Skip to main content

CHASS Student of the Month

Meet Brittany Copeland

Hometown: Montclair, NJ

Class: Senior

Majors:  Africana Studies; Psychology

Sample Courses:

  • Health Psychology
  • Psychology of Emotion
  • Psychology & the African-American Experience


  • Founder/President , Jump-In!, a non-profit providing free swim lessons to Wake County children, 2009-present
  • Study Abroad in Ghana, Summer 2010
  • Research Assistant to Dr. Amy Halberstadt (topic: family affect), 2011-12
  • Research Assistant to Dr. John Begeny (topic: early literacy), 2010-11
  • Access Africa Chairperson, CARE @ NC State (international humanitarian organization)
  • Peer Mentor
  • African-American Symposium Counselor


  • Erdahl Memorial Scholarship, 2011-12
  • Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Postgraduate Plans:
  • Ph.D in Psychology/Counseling

What have been your favorite courses?

My two African-American Literature courses with Dr. Denise Heinze and Dr. Mark Dudley.  All the readings I have done are books that interest me and I had never been exposed to before – I stay up late reading them.  Both professors also really helped to improve my writing style, taking the time to offer well-thought out comments on my papers.  My peers in these classes have also been very engaged; they want to be there and are active participants.

What has been your biggest challenge at NCSU?

Acclimating to the culture.  My first year, I went to a university in Texas and transferred here from busy, metropolitan Houston.  I had to make more of an effort to go out and meet others here, and adjust to a slower pace of life.

What individuals at NCSU have made a difference in your college experience?

Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy (Africana Studies; English) and Dr. Craig Brookins (Africana Studies; Psychology).  They both led my study abroad program.  They helped to broaden my mind and made me realize how much I didn’t know.  They are always available and feel like family.  Toni Thorpe in the African American Cultural Center has also assisted me with public speaking skills and has offered very constructive advice.

What advice would you give incoming students?

First, study abroad.  This opportunity is most affordable now, as a student.  Don’t wait to travel until after you graduate.  Plus, you are surrounded by a peer group whose members are all learning together.  Second, get involved with events on campus, although you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.