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Student Spotlight: Viviane Johnson

By NKU Magazine Staff | Photography by Scott Beseler | Published Nov. 1, 2019
Viviane Johnson
HOMETOWN: Lich, Germany
MAJOR: Psychology
MINOR: Human Services & Addictions

Tell me about life pre-NKU. Where did you grow up?
Before NKU, I was at Gateway Community and Technical College. Due to being a transfer student and a military brat, my life was quite unique. I was born and raised in Germany. I lived there for most of my life becoming bilingual, traveling to different countries, but ultimately being immersed in a very culturally diverse world. I moved to the northern Kentucky area in 2013, where I completed high school at Ryle High School in Union, Kentucky, and then began my college journey at a local community college.

Tell me about your transfer experience. Why did you choose NKU? What kept you here?
With transferring to a 4-year university after completing two years at a community college, the process can become a little intimidating to start from scratch and establish new relationships—professionally and personally. I chose NKU because I knew this was my path since high school. The road to getting here wasn’t always easy and I had to make sacrifices. Ultimately, I wouldn’t change my path although it may not have been the traditional route. With almost a year under belt here at NKU, I know that I made the right decision to transfer to this university and advance my education.

Can you tell me a little about what you’re studying?
I’m currently studying Psychology with a minor in Human Services & Addictions. Psychology has two routes: research/statistical-based or analytical/theoretical-based. Coincidentally, I fell in love with both. With my degree, I plan to become a clinical mental health counselor. I also plan to continue my education to pursue not only a master’s degree in clinical counseling, but eventually a doctoral degree in Psychology to become an independently licensed Psychologist. Currently in my undergraduate education, I take many courses that discuss, for example, crisis intervention methods or treatment for clients with substance abuse issues. In addition to my studies, I also perform Supervised Research with a professor in our department. We are currently operating a study involved with assessing sexual health and well-being among older adults.

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about NKU?

What is the best thing about NKU?
The people you meet and the small class sizes.

What advice would you give a first-year student?
Never compare yourself to someone else’s success.

What has been your most challenging academic experience so far? Why?
My most challenging academic experience so far would be performing research on campus. In the next couple months to come, my faculty mentor and I have been working diligently on creating a manuscript to be submitted to an academic journal, so working on that has been one of the more challenging tasks I’ve done.

Where’s your favorite spot on campus? What makes that spot so special?
One of my favorite spots on campus is the new Health Innovation Center. I love walking through this building because the architecture is beautiful and it reminds me of what the future will look like.

Who’s your favorite professor (or staff member)? Why?
My favorite professor is Dr. Allyson Graf. She is my current faculty mentor, and I see her as my second Mom. We met last semester in October, but in our collaboration we have only grown stronger. She has guided me toward nothing but success.

Where’s the best place to study?
Without a doubt, the library! When I was a freshman, I used to sit in coffee shops trying to complete assignments or read my textbook, but I got nothing accomplished. Finding a quiet place in the library on campus where there are not a lot of students truly helps with productivity.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
My favorite way to spend my free time is by traveling. Even if it is 30 minutes away or hours, I enjoy visiting new and interesting places. Being a tourist is definitely a part of my DNA.

How do you stay focused?
One of the best ways to stay focused, for me, is to listen to music while doing homework.

What is your greatest passion?
To help those who are less fortunate than me. My entire life I have always wanted to help people... in any way, shape, or form. I interned at the Northern Kentucky Youth Development Center this semester and it truly opened my eyes to how incredibly lucky I am and sometimes, we get caught up in our own lives and overlook the bigger issues surrounding us every day.

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

Working. I am very eager to begin my career!

What kind of job would you like to have after you graduate?
I would love to work in a social service agency upon graduation and while employed, go back to NKU to earn my master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.

What does getting your degree mean to you?
It means that I can make a mark in this world. I am very grateful for even having an opportunity to go to college while others may not have that luxury.

What are a few things every NKU student should do here before he or she graduates?
Get involved! It could be academically or leisurely, but being involved in some way will make your time at NKU worthwhile.

Tell me anything else about yourself and/or NKU that you want folks to know.
One of the biggest influences in my life is my father. He taught me everything I know and more.