Alynna Summit

November 13, 2019 

The sheer joy of discovery motivates Alynna Summit ’19, ’21M, although the UNCW graduate student in psychology also recognized early on that education was her ticket to opportunity. 

“Coming from a family with a single mom who could barely make ends meet, it was stressed that I had to continue my education to make a better life for myself,” she said. “I worked very hard in high school, met with my guidance counselor every week to help me apply to colleges since my mom didn’t know how to, and was able to obtain the scholarships needed to pay for college. In a sense, learning has always been a necessity for me to reach my long-term goals.” 

“Now that I am in graduate school, I look at learning differently. It is still a necessity for reaching my goals, but now it is not about achieving something, but about genuinely enjoying what you are being taught and wanting to learn more about what you are interested in.” 

Summit’s enthusiasm was rewarded with a Love of Learning Award from the honor society Phi Kappa Phi. The award, which comes with $500, is one of numerous honors and scholarships Summit has earned since she entered UNCW as a freshman. 

“Her passion for education is evident in everything she does,” said psychology professor Nora Noel, who has been a mentor and research advisor to Summit. “It has been a rewarding three years working with her, and I am very pleased she has decided to continue at UNCW to earn her master's degree.” 

Summit said studying psychology has taught her that there will always be more to uncover about any subject. 

That realization “has humbled me in the way that I think and has re-sparked my love of learning,” she said. “I truly believe if you accept that you don’t know much of anything, it opens up your mind to learn more about everything.” 

-- Tricia Vance