Portrait of Cierra Marshall

Cierra Marshall

Psychology / Landover, MD


What made you decide to enroll at the University of Maryland?
I decided to enroll at the University of Maryland because, not only is it a top research institution, but it is a place that fosters community, diversity, and engagement. Before applying to the university, I spent three summers during middle school in a computer science program here, led by the Iribe Initiative for Inclusion and Diversity in Computing. That small program allowed me to explore computer science and meet new people. This experience led me to understand that UMD focuses on more than education. All in all, my decision to enroll was largely in part to the amazing education UMD has to offer, as well as the community feel and advocacy for inclusion it offers.

What major/career path do you plan on pursuing and how did you select that path?
I plan to major in psychology to pursue a career in psychiatry. What led me toward selecting this career path were my mental health struggles. Once I had finally decided to reach out and seek the proper help and guidance, I found it rather difficult to find a mental health professional that looked like me. I realized that many others feel this same way. I knew that there was a racial barrier in the psychology field. Two percent of American psychiatrists are Black Americans, and only one in three Black Americans in need of mental health treatment receive it. I understood and saw firsthand that Black Americans are underserved and underrepresented in the mental health industry. I realized that just one more Black female mental health professional would have made a difference in many lives. I realized that I could be that difference, solidifying my intention to become the change I seek and pursue psychology.

Activities I do outside of class or community service/volunteer activities I'm involved with:
Outside of the classroom, I love to volunteer and help younger children. My first experience volunteering was being a teacher assistant for incoming first-year high school students as a part of the Summer Bridge program. This program allowed them to meet their peers and get acquainted with the high school environment before starting the school year. I got to interact with them, guide them during class, and share my experience as a freshman with them. My next volunteer experience was right here at the University of Maryland. I was in a similar position as an assistant to the camp leaders at the CompSciConnect summer program. Being an alum of this program myself, it was great getting to help younger kids learn some of the same material I learned and re-create the fun projects that are taught.