BreAnna Hanson B’24 knows how to keep herself busy. 

A mom to two active, rambunctious children and a proud wife to a dedicated Rochester Police Officer, she still manages to squeeze in time here and there for interests like gardening, CrossFit, traveling, water activities … and continuing her education.

When she decided to return to school and complete her degree, she explored several online program offerings and found that Saint Mary’s Applied Psychology program best suited her hectic schedule. 

“The admissions staff was terrific because I had no idea what I was doing,” Hanson shared. “The last time I set foot in a college-based setting was in 2004, and the processes have changed significantly.”

Before resuming her educational journey, Hanson had an extensive eighteen-year career in law enforcement. She is proud of her work, and her time in the profession has provided valuable experience and insights into the challenges and rewards of serving and protecting her community. 

Throughout her academic experience at Saint Mary’s, Hanson had the opportunity to learn from exceptional professors. She found two courses — Positive Psychology with Dr. Robin Wisniewski and Writing and Communication with Dr. Martha Kudak — particularly transformative, providing valuable insights that contributed significantly to her personal and professional growth. “From understanding the complexities of human relationships to applying psychological principles in decision-making, the program has profoundly impacted how I navigate everyday situations,” Hanson states.

After graduating this spring, she believes she came out of the program with a far more profound understanding of psychology and its real-world applications, enhancing the foundational knowledge previously established by her lengthy career. “The Applied Psychology program at Saint Mary’s University has shaped my understanding of human behavior and mental processes,” Hanson comments. “The comprehensive curriculum and hands-on experiences have equipped me with the knowledge and skills I apply to various aspects of my personal and professional life.”

Now, Hanson is ready for more.

She is currently pursuing a graduate certificate at Saint Mary’s for the Licensed Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (LADC) Counseling program and is excited to begin obtaining her M.A. in the Counseling and Psychological Services program this fall. She is looking forward to delving deeper into the field and gaining more expertise that will help her positively impact people’s lives. Her background and experience in law enforcement will continue to be invaluable assets as she works towards a professional career in counseling. 

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue pursuing my academic journey at Saint Mary’s University! I am confident that this next chapter in my educational career will be challenging and rewarding, and I am eager to make the most of it.”

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