Paving the Way for Others

Jason Snyder felt at home at Rutgers–Camden from the start. They want to ensure that future students experience that same sense of community on campus

Even though Jason Snyder’s Rutgers University–Camden experience began as a transfer student, Snyder quickly found a welcoming and supportive environment on campus, where they have thrived by forming strong relationships with faculty and fellow students. Snyder, who is now a master’s degree student in psychology, credits the support they received as an undergraduate from mentors and advisors for their academic success.

 “The Rutgers community has been incredibly positive.” said Snyder, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers–Camden in 2021 in the B.A./M.A. accelerated program in psychology. “I have built personal and professional relationships that I hope to maintain for many years.”

The Cherry Hill, N.J., resident expects to complete their master’s degree in the spring, and is conducting research on bias against transgender individuals. Their thesis project explores variances in how people rate and evaluate emotional expressions when told that the person viewed by an interviewee is a cisgender man, transgender man, cisgender woman, or transgender woman.

Along with two fellow graduate psychology students, Snyder is conducting innovative research on the reactions of being misgendered from a transgender and nonbinary perspective to identify any correlations between misgendering and psychological distress. Snyder said prior research has not used gender identity as a factor in trials. The team plans to submit the results to journals for publication.

Snyder’s own experience with being misgendered inspired the research. Before transferring to Rutgers–Camden, Snyder attended a community college, where they didn’t feel accepted.

“Even after emailing professors before the first day of class letting them know that the name that was on the attendance sheet was not the name I went by, and telling them exactly what my pronouns were, I was misgendered often by professors,” Snyder said. “I spoke with a couple of professors after class to remind them of my correct name and pronouns, and the misgendering persisted. It was not until I legally changed my name and was nearly six months into medical transition that I was no longer misgendered on a regular basis.”

After Snyder arrived at Rutgers–Camden as a junior, the university’s inclusive climate allowed them to flourish. For Snyder, a member of Psi Chi (the international honor society in psychology), guidance from friends and faculty mentors provided the support and acceptance they needed to thrive academically. Specifically, the LGBTQ organizations connected Snyder with fellow community members and provided an avenue to develop friendships and a circle of support. “It was definitely a highlight of my time as an undergraduate student,” they added.

Snyder, who is also active in the campus Graduate Student Advisory Council, said their love of the opportunities enjoyed as a Rutgers–Camden undergraduate influenced them to work toward building the same experiences for graduate students. After graduating in May 2023, Snyder plans to pursue a career as a psychology instructor and eventually earn a Ph.D. in the discipline with a goal of teaching at the university level.

Creative Design: Beatris Santos
Photography: Ron Downes Jr.

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