By Jessie Kalish
Naquan Ross describes himself as a people person — not surprising, considering that he is a tour guide supervisor, a member of the Marriage and Family Studies Laboratory, the founder of a volunteering organization and a resident assistant.
Ross, a senior and psychology major from Brooklyn, said that when first touring Binghamton's campus he knew he wanted to attend the University because of this connection he has with people, namely the friendliness of his guide. "I really enjoyed the tour guide. She made me feel like I fit with her. ... I felt comfortable."
In the spring semester of his sophomore year, Ross would become a tour guide himself. "I had so much fun doing tours," he said. "Even if it was intense days like open house I loved it." In Ross' junior year, he became a tour guide supervisor, meaning he hires new applicants.
"I'm looking for someone who can handle a tour like I could," Ross said. "I'm always excited for those who apply. I like hiring people and interviewing people."
Ross found a way to merge his love for working with people with his psychology pursuits by studying intimate human relationships. He came to this realization after taking Introduction to Psychology. "I was just fascinated by learning about people. How do couples come together? I always think that's such a mystery. I think love is very hard to research."
"I also want to know how I can help people get with someone or deal with losing someone. ... Every single person goes through this process in which they have a yearning for love. I'm curious as to how I can help."
Ross became interested in the work of Psychology Professor Matthew Johnson and his Marriage and Family Studies Laboratory, in which he studies marital issues and family dysfunction. Ross officially became part of the lab in January 2013.
Under Johnson's recommendation, Ross enrolled in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program with Johnson as his mentor. The program's goal is to help minority students achieve a graduate degree and culminates in a professional presentation at the McNair Research Conference, an event attended by other scholars, doctors and professors.
Ross' presentation, titled "Let's Think About Sex," focused on questions dealing with sexuality, such as "Do adolescents' expectations match the reality of their first kiss?" "Does adult sexual satisfaction predict successful relationship outcomes?" and "Are all marriages consummated?"
Working in the Marriage and Family Studies Laboratory has helped Ross decide what he wants to accomplish after graduation.
"My drive is that I want to be a relationship therapist," he said. "Psychology is the biggest branch that deals with human interactions and I definitely want to be a part of it because I truly enjoy talking with people and helping people."
Even as an undergraduate student, Ross has already found a way to help others by forming the Mountaineers, a residential-based organization that assists with events on campus.
"When we first put it out I wasn't expecting the numbers we got. We got a total of 50 members within two weeks," he said. "We started helping different organizations. We helped out with Frost Fest; we helped out Spring Fling. A lot of the major events that you see on campus we helped out with. We expanded Mountaineers so much we started working with groups off campus. ... It was a lot to handle."
Although Ross acknowledged that he has taken on many projects over the course of his Binghamton career, he said these experiences have helped him learn how to manage his time.
"I realized I had to let certain things go and realize what I can and cannot do," he said.
In fact, Ross initially expressed reluctance at becoming a resident assistant when his peers suggested the idea to him his freshman year. "Nine people are looking me in the face," he said, "saying you need to apply to be an RA, you'd be great."
"I came to realize that if these nine people, who are doing this job really well, think that I can do their job with them, who am I to say that I can't?"
Ross encouraged students to connect with others to get the most out of their stay at Harpur College.
"Be social. Meet people," he said. "I remember freshman year walking into someone's room, and next thing, I'm friends with them. Get involved. I'm so big on that."
Last Updated: 12/18/13