Tiffany Abeyta Awarded MANA del Norte Scholarship
New Mexico Highlands University outstanding psychology senior Tiffany Abeyta was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from MANA del Norte, and will be honored at the nonprofit’s annual banquet Oct. 8.
MANA stands for Mexican-American Women’s National Association, a nonprofit that has worked since 1974 to empower Latinas through education, community service, leadership development, and advocacy.
The MANA del Norte chapter formed in Santa Fe in 1989.
Abeyta, 21, is a Mora, N.M. native who has earned dean’s list honors at Highlands and has been awarded other scholarships for academic excellence.
The psychology major is getting a head start on graduate school through graduate-level psychology courses she is taking through the university’s Advanced Standing Program. She’s also minoring in biology.
Abeyta’s goal is to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
“I’m particularly interested in the study of the relationship between memory and drug dependence,” Abeyta said. “My ultimate goal is to work as both a clinician and researcher in the communities of rural New Mexico.”
Abeyta’s senior research project is a neuroscience study that focuses on how state-of-mind affects performance on cognitive tasks like puzzles and vocabulary memory tests.
“I’ll use both written surveys and galvanic skin response tests with my subjects for my study,” Abeyta said.
Abeyta’s mother is Jolene Abeyta of Mora. Her father, Mark Abeyta, died when Tiffany was 11. His death influenced her decision to study psychology.
“The losses I’ve experienced in my life have given me the ability to empathize with people who have suffered similar losses,” Abeyta said. “I’m passionate about psychology because it’s not just a career goal, it’s a way to help people.”
Abeyta said that throughout her years at Highlands, she’s received strong support from the psychology and biology faculty.
“The most important thing these psychology and biology professors offer is that they believe in me, and give constant encouragement, mentoring and expert advise,” Abeyta said. “They want me to succeed.”
Jean Hill, psychology faculty member and director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at Highlands, is Abeyta’s adviser. Cognitive psychology professor Maura Pilotti is her research mentor.
With guidance from biology professors Mary Shaw and Carol Linder, Abeyta used her biology knowledge to work as a supplemental instruction leader for biology students through the university’s Achieving in Research, Math and Science program, ARMAS.
Outside the classroom, Abeyta is an active member of the university’s chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology. She also volunteers locally for the American Red Cross.