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Parvinder Nijjar, Psychology, Alumni

Psychology graduate sets sights on law school and social change

Parvinder Nijjar | 2012 Alumna, B.S. Psychology Pre-Law, J.D. Student, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law | Department of Psychology College has always been as much about personal growth for students as it has been about education, with many able to easily recall that one unexpected experience that shaped the path for their future.

For Parvinder Nijjar, 22, that time came when she was enrolled in an IUPUI course dealing with women and the law. The recent B.S. graduate from the School of Science learned the realities of domestic abuse and human trafficking and knew she could best use her psychology degree by pairing it with a law degree.

“These experiences can affect people for the rest of their lives,” she said. “I want to use my psychology degree to help people move past tragedy and learn skills they need to help themselves.”

Her goals have changed considerably since she and her family migrated from India to the United States in 1997. Nijjar once saw her herself attending medical school to become a psychiatrist, but now she’s excited to be entering the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in the fall of 2012.Nijjar talks of one day supporting legislation, starting her own non-profit organization and dedicating herself to “helping people restart their lives for the better.”

“People have always been really interesting to me,” she said. “I want to know why people do what they do. I want to understand human behavior and use that to help people when they most need it.”

Beginning with the Summer Bridge program as a freshman, Nijjar said the professors at the School of Science have always been helpful and approachable as she worked toward earning her degree and planning her future. She felt part of the school community through her courses, while serving as a student worker in the Dean’s Office and participating in organizations such as Phi Alpha Delta.

“IUPUI is a really diverse campus and there are all kinds of cultures and ethnicities represented,” she said.

“I’ve gained a lot, whether it was from my professors or my peers,” she added. “I think much more differently than I did before I started school here. I’m passionate and focused on my goals, and I can identify the path I need to take to reach them.”