by Bonnie Butcher

There is no doubt that Grant Hacherl, senior in psychology, has done his part at the University of West Georgia. He presented research at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference and the Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference. He was awarded with the Outstanding Honors College Junior Award at Honors Convocation. But perhaps most importantly, he has pursued his passions for children and helping others and turned it into the start of a vocational journey.

Grant HacherlHe began his time at UWG with the goal of becoming a teacher. During his first two student teaching internships, he began to realize why he really wanted to work with students.

“I found myself wanting to spend more time helping the individual students who were struggling more than I wanted to teach the class as a whole,” he said. “Troubled students are left to the side too often, and I want to be part of the solution.”

This realization is what led Hacherl to the psychology department. Although he switched majors, he wanted to find a way to include both fields into his future.

“I have been accepted to Western Kentucky University to join their school psychology specialist-level program,” he said. “I am passionate about education, psychology and helping people who are struggling. School psychology provides the best intersection of those three.”

Last summer, Hacherl worked with children with exceptionalities. He quickly realized the special care they need and felt a calling to become a positive impact in their lives.

“Disabilities pose an obstacle, and I want to be one of the people who helps the obstacles not seem as daunting,” he said. “I want to help them succeed.”

Even though West Georgia does not have the specific graduate program Hacherl was looking for, he explained how the faculty and staff helped him get the courses and credits needed to make his goal attainable.

“The professors here are more invested in their students than any other undergraduate faculty I have seen,” he said.

Dr. Tugce Kurtis, professor in psychology, was one of Hacherl’s mentors here at West Georgia.

“Out of the hundreds of students I have taught at different university settings for the past 10 years, Grant is one of the brightest, most perceptive and promising students I have yet met,” she said. “He frequently asked important, timely and thought-provoking questions and challenged the rest of the class to consider issues from new perspectives.”

Graduating this summer, Hacherl described his ending at UWG as “bittersweet.”

“I hate to leave, but I am proud to be affiliated with UWG, he said. “I am incredibly thankful for my time here.”

Posted on May 18, 2017