By: Leesa Prescod
During her time at UMass Dartmouth, Abigail Reid 18’ showed that dedication and perseverance will get you through anything, even a serious illness. She didn’t let health complications stop her from completing her double major in psychology and math, as well as starting a career as a technical analyst immediately after graduation.
“I feel really excited and confident because I feel like all the tools and skills that I’ve learned are exactly what I’m going to be using in my new job as a technical analyst for a Department of Defense contracted company,” Reid said.
Facing health challenges
Reid faced some unexpected challenges when she was diagnosed with epilepsy during her first year of college. She wasn’t able to drive, which as a commuter was another difficult obstacle. The doctors had to keep increasing her medication dosages and adding other medications to counteract side effects. Suffering from side effects and not making progress with controlling her seizures, Reid had to make the difficult decision to take a medical leave in order to figure out her health.
Upon returning, Reid felt like she couldn’t complete her math major. But with the support of mathematician and UMassD professor, Sigal Gottlieb, Reid was able to build back the confidence she needed to continue her studies.
“Struggling with epilepsy helped me develop a greater work ethic and more importantly a greater appreciation for my studies,” Reid said. “I know how hard it was to finish my degree, but I also know it turned out for the better.”
Combining math and psychology
Reid has always been passionate about math. For her, it is a universal language and a great skill to possess, so she knew she would study math. But it was her journey with epilepsy that first ignited Reid’s interest in psychology.
“The testing that they did on me was really interesting, and I thought it was something I could see myself doing in the future,” she said. “All the talk about my psychological and neurological processes really sparked my interest in psychology.”
Adding psychology to her studies helped her gain a better understanding of people, and it also helped her secure her first job as a technical analyst. “My employer was so excited I had a psychology degree,” Reid said. “Knowing things about people, the mind, and how people work and communicate is an insight that employers really appreciate.”