Bryan Long

In choosing psychology as his major, freshman Bryan Long has a simple explanation.

“I want to know why people do the things that they do,” he says.

Bryan was inspired to major in psychology at Dominican, in part because of his interest in environmental psychology and the opportunity to meet and be taught by Dr. Matthew Davis. The professor studies human understanding of and response to natural disasters, such as earthquakes.

So willing was Bryan to study at Dominican that he traveled all the way from Chicago.

 “I wanted to branch out from the Midwest,” Bryan says, “When I started my college search I was looking for a bigger school, like a Big Ten Conference school, but I thought I didn’t really fit in there. So I found schools in California that fit my comfort zone and in my research I came across Dominican.”

Though he visited other universities in California, Dominican offered Bryan the comfort of a small campus with small class sizes that allowed greater meaningful learning access to his professors.

I like how the nature is incorporated in the campus here, having come from the city. I’m able to look up now and see the stars.

That’s a plus as Bryan, as a freshman at Dominican, is enrolled in First-Year Experience “Big History,” a universal and trans-disciplinary narrative that examines the timeline of the universe. Dominican is the only higher education institution in the world that requires Big History of all its first-year students.

Bryan, who was once praised by a world history teacher in his high school at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago for his intellectual curiosity, loves Big History.

“It’s cool to me how we are small compared to everything else in the universe,” he says “It’s kind of humbling.”

Bryan is learning time management as he finds a balance between athletics and academics. He is on the Penguins’ NCAA Division II soccer team, having played the sport since he was four years old. He was team captain on his high school varsity team as a sophomore and, as a senior, led St. Ignatius to the Illinois state finals in soccer for the first time in school history.

“Soccer kind of became my life,” Bryan says. “It is definitely a huge part, but first and foremost I am here for academics.”

The ultimate goal at Dominican for Bryan is to earn his degree, enter into internships, and pursue his doctorate aimed at someday opening his own practice. This career path is different than that of his close relatives. His mother is a police detective. His grandfather is a retired member of the Illinois State Police Board. He has one uncle who independently finger-prints for professional background checks and another uncle who works for the Cook County Corrections Facility.

“Pretty much everybody in my family has something to do with law enforcement,” Bryan says.

Bryan, however, is comfortable with his own decisions. There are hundreds of miles separating him from his mother, his family and his two dogs, yet he embraces the opportunities and challenges Dominican presents.

“I’m a long ways from home. I’m trying to find who I am as a person,” he says. “I do think I’m adjusting well.”