Andrea Haugen ('11) | Graduate Psychology

Andrea Haugen

B.S., Psychology, ACU, 2009 
M.S., Psychology, ACU, 2011
Hometown: Spring, Texas

Andrea Haugen (’11) was thrilled with research opportunities that came her way as a psychology student at ACU. But one offer topped all the rest: Andrea was asked by Dr. Richard Beck to co-author a chapter for the APA handbook on psychology and spirituality.

From research and authorship experiences, to accelerated graduation, to the camaraderie with the professors, ACU's psychology program has been the most rich and rewarding university experience I could imagine.

"It is very uncommon for students to get a chance to be a part of such a high-profile publication as this," she says. "Many undergraduate and graduate students are lucky to be able to publish articles and journals, let alone co-author a chapter in an APA book."

Taking a chance

Andrea was working as a graduate assistant when Dr. Beck, chair of the psychology department, offered her the opportunity to help write a chapter for the American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Psychology, Religion and Spirituality. Their chapter presents an overview of the Christian faith viewed through the lens of psychology. Other chapters in the handbook cover other world religions.

"Dr. Beck was contacted by the editors - leaders in the field of psychology of religion - to write the 'Christianity' chapter," says Andrea, who at the time was Beck's graduate assistant. "I have written and edited things for and with him before, and so he approached me as his assistant to help him edit. As time went on, he asked if I would like to take a greater role: researching, editing the entire chapter, and writing some sections of the chapter - for example, the section on the Holy Spirit. I jumped at the chance and was added as a co-author."

Rewarding experience

Besides the innate prestige involved, Andrea found the experience of researching, writing and editing personally rewarding. 

"After our first draft, the editors had plenty of positive comments as well as challenges to reorganize the chapter," she says. "Dr. Beck handed those comments to me and asked me to make sense of them and help him figure out how to implement them. It was a challenging but exciting piece to be involved with."

The most difficult part, Andrea admits, was condensing all the research into a few pages.

"Because we were limited on space, it was difficult to condense several sources into only a couple of pages," she says. "Also, as this was by far the most high-caliber document I'd ever been a part of producing, I was keenly aware of the standards of writing I needed to reach."

During her time at ACU, Andrea had assisted with several other research projects, starting her freshman year, on such topics as iPhone addiction, Facebook use among college students and terror management theory.

What the future holds

This summer Andrea began work as academic adviser in ACU's Honors College, and she hopes eventually to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology.

"I have loved all the opportunities I've been afforded by attending ACU. From research and authorship experiences, to accelerated graduation, to the camaraderie with the professors, ACU's psychology program has been the most rich and rewarding university experience I could imagine," she says.  

Yet for Andrea, ACU hasn’t simply been an opportunity for academic advancement. It's been a journey of the soul and a chance to grow spiritually as well as intellectually.

"I have learned, heard and been exposed to a theology, a faith and a God richer, fuller, broader and bigger than I could have ever imagined or that I feel I could have gotten anywhere else. Simply put, I'm not the same person I was on Aug. 28, 2006, when I attended my first class at ACU," she says.

"And I couldn't feel more thankful or blessed for that."

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