She's Staying for Graduate School!

Hannah Fender finishes her undergraduate career on several high notes and will start graduate school in the fall

Kent State Today followed a group of Golden Flashes for the 2023-24 academic year chronicling their efforts and successes during the fall and spring semesters. The group included students, faculty and administrators who are in different places on their Kent State journeys.

As a high school senior just three years ago, Hannah Fender was not overly excited about attending Kent State University. Now, she loves it so much, she’s staying for graduate school.

Fender, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Commencement on May 10, finished her degree in just three years, thanks to taking 11 AP classes in high school.

Senior Hannah Fender, right, celebrates at commencement.
Hannah Fender, right, celebrates at her May 10, 2024 Commencement.


As the 2023-'24 academic year sped by, Fender considered several options for next year, but ultimately decided to stay at Kent State to work on her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.

Hannah Fender defends her honors thesis.


“I just love it here so much,” Fender said. “I didn’t want to go here at first, but once I got here, I was just bombarded with opportunities, and I was so grateful for that.”

Ivory Kendrick is a sophomore who was featured the entire academic year in A Year with a Flash

Born and raised just 20 miles north of Kent, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Fender had entertained thoughts of going farther away from home for her university years, but ultimately – and a bit reluctantly – decided to attend Kent State. She was not disappointed.

“The opportunities here are just amazing,” she said. “In terms of the education I received, it’s been top-notch, wonderful.”

She also fell in love with the city of Kent and its charming downtown and encourages future students to “give it a chance,” as she did.

It has been a busy and successful spring semester for Fender, who studies in Kent State’s Honors College.  

A self-professed research addict, Fender has devoted much of her time at Kent State working on various research projects with psychology professors. For her honors thesis, she studied how declarative memory – memory that allows people to recollect events and facts – plays a role in language development in very young children.

On April 1, Fender successfully defended her honors thesis and recently won the Outstanding Senior in Psychology award. Also in April, she presented her work at both the Undergraduate Research Symposium, where she took second place in the psychology category, and the Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium, where she took top honors.

“Just being able to be a part of them was really fantastic,” she said.

Senior Hannah Fender at the Undergraduate Student Symposium.

For the summer, Fender will once again work as an intern at the Cleveland Clinic Summer Treatment Program, a behavioral camp for children with ADHD, where she worked last summer, giving a personal component to her studies outside research.

As she wraps up her undergraduate career, Fender is satisfied and excited about the future.

“I feel really well-prepared,” she said.

Her last final was for 10 a.m. on Friday, May 10, and later that day, she put on her cap and gown and walked the stage to accept her diploma.

“I can’t wait,” she said. “I feel so excited for what the future holds.”

POSTED: Wednesday, May 8, 2024 02:40 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2024 10:51 AM
Lisa Abraham