By Peter Starr
There are four roommates sitting in a Worcester State University dorm. Three of them walk into the living room, ready to go out for the night.
“Coming with us?” they’ll ask the fourth.
While the other three have fun in the city, the fourth roommate prepares to leave for the Sullivan Academic Center, where he’ll spend the next two hours or so pouring over Psychology textbooks, learning advanced methods of psychotherapy, and logging survey data into a computer on the see-through side of a one-way mirror- all in the effort to secure a career as a respected clinical psychologist. This dedication to diligence and comprehensive research might be off-putting to some, but Samuel O. Lapoint sees the benefit of working hard this early on. Mr. Lapoint is more than just ambitious; his research has already been accepted to be presented at psychology conventions on a national scale. The kicker? Mr. Lapoint is still just an undergraduate student.
Mr. Lapoint grew up in Warren, Massachusetts, and has always taken an interest in people. It’s easy to see people opening up to him; he’s one of those people who warm up to you immediately. “People confided in me a lot,” reveals Mr. Lapoint.
His high school friend and roommate, Tyler Chase, told me, “he’s a well-liked person, who always knew what to say to make people laugh.” Mr. Lapoint says he has always been intrigued by, “what makes people tick,” and that he takes a genuine interest in whatever is revealed to him. His empathetic attitude towards people is reflected even more so in his adulthood, which is evident when he discusses one of his favorite areas of conversation- politics. Hearing Mr. Lapoint make conversation about the affairs of government is comforting; he says he cares, “more about people than the corporation,” and about, “remember[ing] to bolster the public sector, as well as the private one.” Mr. Lapoint always reinforces his arguments, however. “He is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject,” claims Tyler Chase. “He watches political news almost every day.”
It is this instinctual obligation to research that fuels his work. Samuel Lapoint is easily one of the hardest working people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. “Sam is dedicated to the study of psychology and wishes to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology,” states Dr. Soysa, adding that he, “has been extremely productive as an undergraduate researcher at Worcester State University.” Mr. Lapoint’s work does not end at the borders of WSU, however. “Sam and I added a collaborative piece to this work, where we introduced a new online research tool to the university, and conducted a multi-site project at WSU, Assumption College, Providence College, and UMASS Lowell,” Dr. Soysa said. “It is a pleasure to work with him.”
Mr. Lapoint spends a large portion of his time with his research, and as such the quality of his work is hard to match. This focus helps drive him to aim to be a, “revolutionary clinical psychologist” after he graduates. If he keeps up this quality of work consistently, then there is little to stop him from achieving his goal. He still has plenty of time, after all; one of the most impressive aspects of Mr. Lapoint is the fact that his research is being accepted into all these various psychological presentations, and yet he is still just an undergraduate student!
Mr. Lapoint will be presenting the data he and his team collected from over 500 individuals regarding the transition into college and how an individual’s own actions can have a meaningful impact on their own life. First, he will present to the Eastern Psychological Association in a conference room overlooking Times Square in New York City, followed by a presentation to the Association of Psychological Studies down in Washington D.C. While there are multiple undergraduate students in his class going to these conferences, what separates Mr. Lapoint from the rest of the pack is the fact that he is presenting to what Dr. Soysa calls the, “biggest professional organization in the field,” also known as the American Psychological Association. Ever written a paper in APA format? Well, that’s who Sam is presenting his research to, and he gets to go all the way down to picture-perfect Honolulu, Hawaii to do so. “Undergraduate presentations at these national conventions are rare,” declares Dr. Soysa; which must be true, since Mr. Lapoint is the very first undergraduate student in the history of Worcester State University to go to the APA Conference. And to think that it took him until his sophomore year of college to decide that he even wanted to declare a major in Psychology! He’s a natural born psychologist.
Samuel O. Lapoint is dedicated to the path he has set himself on. It takes some people decades to make something of themselves. Mr. Lapoint has done so in only 22 years. Some people live their whole lives without ever truly achieving anything. Mr. Lapoint is already a pioneer in the local record books. He has, “maximized his educational opportunities at Worcester State University,” affirms Dr. Soysa. From here on, the sky truly is the limit for Mr. Lapoint. The world of psychology had better prepare itself; Samuel O. Lapoint is just gearing up- not just to make ripples in the field, but to leave a full-blown wake in his path.