Student Spotlight: Anna Gjertsen’s Studies and Passions in Balance

By Isabella Sansanelli 
Elm Staff Writer

As a peer mentor, dance instructor and teaching assistant, this week’s student spotlight falls on Washington College senior Anna Gjertsen. She hails from East Windsor, NJ and will be graduating WC in the spring with a major in psychology and dual concentrations in behavioral neuroscience and clinical counseling.

Following her graduation, Gjertsen hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a Master’s program or possibly a PhD.

Gjertsen said she hopes to one day be a licensed clinical psychologist which she said was an area of study that “focuses in on assessment and populations like people who have had traumatic brain injuries” that has recently piqued her interest due to its ability to “marry that qualitative side of psychology and then the more hard science side of it that comes with neuroscience.”

Additionally, Gjertsen has added a dance minor into her mix, incorporating one of her lifelong passions that began at the age of five. Gjertsen thought she would have to abandon her passion for dance upon entry to WC, and only recently decided to pursue a dance minor her junior year.

Along with her avid participation in the dance department of WC, she has also begun to partake in many of the theater programs.

One of the ways in which Gjertsen has done this is by serving as assistant shop manager for Technical Director for the Gibson Center for the Arts Larry Stahl where she frequently finds herself amongst the electronics and new technologies of the theater department.

These are not the only ways that Gjertsen has made the most of her time during her four years at WC. Gjertsen has also done an internship at Eastern Shore Psychological Services where she assisted in administrative work, including learning how to use the program’s database and maintain client files. This valuable time gave her the insight into the real world application of the psychological principles she had been studying.

Gjertsen said she was fortunate enough to attend a “May-mester” trip with former assistant professor of English Dr. Philip Walsh to Greece the summer after her sophomore year. Not only was it the first time she had ever left the United States, but it was even the first time she had left the east coast. Gjertsen said that she enjoyed her first ever plane ride.

Gjertsen has made the most productive use of her time here at WC.

“No matter how much you do it’s always going to feel like you could’ve done something else or you wanted to do something else or you should’ve, and I think the best way to combat that, at any point in the process, is to just step back and realize you don’t have to place all of this weight on graduation,” she said. “It’s not an endpoint, it’s another beginning. And you really just have to do things you enjoy along the way because you’re always going to be somewhere in the middle.”

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