“I have absolutely fallen in love with teaching.”

And she’s good at it, too. One of ten Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors in 2015, Veronica excels at engaging students in the classroom. She credits her undergraduate women’s studies class with pulling her into that field – and into the classroom. “Often we have 26 people in class, and that’s a small U-M class. I want to help students have that true small classroom feel.”

A Ph.D. candidate in the joint Psychology and Women’s Studies program, Veronica has taught personality psychology, organizational psychology and intro to women’s studies and says all of them have been amazing. “Students are developing political viewpoints, and you witness them developing their thought processes and building their own political consciousness. That’s what I love about women’s studies: the goal is to learn content as well as develop a new lens though which to view the world. Women’s studies classes are a starting point and empower students to adopt an intersectional, feminist critique of the world. This really allows for more exiting assignments where students can take the course content into their lives.” she explains.

Veronica says she was always drawn towards academia, and that feeling is exacerbated now that she’s had significant teaching experience of her own. She describes, “Teaching feels like a treat. I’ve been invited to give guest lectures in big classrooms, and I work with a lot of undergraduate research assistants on campus, many who come from my classroom. The students always continue to wow me and help me develop my own research.”

Majoring in psychology at a small liberal arts college, Veronica valued interdisciplinary study but had to put those experiences together herself. She focused on Latina, Africana, and women’s studies, social justice, and diversity issues, but they were offered outside of a psychology framework. She was looking for a graduate program that pursued activism and critical conversations in those arenas but through psychological lens. She said, “Michigan was the only school that had what I wanted. I wasn’t going to apply to U-M, but I had a roommate in college who lived in Ann Arbor one summer and he said it was the best place he’d lived in his whole life. That helped convince me to apply.”

Read the full article "Student Spotlight: Veronica Rabelo" at rackham.umich.edu.