"I don't take no for an answer"
Her six page curriculum vitae (CV) is impressive. A substantial list of professional presentations is followed by various research positions, awards and work experience with increasing scope and responsibilities. The research interests are clear, detailed and focused. Surprisingly this is not the CV of an established member of the faculty, but a picture of Annie Crossman, Create Your Own Story recipient and UNH graduating senior.
Annie will complete her degree with honors in May 2014 in Psychology and Women's Studies. She is complementing this work with minors in Queer Studies, as well as Deaf and Hard of Hearing Studies. She's been wrapping up her applications to various graduate schools and is looking to focus on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) involving LGBTQ+ individuals and the effects community factors can have on disclosure. "I realized that some of what I had experienced is what other people had experienced all over the world. I knew that I wanted to be a counselor … there are problems that I wanted to help solve," stated a smiling Crossman, her passion for her work clearly on display. "Being an ally of IPV survivors felt like my niche; I like research so much because we talk about people in need and what they need."
The beginning of the road wasn't easy for Annie. Annie grew up with personal support from her extended family, but a stark lack of financial means close to home. I called my Grandfather every day during my first two years at UNH. I was very close to him and he was always really proud of me," Annie conveyed with a woeful look. Sadly Annie lost her Grandfather in the summer of 2012. "My parents never married or lived together. My mom worked two or three jobs at a time and I didn't really see her a lot. We moved frequently and had just enough money for rent and for food, so sometimes we didn't turn on the heat. It was always really cold," recalling her adolescent years.
Describing her first year at UNH, "… at first it was hard, I had never been away from my home in Merrimack, NH, and I was working 30-35 hours a week at Pauly's Pockets. I discovered the people at SHARPP (Sexual Harassment & Rape Prevention Program) that spring while taking Gender, Power, and Privilege with Prof. Joelle Ruby Ryan, and that's when things started to get awesome!" Soon Annie's academic and experiential pace rapidly accelerated. She took a SHARPP class to become a victim advocate, declared a second major in Women's Studies, joined the lab of Prof. Katie Edwards in Psychology, and snagged work-study jobs in the Department of Women's Studies and at SHARPP. "I was getting deeper and deeper into what I wanted to do," stated Annie as she reflected with enthusiasm. "Women's Studies was like a broad umbrella which covered my many interests, and I was gaining great experience at SHARPP, in Prof. Edward's lab, and through an internship at a crisis center in Nashua."
Because of her financial status, Annie was eligible for TRIO-Student Support Services at UNH. TRIO programs are a legacy of the 1960's war on poverty, funded through the U.S. Department of Education to support low income students to succeed in college and move beyond poverty to fulfill their potential. Annie utilized TRIO services to prepare for the Graduate Record Exam, create a polished graduate application statement, and even get waivers to save her hundreds of dollars in application fees. "Working with Student Support Services was a great way to pave the road to graduate school," explained Annie.
Annie is quick to credit the many adult mentors at UNH who have guided her path and helped to mold her development as a young professional and emerging scholar. "Katie Edwards was the first mentor I had here," proclaimed Annie. "She really believed in my abilities, gave me great responsibilities, and has never stopped accelerating my career.” Joelle Ryan opened me up to everything. Mary Moynihan continues to inspire me in my future careers. Carol Conaway, who was always so enthusiastic about everything that I had to say, told me that I could get a Ph.D. and has inspired me to teach. “And Faina,” Annie paused, "Faina (Bukher) is like my big sister who has shared many skills with me and worked with me on so many things. She always made me feel like her equal." Annie paused again to reflect on her numerous mentors, "all of these people saw things in me and gave me confidence."
The best way to narrate the bright next steps for Annie Crossman in graduate school and beyond is from her own writing about her goals: Nothing has ever come to me so naturally as advocating for individuals who have been marginalized and victimized. Crisis counseling feels like an ideal combination of supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence and making a difference for them. I want to empower others during this acute time and help facilitate the healing process. I am ready to become that professional with the knowledge and the experience to make an impact in this field on a large scale.
2013 - 2014 CYOS Honorees: seated Zak Ahmad-Kahloon, Emily Dickman, Nyomi Guzman, Annie Crossman, standing Lauren McCandless, Kathryn Sattora, Timothy Marquis, Sid Nigam, Evan Beals, Peter Wilkinson