Senior Hillary Rich spent her unique summer wearing a bulletproof vest and going on home visits with the Monroe County Probation Office.
Rich, a psychology major from Phelps, N.Y., is no stranger to the underbelly of Monroe County. Before working at the probation office this summer, she interned with the Monroe Crime Analysis Center during the spring 2012 semester, using social media to monitor delinquency and focusing on, as she described it, “gang activity and prostitution.”
It was at MCAC where Rich got a taste of the more interesting side of crime in Rochester, N.Y. and its surrounding towns. She recalled one specific robbery report that featured a group of unarmed girls stealing “$300 worth of merchandise from a dollar store” and escaping by “biting the cashier.” If her recent internships sound grisly, Rich herself is anything but.
Skipping her junior year of high school, Rich graduated early and said she was drawn to Geneseo by its sense of community. “Everyone seemed to really like each other here,” she said, adding that “the feel of Main Street” immediately stuck out to her.
Rich’s first psychology class at Geneseo, PSYC 260: Abnormal Psychology with associate professor of psychology Jennifer Katz, affirmed her decision to study the subject as a major in college, but her interest in the field predated her college years.
“In sixth grade I read the self-help parenting book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, that is the basis for the movie Mean Girls,” Rich said, adding that the book inspired her interest in psychology and led her to believe that a job in the field “would be a cool career - that [psychology] was a cool topic to study.”
In addition to being a psychology major, Rich is a member of the Edgar Fellows Program and serves as the secretary of Students Eliminating Ableism through Advocacy. She is heavily involved with psychology research at Geneseo. She is the coding group leader for the conflict subgroup and works in adolescent recruitment for professor Ganie DeHart’s Sibling-Peer Research Group.
When she’s not delving deep into the darker side of psychology, Rich said she likes to relax with her housemates, watch television and cook meals. Her favorite dish to make is macaroni and cheese with caramelized onions.
“You can add caramelized onions to anything and make it taste better,” she said.
Senior Olivia Derella, one of Rich’s housemates, describes the dish as the “best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had in my life.”
Rich said she also enjoys playing a variety of board games, including Clue and Dogopoly, but said her favorite is Bananagrams.
In the coming semester, Rich is looking forward to cooking more meals with her housemates, continuing work on her capstone thesis, for which she is currently researching experiences after a breakup, and applying to doctorate programs in forensic psychology.
Whether it involves making mac ‘n’ cheese or finding small amounts of cocaine on a home visit with the probation office, Rich can’t help but bring something positive to the situation. Just ask the man who told her she had “beautiful eyes” right as he was arrested for an outstanding federal warrant.