We never really know where life will take us. For senior Kennedy Hibbs, her majors honors project started out as a way to stand out on her CV and developed into a passion.

“This experience also sparked a passion in me for research that I didn’t know that I had,” Kennedy said. “My entire career path changed because I fell in love with doing research.”

Kennedy conducted research on how intimate partner violence affected a person’s perceived belongingness and burdensomeness, a topic that stems from experiences that she and her family members have had.

“These experiences not only affected me physically, but mentally too, so I was extremely curious how it affected others as well,” Kennedy said. “This topic is so important to me, and I believe my research will make a difference in other people’s lives.”

Her goal is to gain real insights into the mental health of people in abusive relationships in order to help them in the future.

“I want to educate others about intimate partner violence and the toll it takes on mental health especially, and maybe someday figure out a way to help those who experience intimate partner violence”