PLN Portfolio: Senior Year Edition

As my college career comes to a close, I begin to reflect on my time at Plymouth State as well as my time as an Interdisciplinary Studies student. Part of this reflection begins with my personal learning network (PLN). When I first embarked on my journey as an IDS student, I did not even know what a PLN was let alone how to create such a thing. With the help of many friends, professors, and amazing IDS staff I was able to receive the guidance and encouragement needed to create my PLN.

For my PLN this past semester, I originally attempted to create a LinkedIn account, however, I was really unsure of how to use this for my field and it did not prove effective nor something often used in my field. Therefore, I chose to step away from the usage of LinkedIn and focus more on Twitter as a platform for my PLN.

My career goals since the IDS introduction course have changed quite a bit from Occupational Therapy to Sport Psychology in Higher Education. With this change came a change in my PLN. I followed many athletic conferences and organizations across the United States and globe as well as some of the leaders in today’s field of sport psychology. I often used posts from these connections on Twitter to fuel my passion for my own ePort posts.

Below you will find many of my tweets this semester that I either felt very proud of or gained attention from other members in my PLN.

This specific tweet gained lots of attention within my PLN and I was very proud of myself as it showed all the effort I have made while on my IDS journey as paid off. This tweet was retweeted by a leading behavioral health expert and the Atlantic 10 Athletic Conference. This tweet was also liked by many people including the Fordham Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

Retweeting and bringing awareness to mental health issues both related to sport and not was something I focused heavily on while continuing to build my PLN this past semester.


I also enjoyed celebrating my successes because of the IDS department!


Plymouth State Athletics does a great job promoting different organizations and raising money for charity. I used my PLN to promote some of these events as well as encourage others to take the same steps forward in combating today’s large issues with sport.

Promoting my own ePort posts was another great way to get my ideas out to my PLN while also continuing to develop ideas and passion for my work.


As someone who wants to work in higher education, I found it very beneficial to follow and retweet what the pioneers and leaders in this field were exploring and talking about.

Looking at large mental health initiatives and promoting these events as a way to build my PLN allowed me to explore today’s up and coming ideas of how to combat issues such as addiction.

Ideas for Research and Project

5 Possible Article Topics

  1. I am working on the topic of concussions because I want to find out the impact on athletes in order to help my reader understand better treatment and rehabilitation.
    1. This is interesting as athletes often don’t think about side effects in the classroom and daily life. This topic targets the disciplines of neuroscience, psychology, and exercise science.
  2. I am working on the topic of daily exercise because I want to find out about the benefits in order to help my reader understand better mental health benefits.
    1. I am interested in seeing how daily exercise helps one’s mental health. This involves psychology, as well as exercise science, and sociology.
  3. I am working on the topic of higher education and exercise because I want to find out how college students benefit from exercise in order to help my reader understand better ways to help students.
    1. I think this is important as this population is often overlooked regarding health studies. This incorporates psychology, higher education, and exercise science.
  4. I am working on the topic of injury rehabilitation because I want to find out how it effects the brain in order to help my reader understand better the best course of treatment both mentally and physically.
    1. I think the connection between physical and mental injury is very interesting and important to my field. This involves the disciplines of exercise science, psychology, and athletic training.
  5. I am working on the topic of veterans care because I want to find out how PTSD and other mental illnesses effect veterans in order to help my reader understand better ways for caring and treating.
    1. I think veteran care is so important, but there is no real solution yet. This involves psychology, history, sociology, and exercise rehabilitation.


5 Possible Applied Project Ideas

  1. Post-Concussion Side Effects in Athletics
    1. I am interested in exploring this topic and how athletes are affected in their daily life from concussions. The idea of how the brain is affecting performance is often explored while classrooms effects are often forgotten.
  2. Exercise Amongst College Students
    1. I am interested in exploring how students get daily exercise as college students. I think it is important to promote health even during a busy time of life.
  3. Mental Illness Amongst Veterans
    1. I am interested in exploring the after care of veterans. Mental Illness is a major issue faced and am interested in being part of the solution.
  4. Healthy Habits Amongst College Students
    1. I am interested in studying the health habits of college students and how those affect daily life. I am also interested in seeing if unhealthy habits have the ability to change.
  5. Mental Health Amongst Athletes
    1. I am interested in studying the mental health of athletes and the rate of certain illnesses such as disordered eating and anxiety. With pressure of performance comes a lot of internal pressures and I am interested in studying this correlation.

