In her time at UM-Dearborn, Monica De Roche has emerged as a powerful advocate for both nontraditional students and those from under-resourced communities.
Indeed, her own story serves as a powerful example; De Roche is herself a nontraditional student and the first in her family to attend college. And when she graduates in April, she’ll be doing it with a double major in political science and psychology—and doing so with honors.
“Her story is one of hope and one of inspiration,” said her adviser and mentor, Assistant Professor Emily Matthews Luxon. “She has pursued this path and shown that with grit and determination, it is possible to succeed."
De Roche, whom Luxon calls not just an exceptional student but a “scholar,” has made such issues the focus of her academic work.
For example, throughout her undergraduate career, De Roche conducted research on the role of college food pantries in addressing food insecurity. She has presented findings from this work at several conferences in the hopes of reducing stigmatization and generating greater awareness of the needs of nontraditional students and those from other marginalized groups.
And she’s developed a keen interest in topics at the nexus of her two academic disciplines, including how psychological attitudes influence public policy. “My education at UM-Dearborn has convinced me that integrating psychology and politics is essential to a better understanding of how social biases and political identities are constructed and perpetuated,” she said.
That’s something De Roche said she’ll continue to focus on as she tackles the next frontier in her educational journey, which includes graduate studies at one of several prestigious Ph.D. programs she’s been accepted into.