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Krystal Perkins ’02

Providing a spark to study prejudice and marginalized communities.

For some, the senior-project experience ignites an undeniable passion for scientific study and the possibility of answering big questions. For Krystal Perkins ’02 (psychology) her senior project formed the basis for research interests that continue today.

Perkins arrived at Purchase curious about the human potential for good and bad and the cultural definitions of immorality, and planned on a career in clinical psychology.

She admits she wasn’t a great student at first, but that changed when she discovered social psychology in her junior year, in particular Gordon Allport’s book The Nature of Prejudice, a seminal work in the field. For her senior project, she developed an intervention designed to reduce prejudice.

Answering Burning Questions

“The senior project really impressed upon me that psychology was a way to answer my burning questions about the human experience,” she says. “It stirred a passion to ponder and create scholarship that serves some larger purpose.”

She remembers the point of no return, midway through her senior year. “There was no dispute. What I did at Purchase, I could not stop doing—I didn’t want to stop doing.”

Perkins earned her PhD at CUNY, then became an assistant professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia, studying marginalized groups and communities.

She returned to her roots, however, when she accepted a position as visiting assistant professor at Purchase in the fall 2015.