spotlight-category: Psychological Science and Counselor Education

Kelsi M. Williams ’18

Kelsi Williams with other psychology students

GWU Professors helped Psychology alumna develop skills to pursue law degree

“My (GWU) professors taught me to be diligent in my studies, to be patient with myself, and to dig deeper when it seemed like I had hit my limit.”

Inspired by her work with special needs and underprivileged children, Kelsi Marie Williams, of Lincolnton, N.C., came to Gardner-Webb University to earn a degree in psychology. “It broke my heart to see the living situations of children not even 10 minutes from my house,” she related. “That’s when the desire began to grow in me to be a child advocate. I also hope to be heavily involved in ministry, helping orphanages and homeless shelters.”

As she worked on her bachelor’s degree, Williams became more sure of her next step. Before graduating from GWU in 2018, she was accepted to the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed on the larger campus, Williams has been confident in her abilities because of her GWU experience. “Law school is a completely different world than I expected it would be, but I have never once felt like I did not belong here,” Williams shared. “I know I will be successful because my GWU professors helped me develop the skills to be the best that I can be. My (GWU) professors taught me to be diligent in my studies, to be patient with myself, and to dig deeper when it seemed like I had hit my limit.”

Besides the classes she took at Gardner-Webb for her major and minors in music and Spanish, Williams participated in a collaborative research project that further prepared her for graduate school. She and a team presented at the Alpha Chi Honor Society national conference. The GWU team took first place and a prize of $5,000 for their presentation on “The Psychology of Oceanic Climate Change.”

The opportunity gave her experience in conducting a scholarly investigation. Again, her GWU professors provided guidance and support. “Their passion for their jobs and their students always amazed me, and I am grateful that I was privileged to learn from them and build relationships with them,” Williams affirmed.

She’s fascinated at the connections she finding between law and psychology. “I believe my psychology major prepared me not only to represent the law, but also to represent people. Everyone is different and unique, and psychology showed me so many wonderful things about humanity and its complexity,” Williams reflected. “I know that I will come face-to-face with the reality of my responsibility to represent a ‘black and white’ law, but I never want to lose my compassion or passion for helping and serving a complex humanity.”

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