Psych News

Personal Struggles Fuel Mission for USF Summer Outstanding Graduate

[Aug. 5, 2020]

Erasing the stigma attached to mental health issues has been a hallmark of the college experience for USF’s Summer 2020 Outstanding Graduate. While coping with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, the psychology major participated in student organizations, became a peer mentor and leader, conducted rigorous research, and maintained a 3.89 overall grade-point average.

The USF Alumni Association selects one summer graduate who demonstrates exceptional leadership, school spirit, academic excellence, community involvement, and a love for the university. This summer’s honoree will be recognized during USF’s virtual commencement ceremonies at 9 a.m. Aug. 8 at The ceremonies will not be held in person due to restrictions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Emma Frank, BA Psychology Honors, USF Tampa campus

As a first-year student, Emma Frank was determined to become active in USF student organizations to ensure her personal growth outside the classroom. That required facing down fears associated with mental health issues she’d long battled. In joining the Herd of Thunder Marching Band and USF’s Basketball Pep Band, Frank helped build excitement around Bulls athletic events while finding personal support and acceptance. She began working to help other students coping with their own emotional challenges by speaking and writing openly about hers, and stepped up as a campus leader, serving on the executive board of the Student Alumni Association, among other positions. She joined Tau Beta Sigma, a band service sorority, and became a mentor through the Best Buddies USF Chapter, which matches students with individuals who have intellectual or developmental impairments. Throughout, she worked as a research assistant in USF’s Department of Psychology and held down multiple part-time jobs. Frank is graduating with a minor in astronomy and an overall 3.89 grade-point average.

About the USF Alumni Association

The USF Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization composed of former students and friends of the University of South Florida. Our mission is to provide meaningful ways for USF Bulls to support, protect and promote their university. There are more than 358,000 USF graduates worldwide. For more information, log on to, like our Facebook page at or follow us on Twitter @USFAlumniAssn.

Source: USF Alumni Association