Rachel Stanley ’17 to present research on autism, carry it forward to studies at Marquette University

Rachel Stanley ’17 of West Allis, Wisconsin, will present her senior research on autism and stigma management Tuesday, April 25. The talk will begin at 4:15 p.m. in Bovay’s classroom in downtown Ripon. The event is free and open to the public.

Stanley says her work with autism will continue after graduation. The psychology major will be attending Marquette University in Milwaukee in the fall after receiving the Marquette Diversity Fellowship, which fully pays for four years of school, including a living stipend.

The University of Marquette Graduate School Diversity Fellowship is dedicated to bringing in students of all backgrounds, to bring a better understanding of others to campus. Through merit-based scholarships, the fellowship strives to bring in new perspectives to enrich the lives and learning of students and faculty alike.

Dr. Amy Vaughan Van Hecke, Marquette professor and executive board member of the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, says Stanley’s research with stigma is important. Stanley is glad she will be able to continue studying her passion, which will be supplemented with diversity studies. Her work with diversity at Ripon, through the Queer Straight Alliance and DREAM (a disability rights club that Stanley started) was impressive to Marquette officials.

To Stanley, diversity and working to understand others is essential to her discipline. “I don’t know how you’d do anything without a focus on diversity,” she says. “It affects everything, especially with psychology. Things like our cultural identity impact our thoughts and behaviors. You can’t understand people without understanding diversity.”

The data Stanley collected for her Ripon College senior project asked autistic people about their experiences and gave her data she will be able to analyze in new ways. She’s thankful for Ripon’s emphasis on conducting research and to Professor of Psychology Joe Hatcher, Assistant Professor of Sociology Marc Eaton and Assistant Professor of English Mary Unger for their assistance with her work.

Megan Sohr ’18
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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