My PLN Plan: Senior Year

My PLN Plan: Senior Year

Sport Psychology is an up and coming field of its own and the best way to connect with others in my field is through conferences, journals, and social media such as Twitter. There are many tools that are useful when learning more about sport psychology such as different magazines such as Psychology Today and studies that are constantly being shared with the world in a variety of journals. Other tools right here at Plymouth State is our library database which has a wealth of information. I feel as though LinkedIn would be a great way to connect with scholars and professors within my field. As part of my PLN I want to research more about how a LinkedIn works and what is the best way to connect with scholars. I think creating blog posts on my ePort is a great way to convey my ideas and thoughts regarding my field. This ePort can be used as a launchpad for discussion and hopefully increase my knowledge. While I am still young in my field I hope to learn from the experiences of others using my ePort. I want to encourage conversation amongst scholars and other young professionals, however, while I am still researching in my field I want to remain semi-private in my own thoughts. I am hoping that I will learn lots from others during this stage in my career and develop more comprehensive thoughts before being largely public. At least once a week I hope to be active on Twitter sharing ePort posts as well as other scholarly writings. I will be able to evaluate my PLN based on the discussions created from my posts as well as how many scholars, professors, and other young professionals I am able to engage with.


I Thought Dr. DeRosa was Lying When She Said Free Textbook

I’d like to start off by saying that I never expected to be in this course. I never expected to be an IDS major, I never expected to deviate from my plan. Since about first grade I have been the type of kid to plan every detail in my life. I always know exactly what the next step is, where I am going, and what I need to do. But, I can assure you that becoming an IDS student was never in first grade Kennedy’s plan and defiantly not college Kennedy’s plan, but I am so grateful I deviated away from my plan. I took a risk and it paid off in more ways than I could ever imagine. I learned that it is good to have a plan, but it is okay to stray away and live life more fully. The knowledge I am gaining is more full, comprehensive, and enriching than I could have ever hoped for and without taking this leap of faith I would have had no idea what I was missing out on.

When I signed up for this course I truly thought we were going to spend an entire semester creating our majors. Why I thought that would take 15 weeks, I don’t know, but that is what I thought. I figured this course would be boring for me since I already knew what courses I wanted to take and what my plan was (since I of course had to create an entirely new after jumping off my previous plan). Yet, again I was surprised and learned about a whole different way of thinking and educating students. I never expected to learn about all these different concepts and ideas that were so much larger than just a singular discipline or course. I learned about open textbooks, creative commons, what a PLN is, and so much more. I opened myself up to another dimension of engaged learning that can be innovative and exciting. Before taking this course I truly that the translation for interdisciplinarity was create your own major. As if you were to look it up in the dictionary that would be the definition given to the word. However, I learned that yes, it was creating your own program, but it was so much more. It is now a word I use to define learning that is breaking the barriers of disciplines and joining forces to solve real world problems. As time elapsed over the course, my thoughts changed and I quickly became fascinated with this idea of melting disciplines together to create a program that was specialized to the goals of the student.

As I went through this course there are three main concepts that I felt truly changed how I looked at my education and those are open textbooks, creative commons, and creating a PLN.


