most people think of Freud or psychoanalysis when they think of psychology,” Brandolyn explains, “but it’s so much more than that. I’m interested in community, in the psychology of community, in how people view their community. I’m interested in how cultures form and how they contribute toward society.”
Eventually, Brandolyn would like to get her master’s degree in community and culture, focusing not on clinical psychology but on policy change. She developed this interest thanks in large part to some influential psychology classes she has taken over the past couple of years.
One such class – the psychology of aging -- drastically changed her point of view on how the elderly are treated in our culture. “In other cultures, the elderly are honored for their wisdom, yet here they are practically discarded,” Brandolyn says.
The psychology of mental health facilities is another realm Brandolyn would like to explore. This interest stems from a positive psychology class, when she learned about how much the environment can affect mental health. After visiting a facility, she began to see the potential issues with the extreme sterility and unfriendly architecture she found there. “It makes me wonder—can these people really get better when they aren’t surrounded by an environment that evokes warmth and friendliness?”
Another topic she’s curious about? Adoption and alternative families. She’s especially interested in the process, and why it is so difficult to adopt children when there are so many who need homes in this country today.
While Brandolyn has some distinct long-term goals, she is still unsure about the immediate future. She hopes to take some time off before getting her master’s degree—some time that may even involve working here at Green Mountain College. “I’m not sure, though,” she ruminates. “I just love the people here.”