Portrait of Alexis Tennessee

Getting to know psychology honors student Alexis Tennessee

Alexis is graduating Wayne State University this December with a bachelor of arts degree, major in psychology honors. As a McNair Scholar, Alexis has been preparing to apply to Ph.D.-route programs in Clinical Psychology. She worked in the Child and Family Lab, where she researched the use of mental health services among urban adolescents.

This work leads to a presentation in Baltimore and she’ll present again on November 10 at the UROP Conference. Alexis is currently working on a project called ‘LifeTown 2.0’ through a company called PsychAssets that provides a simulated learning environment for students with disabilities. She also works as a student assistant in the College of Education, has been a PASS mentor for the past year and was part of the Department of Psychology’s MUSE (Mentoring Undergraduate Students for Excellence) program. Alexis is a wonderful example of a hard-working student who seeks out opportunities and doesn’t back away from a challenge. She offers this advice to other students: 

“Try your best to be organized in your academic life. The better organized you are the more productive you can be. Also, Take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You can’t pour into others if you have nothing to give. And last but not least, do whatever makes you nervous (as long as it’s safe); that experience will help you grow and may even turn into an opportunity you never imagined.”

Campus involvement/student organizations

McNair Scholars student representative, PASS (Psychology Academic Support Services) Mentor, MUSE mentee, Golden Key, Student Assistant in College of Education.


  • Dr. Doug Barnett and Dr. Marilyn Franklin, Child and Family Lab – studying the use of mental health services among urban youth
  • PsychAssets, LifeTown 2.0 – providing simulated learning environments for students with disabilities

Plans after graduation

Alexis is looking forward to a gap year or two, before applying to graduate programs in clinical psychology. Initially, her plan was to apply for the fall 2018 admission. After a long talk with her advisor and some careful consideration, she recognized the value of taking a little time away from school for self-care. After graduation, she intends to live a little, work, gain some more research experience and relax before she applies for grad school. 

Hobbies/additional activities

Watching psychological thrillers, obsessive Googling of random topics and learning how to cook vegan dishes.

Favorite part about the Department of Psychology

“What I love about the psychology department is how willing everyone is to help. Through the psychology faculty and staff, I have been able to accomplish a great deal. When there are opportunities available, my advisor and faculty mentors would always encourage my participation. I was offered a job position based on the volunteering I did while under the direction of Dr. Douglas Barnett.

This past summer, with the help of Dr. Marilyn Franklin, I was able to tackle my honors thesis, McNair research project and maintain my sanity. In addition, the grad students are always willing to lend a helping hand because they know what it is like to be an undergrad student. They remember the confusion and uncertainty that comes with the undergraduate experience."