Senior Spotlight: Kelsey Lorko, The Stigma Slayer

Cleveland native Kelsey Lorko, ‘17, has big plans after Wittenberg. As a psychology major and Spanish minor, Lorko dreams of becoming a clinical psychologist working with all kinds of people. She hopes that the Spanish minor will make a difference in being able to advertise her accessibility for immigrants and other demographics.

Currently, the next step in achieving her dream is graduate school in the hopes of obtaining her Ph.D., which is proving to be a very stressful and demanding process.

“I’ve been researching, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology is the hardest graduate school program in comparison to law school and medical school, which makes it a little intimidating,” Lorko said.

And while the standard number of schools to apply to lies between 15 and 20, she focused on applying to 10 schools, mainly in Ohio, to stay close to her boyfriend. After weeks of waiting, Lorko finally received good news for a follow-up interview at Wright State University this past Monday.

“I was losing hope, but now I’m very excited,” Lorko said.

For the rest of her time remaining at Wittenberg, the senior will continue her work as a mental health initiative coordinator with the Hagen Center. Her main goal throughout her remaining time with the Hagen Center is to establish programs and campaigns that deal with mental health and help bring awareness to the campus community.

One project that has made strides on campus is her blog “The Stigma Slayer,” found at thestigmaslayer.weebly.com. Lorko started this blog through a project during her summer internship with the Hagen Center, but has transformed it into a personal healing process to overcome and vent about personal experiences, and as an avenue to share others’ stories and spread further awareness. Her cousin’s suicide was one of the first events to prompt the creation of her blog. Lorko wanted to spread awareness of mental health issues like that of her cousin and his bipolar disorder. Others stories shared by friends and students on campus led to more posting and eventually a speech at the Spark conference during Greek Week.

“It started as a way for me to stay up-to-date on certain issues and share other people’s stories and stigmas. It’s a way to bring it out in the open,” Lorko said.

Reflecting on all the scholastic opportunities that Wittenberg has given her, Lorko shares that her biggest takeaway from Wittenberg is the environment.

“It has given me the environment to shape my passions, in a more intimate and safer environment,” Lorko said. “Like the Hagen Center spurred on the Stigma Slayer and created this small following; it’s really about the people. We all support each other here. I wouldn’t have anyone who even cared about the blog if there weren’t for the special people on campus.”

As the rest of spring semester comes to a close, the senior says that she will miss Wittenberg’s atmosphere the most.

“It’s not like any other school; we all say it. It’s so special,” Lorko said. “The good thing is, I can always come back and I don’t think it will ever change. It will always be the same Wittenberg.”

 

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