Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Elizabeth Campisi

campisiName: Elizabeth Campisi

Occupation: Registered Nurse, Emergency Psychiatry

Education (UR and additional): University of Rochester: BA Brain and Cognitive Sciences (2008), BS Nursing (2012), MS Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (anticipated 2015). St. John Fisher College: MS Mental Health Counseling (2010).

Current city/state/country of residence: Rochester, NY

Current Community activities: Enjoying my horses, pets and family!

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

It’s a top tier school, and the campus is gorgeous. It was also one of the few schools to offer a Brain and Cognitive Sciences major AND an open curriculum. The fantastic balance and breadth of academics coupled and extracurricular activities led me to apply early decision and I never looked back.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I learned leadership skills as the president of the Equestrian team, organizing and balancing the needs of 50 riders with the requirements of the College and the stable we rode at. As a performing member of the improv troupe, In Between the Lines, I learned how to think on my feet, be creative, and really listen to the people I’m collaborating with. And, as a Writing Fellow and Meridian, I got to meet people from all different background (and majors!) and find common ground: writing good papers and a mutual interest in the history and future of the U of R. 

What did you do immediately after graduation?  How did you decide to take this path?

Immediately after graduation, I began work as a psychiatric technician at the University of Rochester Medical Center; I found this job by accident while doing medical research as an undergrad. It was supposed to be a resume builder for a “gap year” before applying to graduate schools.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I am a registered nurse at the University of Rochester Medical Center in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP). I never meant to be a nurse, but after spending time there as a technician and then leaving after becoming a therapist, I realized I missed the hospital and wanted a role that would balance my interest in science with my innate drive toward human services.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

Understanding the diathesis-stress model and general neurocognitive functioning has been something I use daily in my work. BCS and psychiatry have a lot in common, and are both only just beginning to be scientifically understood, despite centuries of human consideration for how the mind works and what is happening when it doesn’t. Senior Seminar taught me how to critically evaluate published research which has been invaluable in my on-going education and daily practice.  

How you are still connected with the University?

I work full time for the University at the Medical Center as a Registered Nurse in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) and I am a graduate student at the School of Nursing studying to become a psychiatric nurse pracitioner.

What advice do you have for current students?

Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Take a class you never thought you’d be interested in, apply for a job that will expose you to something outside your major, spend time with a club you’ve never tried. The University has so much to offer and may help you find field of study, the hobby, or the friend you didn’t even realize was missing from your life. There’s a good chance one of these unexpected finds is going to end up being a crucial part of your life…