Psychology Major Named 2022 HSS Valedictorian

Published: April 25, 2022 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 3 minutes

The Southern Utah University College of Humanities and Social Sciences is proud to announce Shayla Howe as the 2022 Valedictorian. Hailing from Manti, Utah, Howe will be graduating from SUU with a degree in psychology and a minor in human nutrition.

After receiving her associate degree from Snow College, Howe decided to pursue her bachelor’s degree at SUU. She wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to focus on with her career, but she knew she wanted to stay true to her mantra of helping others and cheering them on. Eventually, she landed on psychology.

“My dad is a clinical mental health counselor, and he helped inspire me with what I'm planning to do for my future education/career,” said Howe. “I genuinely loved my education at SUU and felt greatly impacted by each class and professor. I appreciate, admire, and learned a lot from every one of my psychology professors who expanded my understanding and gave me further insight on how to apply it. I was also enlightened by every class I took in nutrition. The courses and professors at SUU helped me discover that principles of psychology are evident in every aspect of life. They also helped me realize how important nutrition is to me and instilled a desire to seek how nutrition and psychology are interrelated.”

Howe also offers special acknowledgment to a professor who greatly influenced her educational experience, Matt Schmidt.

“One professor that I cannot thank enough is Matt Schmidt, whose care for student success was evident along with knowledge and skill and who truly helped me believe in myself and to accept that my best is always enough.”

Howe and her husband have a two-year-old daughter and are expecting a second daughter right after she graduates. Even as a nontraditional student, she felt like she had a place at SUU. Howe states that her studies have been especially influential on her parenting techniques.

“I had my first baby four months before transferring to SUU,” Howe said. “I feel I have found one of my life’s callings in becoming a mother. I am also passionate about prioritizing personal physical and mental health, especially through the lens of compassion toward self and others as well as nutrition. Becoming a parent cast a new light on my education and seemed to make everything even more applicable for me. I saw and continue to see opportunities throughout each day to remember and apply what I learned with both psychology and nutrition, especially with raising my daughter.”

Following graduation, Howe plans to spend some quality time at home with her children before returning to the educational field and getting her graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. To any current and prospective SUU students, Howe offers the following advice.

“If you want something, go for it. Try to focus on what you want rather than what you think others expect of you. On the other hand, if you don’t know what you want to do or study, that’s okay! Think about what you may be interested in. Use the opportunity of general education courses and electives to take different classes and topics, and you may be surprised with what you end up liking!”

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences has eight branches of emphasis for students to pursue their major in. The experience had by students within the college has led them to succeed on campus and beyond. Learn more about the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at SUU.

SUU’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, April 29 in the America First Event Center. Tickets are not required for the ceremony, but seating preference will be made for graduates and their families. The ceremony will also be streamed online by SUTV-9 and on SUU's social media channels. To watch Howe’s speech, tune into the HSS Convocation at 8 p.m.

Visit SUU’s graduation website for more information about the 2022 Commencement Ceremony.

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