Lily Gallagher is a 2021 graduate from Independence, Oregon. She is a Psychology major with a minor in Gender Studies, and she is an award winner from WOU’s Leadership Recognition Month, where she was given the Abby’s House Social Justice Award.
What has the experience been like as a transfer student?
Yes! I transferred from Portland State University my junior year. After spending most of my life in Independence/Monmouth, I longed to get away and move to a bigger city. I had never imagined myself going to Western, actually. Although I loved Portland, my time at PSU made me realize how much I missed the comfort and coziness of “small town living.” Transferring to WOU was a relatively smooth experience with some minor hiccups along the way. The issues I encountered motivated me to secure an internship through the Transfer Pathways Department. I felt passionate about helping make the transition I endured easier for future transfer students.
Do you have any advice for current and prospective students?
This probably sounds cliché, but get involved! I regretted not getting involved when I went to PSU, so when I transferred to WOU, I made it a priority to obtain various on-campus positions and build strong relationships with my professors/supervisors. This made a huge difference when I was building my resume and applying for graduate school. Also, it really helped me feel connected to the WOU community.
Who stands out from your time at WOU?
Definitely my psychology advisor, Dr. Chehalis Strapp. From the moment I was assigned to her, she has been incredibly supportive and helpful in navigating my time here at WOU. When I was freaking out about graduate school interviews and acceptance decisions, she reassured me that I was not being nearly as crazy as I may have felt. All around, she is a kind human, talented professor, and wonderful advisor.
What will you miss the most about WOU?
Walking around WOU during sunset. Campus is really so quaint and beautiful.
What do you love most about the major/minors you completed?
I love, love, loved all the courses I took for my Gender Studies minor (shout out to Dr. Kimberly Jensen and Dr. Donna Sinclair). Each class was incredibly interesting and really enhanced my passion for social justice and gender equity. My minor played a big role in why I decided to enter the field of Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling.
What has been your biggest achievement in college?
One of my biggest accomplishments in college has been maintaining my 4.0 GPA. It was always something that felt important to me, so I made it a goal to maintain it through transferring universities. GPA isn’t everything, but it did get me a position on the executive board of PSI CHI!
Did you have any funny mishaps or moments of confusion when you first started at WOU?
Oh my gosh, yes. I am very directionally challenged, so I had a heck of a time finding various buildings across campus. My first week, I walked the length of campus three times looking for a department that I never ended up finding.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I was recently accepted into Portland State University’s Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling master’s program! My partner and I will be moving back to Portland in September, which I am very excited for.