Mariah Purol knew in high school she wanted a career in psychology. The more she studied it, the more she loved it.
Understanding the human mind and how it impacts behavior intrigued her. Realizing the practical applications of psychology was what got her hooked.
"Psychology is such a broad field. Someone with a degree in psych can do almost anything with it," she said. "My favorite part has been exploring all the different ways psychology can be applied."
Early in her academic career at CMU, Mariah found opportunities to explore the vastness of the psychology field through not only her coursework, but perhaps even more so through her professors.
The hands-on research fascinated her. Until coming to CMU, she always pictured it as people in white lab coats in some distant place conducting research.
Instead, she found it could be her, right here on the campus of CMU.
"Working in the lab has given me such important insight on why psychological research is so imperative. I always talk about how far away research seemed before I got involved with the lab at CMU," she said. "It was a fantastic way to learn that important research is happening right here, right now, and that I can be a part of it."
Her research work includes studying social behavior and the underlying factors of how psychology plays a role.
"Being able to contribute to a functioning lab was huge for me. It gave me a sense of what was really possible — that I, even as an undergrad, can help to make a positive impact on others' lives by doing something I love to do already," she said. "If you had told me as a freshman all of the amazing projects and important work I would be involved with during my time at CMU, I would've been too intimidated to try."
But she wasn't. She was driven.
She found CMU was a "steppingstone to the real world," a place that could provide her the opportunities to pursue her passion, the people to facilitate connections to the field and the resources to make an impact.