First, I had never even heard of an open textbook, so I thought Dr. DeRosa was lying when she said our textbook was free (thankfully she was not).This idea of creating an openly licensed textbook is genius. It allowed us as students of the IDS program to learn more about our peers, scholars in the field, what IDS is, and the purpose of an IDS education. The ability to take different articles that are openly licensed and compile them into one central location to share thoughts and ideas is innovative. This allows us as peers to learn from one another and get different perspectives on the same topic without paying hundreds of dollars. The next concept that I’d like to touch on is this idea of creative commons. Prior to this course I heard of the phrase, but really didn’t understand what it meant. However, it wasn’t long into the course that I learned there are different levels of creative commons and rule that apply to those licenses. I had heard of flickr before, but just knew it as a common place google images showed pictures from. Little did I know that not all pictures could not be used freely and that this also applied to our ePorts. I continued to learn throughout the semester how to post pictures from flickr and how to make my ePort posts free to the public.

CCBY: Jurgen Appelo

Lastly, we tackled the idea of a PLN. I was unfamiliar with this concept and quite frankly had no idea how to go about creating this PLN. But, with help from Dr. DeRosa and my fellow IDS peers, I quickly learned. I was new to twitter and thus extremely lost when it came to anything twitter related, but Dr. DeRosa simplified it by showing us Tweet Deck and other ways to target what we see on our feeds to make it beneficial to our education. I didn’t realize how much you can actually learn from Twitter and the research that by scholars that is often posted on social media. It was eye-opening to build my PLN throughout the semester and see all the different ideas I was learning about just by continuing to follow different scholars and organizations in the field.

Interdisciplinarity matters to our universities and our world in many ways. Interdisciplinarity allows students to build their own program in a way that will solve the world’s biggest issues. No problem in the world is one dimension so why is our education? Interdisciplinarity can draw students to those universities that offer those programs as well help retain students at the institutions. Interdisciplinarity pushes students to think outside of the box and outside of the traditional classroom. IDS creates innovators and motivators ready take on the world’s biggest challenges. In a world with constant change it is important to have thinkers who are striving to be the best every day and solve problems that didn’t occur 30 or even 5 years ago. We must prepare students to solve future problems when they might not even exist in today’s world.

CCBY: Josh Fields

As I move forward, I hope that I am able to inspire others who were like me, with a strict plan and saw no room for deviation. I hope that others consider an IDS education because the benefits are endless. My hopes are that IDS continues to grow at PSU and PSU encourages other departments on campus to use an open education like the one created here in the IDS department. I believe that this program will continue to benefit students for years to come and that more schools such adopt an open education model for students to feel pride and ownership in their own education. As for me, I hope that I can take this experience with me as I move onto graduate school and continue to learn and grow. I hope that I will be successful in the Occupational Therapy field and that I will be a leader in my field.

Exercise and Psychological Sciences PLN: At the Forefront of Research and Knowledge

A personal learning network, also known as a PLN, to me is a network of knowledge. It is a network you create as a rising professional to better your understanding within your field of study. Within my PLN, I have chosen to follow on Twitter different professionals within higher education as well as organizations, journals, and fellow classmates who will expand my understanding of exercise and psychological sciences. Within my PLN are different disciplines such as Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Sports Medicine, Higher Education, and Physical Therapy. I have chosen all these different fields to be included in my PLN since they all help me understand the human mind and body more fully. On Twitter I follow, retweet, and comment on a variety of professional pages such as Evidence in Motion, Robin DeRosa, Psychology Today, American Occupational Therapy Association, and the Korey Stringer Institute.

CC By: Xiaobin Liu

After a semester’s worth of work, of tweeting and reading and emerging myself within my PLN, I have compiled a file of my best tweets and most valuable information gained. These tweets were all hand selected as they gave me insight about the mind and body. Much of the mind comes from higher education and being able to think differently about the way we learn. I was able to follow some of the leaders in higher education as well as my classmates who show the same passion for education as I do. By following the link ( you are able to see all of the knowledge I was able to gain from this semester as well as organizations I can learn more from and hopefully use to help guide me in the future.

