Outstanding Graduating Student: Neha Kannan


Each semester, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences recognizes some of their most outstanding graduating students. Honors College Spring 2024 graduate Neha Kannan was nominated by the Psychology department for her academic achievements and contributions.

Portrait photo of Neha

What was the most impactful class you took in your major? 

The introductory psychology course, PSYC 100, was the most impactful course I took in my major. Dr. Melley taught me the basics of psychology and helped me develop the foundation of knowledge that I would need for future psychology courses. She taught me that psychology is more than being a therapist and allowed me to explore the various fields that psychology was associated with. Dr. Melley also took me in as a Learning Assistant for her future PSYC 100 sections and helped me gain skills like leadership, giving constructive criticism, and time management. I also got to network with other graduate students and get a firsthand account of graduate school and its workload. This course helped me understand my major and future endeavors and gave me the skills to succeed.

What activities were you involved in during your time at Mason that impacted you? 

As an honors college student, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the Honors College Recruitment Team. I went to admissions events for Mason and helped answer questions potential students may have about the honors college. I also gave them what it is like to be an honors college student from a student's perspective. I improved my public speaking and networking skills by participating in this club. One particular memory I have was when I was assigned to go to lunch with a person who was considering going to Mason, and by the end of that lunch, they had put down their deposit for Mason. That was when I saw how my involvement in this club can influence people going to Mason. Not only did I develop valuable skills, but I got to be a part of a wonderful and caring community. Every person in the club was encouraging, helpful, and supportive and would help me if I ever struggled with something, like graduate school applications. That community made me, in return, more supportive and encouraging to my fellow peers at Mason and helped me grow as a person.

What is your most memorable “Mason moment?” 

My most memorable moment at Mason was when my friends and I had a study night for finals in the Johnson Center. This was the first semester of my freshman year, and I was petrified of finals season. My friends and I all planned to go up to the third floor of the Johnson Center and work on our final paper for history. We all got Panera, sat at a table, and helped each other through a stressful moment. I remember we often made jokes, sang songs, and told funny stories while working on the paper. I had never laughed so hard during a stressful period, but that study session dissipated all my worries about finals. I felt free and found myself able to enjoy the moment and not worry about classes all the time. It gave me the confidence that I can have both an academic and social life and not choose between one.

As you are reflecting on your time at Mason, what is one piece of advice you would give a student who is just starting off on their Mason journey?

Try everything that you want to try. Experiment with classes you have always wanted to take, clubs you have wanted to join, and activities you want to start. Have fun when you are starting out. I did an introductory music class where I learned about music theory, even though it was unrelated to my major. I took a wedding planning course because I thought it would be fun to plan a wedding. These classes made my Mason journey more memorable and fun, and I encourage students to take fun classes or join fun activities on campus whenever possible!

What is your next step after graduation? What are your future plans?

I will be staying here at Mason to pursue my PhD in Human Factors and Cognition, working under Dr. Eileen Roesler. With this degree, I plan to become a technology research scientist. I love research and would be happy to pursue any research career.