UMSS21 Student Profile: Cassidy McCusker

Cassidy McCusker’s UMaine Student Symposium 2021 project focuses on the role that diagnosis, hospitalization, and perceiver mental health experience have on the subjective hireability of a job applicant. She is examining how medication use, previous hospitalizations, mental health disorder diagnosis, and gender could change a candidate’s perceived hireability for a job. From this research, she is seeking to understand factors that are related to mental health stigma in the general public, specifically among young adults.

As a senior psychology student, McCusker has worked in both Rebecca Schwartz-Mette’s and Mollie Ruben’s labs on campus where she developed a passion for changing the stigma surrounding mental health. Through her work in on-campus labs, she was introduced to research involving psychopathology as well as social perceptions that are made of people’s personality traits and characteristics. She also works at Acadia Hospital as a psychiatric technician, which provides experience in caring for patients as well as the perception and stigma that accompany those seeking mental health care.

As a CUGR fellow, McCusker has been able to learn how to focus her passion on ending the stigma surrounding mental health into quantifiable and digestible research. She has developed the skills to highlight her findings and share them with people who may have no prior knowledge of the subject. The CUGR program and UMaine Student Symposium have given her a platform to present her findings with University faculty and students.