What I gained from my PLN was not just a twitter feed filled with articles, but a twitter feed filled with enriching literature that will help me have a more interdisciplinary view of my field. Being able to understand all aspects of the mind and body is extremely important to one’s rehabilitation and being able to see experts in all fields release their research and have the most up to date research is extremely beneficial. One of the most beneficial aspects of my PLN is having an insight on today’s biggest issues and how they are being dealt with such as the Flint Water Crisis and global warming. There is so much research being done on topics like these such as the effect climate change is having on both the mental and physical health of humans. As I built my PLN and continue to build my PLN, I am able to be at the forefront of this research to better understand my current and future studies.

Understanding Unity Between Mind and Body

As I began my Interdisciplinary Studies journey this semester I have explored many courses and expanded my knowledge with a comprehensive view. All courses in my contract were chosen to improve my future studies and work which was motivated by my involvement in the Center for Exceptional Families in Dearborn, MI. At the center, I was able to work with children of all ages, but for Sports Camp most campers fell between the ages of 10 and 16. Here I worked with the campers to improve their physical skills as well as social skills. To do so, I had to a lot of research about the different psychological factors that impact children in relation to exercise. Working with these children was an amazing experience and peaked my interest in Occupational Therapy as well as how rehabilitation and muscle strengthening can be fun and engaging for patients. This experience really drove my interest in the courses I have enrolled in this semester and the knowledge I have gained will help me assist other children in a fun and engaging way.

Working with a camper on proper throwing technique at Center for Exceptional Families, Dearborn, MI

My courses have focused on the core educational goal of my contract and that is to understand the connection between psychological aspects of a human and how it relates to the physical aspects. The two courses that have really helped me understand the relationship between mind and body are Exercise and Health Psychology as well as Adolescent Psychology.

Exercise and Health Psychology emphasizes the importance of exercising and how it effects the brain and one’s motivation.

Center for Exceptional Families, Dearborn, MI, Camp Counselor with campers who all had a variety of special needs

The idea that each person is motivated by a different factor or aspect of health is important when understanding how to help a person who may be trying to start exercising or overcoming injury. It is very interesting in this course to learn about the different models of motivation, self-esteem, and personality.

Adolescent Psychology focuses a lot on the different aspects of the adolescent period in life. In this class we dive deep into understanding the relationship between the physical changes in one’s body and how it changes a person’s mentality. There is a lot of pressure put on adolescents and this often will push them to make physical and mental changes.

Working with specific campers on frisbee throwing at Center for Exceptional Families, Dearborn, MI

Adolescents will change their interests and appearances just to fit in or give off a certain vibe. Adolescents will also deal with a lot of emotional changes and therefore will often make decision that are chaotic and not thought out. This course has helped me understand the idea that all physical changes impact a person mentally and vice versa.

From these courses, I hope to take with me a deeper understanding of the connection between the physical and mental aspects of the body. Understanding this unity will help me help future patients and clients as I work towards a career in Occupational Therapy.


Making Growth Together

CC BY: Trinita

Interdisciplinary studies is like a secret community within our crazy world in which we live in. What is so cool about this community is that there is so much to explore and learn about our world that we are solving collaboratively. In a recent edition of the European Journal of Social Theory, Dr. Arjomand wrote about how interdisciplinary studies is rising quickly and significantly helping with research in the field of social science. Dr. Arjomand talks about how there is so much research in specific areas of social sciences, but as scholars begin to collaborate we are learning so much more about our culture and society. Below, Dr. Arjomand talks about the significant contribution interdisciplinary studies is making to our understanding of development patterns around the world.


“The recent interdisciplinary studies I have surveyed offer a significant contribution to our theoretical understanding of developmental patterns distinctive of different world regions, and thus pave the way to redeeming the promise of comparative sociology, and thereby to undoing the erasure of the historical experience of a very sizeable portion of humankind from the foundations of social theory” (Arjomand 302).


This idea of paving the way for further research and understanding is one of the main draws for me in regards to interdisciplinary studies. Reading articles like this gets me excited to do research and learn as much as possible about issues we face in today’s world. Even early in my interdisciplinary career, professors have challenged me to think about issues from different aspects and with a critical world eye. I have been pushed to think about issues with less tunnel vision and with more than one dimension, but rather with as many dimensions as possible.

