Erskine College senior psychology major Brittany Nuce received the Ruth Kelly Scholarship Dec. 5 at the 57th annual Mental Health America-Abbeville County (MHAAC) banquet. Given in memory of a leader in mental health work in Abbeville, the scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding Erskine student majoring in a field leading to a career in mental health service.
The award was presented by Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Briana Van Scoy, who praised Nuce’s hard work and dedication. This year’s recipient offers an example of how a liberal arts education can energize a college student’s search for a calling in life. In addition to her major in psychology, Nuce is completing a minor in art. She notes that although she does not feel she is an especially gifted artist, she values what she has learned in her minor field and sees great potential for using that knowledge as she moves into her career.
Her on-campus jobs include serving as an assistant to Van Scoy in the psychology department and working as a studio assistant to Assistant Professor of Art Kerri Boyd in the art department.
Reflecting on her college life and the professors who have influenced her, Nuce cites several Erskine mentors, including three in the psychology department. “The psychology department as a whole has helped me grow significantly throughout my Erskine experience,” Nuce says.
“Dr. Van Scoy is both my advisor and professor. She teaches with humor and enthusiasm and offers support and guidance outside the classroom,” she says.
Professor of Psychology Dr. Robert Elsner “teaches in a way that leads his students to consider real-life applications of classroom experiences,” Nuce says, adding, “He is extremely knowledgeable and is always willing to share his knowledge with students.”
Professor of Sociology Dr. Stephen Sniteman “has high expectations that pushed me to succeed not just in his classes, but also in life,” she says. “He is also incredibly wise and has a very kind heart.”
Outside the psychology department, Assistant Professor of Art Kerri Boyd “has been a wonderful professor, mentor, and friend,” Nuce says.
When Nuce first came to Erskine, she was not sure exactly what her major would be, but then she took Van Scoy’s introductory psychology class in the spring of her freshman year. “I fell in love,” she says.
“Because Dr. Van Scoy presented her information in such an exciting and informative way, I took a strong interest in the subject matter,” Nuce explains. “Since then, I have taken several of her classes, and I am happy to have chosen a major that fits me so well.”
As committed as she is to her major in psychology, Nuce says she is “thankful that Erskine is a liberal arts school that provides a well-rounded education so that I could experience many classes before I chose a major.”
One of the Kelly Scholarship recipient’s most outstanding characteristics is her strong work ethic. In addition to focusing on her studies, she has kept busy with her two work study jobs on campus, and considers this a great blessing. But her most rewarding job is off campus and is the result of a summer internship at the Burton Center. Established in 1971 to provide assistance to people with disabilities and special needs as well as to their families, the organization now offers services in six counties of South Carolina.
Nuce’s internship at the Burton Center was a turning point for her. “Having gotten a taste of serving the special needs community, I truly feel like I have now found my calling,” she says. “On the very first day of my internship at the Burton Center, I felt at home, and now, every day that I get to be there is a great day.”
She has experienced quite a few great days because, after completing the Burton internship, the hardworking senior took on yet another job—a part-time post at the Burton Center. “I never felt a strong pull for my future until I had the blessing of an internship at the Burton Center. Now that I have been employed there for seven months, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
As it turns out, Nuce doesn’t need to imagine being anywhere else, since she is set to begin working full-time at the Burton Center once she graduates in the spring. “The Burton Center is wonderful because I get the opportunity to apply my psychology degree, make new friendships, and serve my community.”