Singer/Dancer Gianya Breland ’14 Pursuing Path in Psychology

Gianya Breland '14 sings, dances and plays piano.

Q: Gianya, what is your class year and major?

A: I am class of 2014 and I am most likely majoring in psychology.

Q: What is your favorite class this semester?

A: My favorite class this semester is social psychology because of the professor, Scott Plous. And of course, as a psychology major, I love anything psych related. Professor Plous uses examples that we deal with in everyday life to help us understand different studies that were done in the ’50s and ’60s. One specific example that he used was advertisements in magazines to demonstrate a concept called “the Pygmalion effect,” which is similar to a placebo, in that in causes us to believe certain things based on given information, even if that information is false. He used an advertisement for a shampoo that was celebrity endorsed: The Pygmalion effect is working here because many people, even if in the back of their minds, believe that if they use this shampoo they will attain the status that this celebrity has, whether the celeb uses that product or not.

Q: During the summer, you worked as a teaching assistant at the Goddard School in Burlington, N.J. How did you find this opportunity?

A: I worked at the school as an unpaid intern during the spring of my senior year of high school, and this summer, they offered me a position as a teaching assistant. I had the opportunity to mingle with the children and teach them new things. The children were 3-5 years old.

Q: Would you like to work with children in the future? What are your post-Wesleyan plans?

A: I definitely want to work with children in the future, but that is not a guarantee. My post-Wesleyan plans as of now are to continue education and obtain a master’s and PhD. I hope to work as a clinical behavioral therapist, perhaps working with children in that field or in some sort of psychopathology department or research field.

Q: What do you like best about being a Wesleyan student?

A: I initially visited Wes on a college tour with a group of about 100 students and we toured Wes out of 16 other schools. Our tour guide was extremely friendly and outgoing and really seemed to love the school. Her love for Wes made me love it as well. I love that there is always something exciting happening on campus. There is never a dull moment, and I don’t feel like I’m struggling to find things to do. I’m always busy and having fun.

Gianya Breland is in a dance group called Xtacy: The Collective. She's been dancing since the age of 7. (Photos by Charlotte Christopher '12)

Q: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities or clubs at Wesleyan? Also, what are your hobbies?

A: I am involved in an a cappella group called Onomatopoeia, which is an all-female group. I also attend the Protestant chapel services; I sing and dance as well. My dance group is called Xtacy: The Collective. I’ve been dancing, formally since I was 7 and informally since the womb! I’ve always loved singing and creating music. In my spare time, which doesn’t really exist, I enjoy cooking, baking, eating and arranging music. I arrange songs all day, it’s kind of a problem. I also love writing short stories. I’m currently working on a dramatic story and I’m on page 46 (single spaced), so that is certainly an accomplishment for me.

Q: What’s your favorite saying?

A: “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” — by William James.