CC BY: Bre Pettis

Dr. Arjomand also touched upon the idea of comparing and contrasting larger ideas to come up with solutions and/or understand society better. “The enormous growth of interdisciplinary studies is in no small part due to their multifocal approach, which reveals different aspects of a single phenomenon and thus 302 European Journal of Social Theory 20(2) invites comparisons and contrasts” (Arjomand 302-303). Dr. Arjomand’s main point in this quote is to achieve growth by focusing on multiple aspects of the single topic being explored. One way to look at the issues from multiple views is to compare and contrast thoughts. We as a community can learn so much by comparing not only literature, but thoughts between colleagues. Growth will not happen alone, but rather an effort from all members of the community. If we can collaborate on our research and thoughts we can make some significant discoveries together.


Works Cited


Arjomand, Saïd Amir. “The Rise of Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities and the Challenge of Comparative Sociology.” European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 20, no. 2, May 2017, pp. 292-306. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/1368431016646112.

Melting Pot of Disciplines

Recently Plymouth State University has partnered with the Bank of New Hampshire to enhance the newly opened AllWell North Building. This partnership was not only between Plymouth State Administration and the Bank of New Hampshire, but also between Plymouth State Athletics and Plymouth State Academics and the Plymouth community.

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This partnership is a clear example of transdisciplinarity work within the community as a company from outside of Plymouth State is helping Plymouth State University. This partnership has increased quality in athletic facilities as well as funds for classrooms, conferences, and other events held in AllWell North. This building will also be used for community walks and other activities since the funds help provide for more staff to maintain the building. Knowledge from business personnel, athletics, as well as administrators were all essential in the building of this partnership and creating the plan for improvements in the buildings. This collaboration is a perfect example of multi-disciplinarity work being done not only for the institution, but for the community.

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Without the effort from all of these different groups the improvements would have been made with considerations to all different disciplines. Reaching across the disciplines allowed for funds to be used to benefit all areas of need from hosting conferences and commencement to collegiate athletic and community events. Receiving input from different people with different backgrounds allows for expansion for the good of all people and creation of a place that is a true melting pot of disciplines and/or interests.

Figuring Out the Brain: Psychology

As part of my contract, I have a strong emphasis in the psychology discipline. The content of psychology is the study the human mind and how it works. The study of how the brain works can be how the brain works when reacting to certain places, people etc. or how one develops over time, or what motivates a person. Psychology is an unique subject that requires an understanding of many concepts that are often hard to grasp, but are essential to understanding humans on the deepest level possible.


The methods used to study psychology are often different surveys, experiments, and observations. Psychology can be studied using a variety of methods and the research is often used to reexamine an old idea or concept to better understand the current issues in today’s society.

The epistemology of psychology is to understand why certain things happen in the brain and how a variety of variables connect to one another. Psychology aims at understanding what one cannot always physically see on the outside of one’s body. The main goal of psychology is to understand why people do the things they do and what type of things occur internally that have a connection to external factors.

The study of psychology first took off during the late 1800s with the opening of the first psychology lab in the world (located in Germany). Shortly after in 1883, the first American psychology lab opened its doors to students and researcher (History of Psychology 2001).

CCBY cappi thompson

At Plymouth State, psychology has long been a part of the university and offers may different types of psychology degrees including a B.A. or a B.S. in psychology. Classes in this discipline are fun here at PSU. Classes usually involve some type of self-directed research project which allows students to do some self-exploration and learn about what truly interests them. Most classes are held in Hyde Hall and are small classrooms filled with discussions about our own observations and experiences. In my psychology classes, we view the world with open arms in hopes to better understand all aspects of life. Learning is organized by building upon ideas that have already been discussed and then taking time to dive deeper into each area of discussion.

Psychology Today is probably one of the biggest Twitter leaders. They are connected to many other twitter platforms including the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and Psychology News.

