Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
A Family Legacy
With a grandfather, both parents, three uncles, a first cousin once-removed, a first cousin twice-removed and a younger brother in the Davidson family-a number of them with "Dr." before their names- no wonder Heather Smith '10 entered Davidson eyeing a medical career.
Her Own Path
Then she took an intro psychology class, followed by one with Ruth Ault, the Nancy and Erwin Maddrey Professor of Psychology. Soon, Smith was engrossed in upper-level child development, positive and negative reinforcement, how to classify psycho-social interactions and lever-pressing patterns in rats. "For some crazy reason, I ended up taking all psychology classes." She made it official with a psychology major.
Her Bridle Path
Smith was a founder of the Davidson College Equestrian Team, keeping her horse Glenda, a Dutch Warmblood, at a barn in nearby Mooresville. The friends she made traveling to team events, with eating-house mates on Patterson Court, and helping organize the Warner Hall eating house's signature Red and Black Ball-these are friends for life.
Practicum: Learning in Community
Smith was one of four students in a Davidson practicum with renowned visiting professor and practitioner of child behavioral psychology Joel Macht. "Dr. Macht is usually teaching graduate students, so for us to have 10 hours a week with him one-on-one was pretty incredible." Smith was so enthralled with her hands-on work with special education students at a local school that she continued it on her own time the next semester.
The New Normal
For her senior thesis, Smith studied face-processing in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. After graduation, she "wasn't ready to go right back into school-surprisingly or not surprisingly!" She opted for a summer of research with Professor of Psychology Kristi Multhaup, followed by a full-time job in a private practice in Charlotte. The more Smith learns in her chosen field, the more she realizes a fundamental truth: "There is no such thing as 'normal.'"