CCBY Barb Watson

APA, one of the more widely known organizations, publishes several journals including American Psychologist and the American Journal of Psychology. Psychology is also one of those strange subjects where ideas and concepts may not necessarily go out of date, but rather change with time or vary slightly depending on advances in society like technology. For example, Erikson is still studied to this day even despite his view on women and their roles. His ideas may not all apply to today’s world, but his ideas of development and how each stage of life plays a role in identity can still be studied to this day and are considered some of the greatest studies ever done.


The History of Psychology. (2001). Retrieved October 30, 2017, from

Taking Ownership and Finding Meaning

Interdisciplinary Studies is an unique program here at Plymouth State University, and although many people may find the idea of creating your own program attractive, few have the ambition to venture into this world. This world of Interdisciplinary Studies is a world of deep thinkers, go-getters, problem solvers, and passionate scholars looking to expand their own knowledge to benefit others. The strong attraction to Interdisciplinary Studies for me was simply this, being able to create my own passionate program that allows me think deeper about issues, solve problems, all while working across the lines of different disciplines. With this program, I can take ownership of my future and find meaning to my academics. College is a crazy time in students’ lives and they often just get fixated on getting their degree and getting there as quick as possible. But Gregorian explains what the goals should be of college perfectly, “Instead of helping students learn and grow as individuals, find meaning in their lives, or understand their role in society, college has become a chaotic maze where students try to pick up something useful as they search for the exit: the degree needed to obtain decent employment” (Gregorian).

When creating my Interdisciplinary Studies program, I worked towards creating a program that was transdisciplinary and/or worked to build bridges and connections between a variety of disciplines. I wanted to create a course load that would best prepare me for my future and create the most comprehensive knowledge base possible. And to do this, I had to be willing to push myself across boundaries and work within multiple disciplines in order to create a bridge of knowledge. “We must reform higher education to reconstruct the unity and value of knowledge. While that may sound esoteric, especially to some outside the academy, it is really just shorthand for saying that the complexity of the world requires us to have a better understanding of the relationships and connections between all fields that intersect and overlap. . .” (Gregorian). Higher education must be willing to change how it views teaching and students must be willing to put in the work to prepare them for the best possible future. As Gregorian previously touched on the idea of the world’s problems being solved through connections and relationships between fields. We cannot begin to solve the world’s problems if we have one area of understanding, but if we work with others and each individual has a broad sense of knowledge we can accomplish much greater things.

My experience in Interdisciplinary Studies thus far has been nothing but positive. I feel in control of my future and am gaining knowledge that is practical and important for my future. I have surrounded myself in a community full of thinkers who want to solve the world’s problems, think about things differently, and speak intellectually about the need for knowledge expansion. “Many complex or practical problems can only be understood by pulling together insights and methodologies from a variety of disciplines. Those who forget this simple truth run the intellectual risk of tunnel vision and the social risk of irresponsible action” (Nissani).

CCBY Simon and His Camera

Pulling together insights not only happens in Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies, but also within projects and course work. I am able to take courses that help me understand the mind and body and break out of that tunnel, that is the traditional college program. I am able to participate in projects and classes that give me a sense of ownership as I am learning about all aspects of development whether it be a newborn child or an elderly adult. I am taking classes to gain knowledge about their physical as well as psychological development and how it is all related to one another.

In conclusion, I am passionate about Interdisciplinary Studies, because I feel as though my education is meaningful and goal-driven. I have taken the opportunity to take ownership of my own future and academics as well as found meaning in my school work. I no longer sit in classes counting down the minutes until I get to leave, but rather count down the minutes until I am about to go to class. I am excited and passionate and feel as though each class serves a specific purpose in accomplishing my goals.

Gregorian, V. (n.d.). Interdisciplinary Studies: A Connected Learning Approach.  Retrieved October 20, 2017, from of-knowledge/

Nissani, M. (1997). Three Cheers for Interdisciplinarity [Abstract]. Social Science Journal, 34(2), 201-216. Retrieved October 20, 2017, from