1. What are you doing now?
I am currently a graduate student at the School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute, which is located in Springfield, MO. I am in the dual MA/PsyD program, which means that I am working on both my masters degree and my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology simultaneously. Currently, I am finishing my thesis, taking a whole bunch of classes, and continuing my practicum experience (whew!). Once I have earned my degree, I hope to work providing mental health services to rural communities. I am interested in serving this area because often rural communities lack access to mental health providers and are much underserved. I hope to provide a variety of services, including individual therapy, group therapy, assessments, and probably many other things as well!
2. How did UTM’s Psy Prog help achieve what you have become?
I really enjoyed the years I spent as a psychology student at UTM, and I believe that the experiences I had really prepared me for graduate work. While at UTM, I was a member of the University Scholars Organization, which was a wonderful experience. This organization helped me to develop leadership skills, pursue my research interests, and identify volunteer opportunities. These three areas became very important to me when apply for graduate programs, and even more so as I began my life as a graduate student. At times, some of the class work was very challenging. And, believe it or not, knowing when to use a t-test and when to use an ANOVA actually did become an important skill when I took my statistics course! Similarly, knowing how to write a good, well researched essay has paid off over the last couple of years. However, I think the most important things I learned from the professors at UTM weren't necessarily taught in class. I learned why it's sometimes cool (and makes sense) to be environmentally friendly. I learned how to work towards a deadline and set my own goals. I learned why it's important to double-check your data. And (most importantly) I learned to always bring a back-up pencil during exams!
3. What advice would you give students who are interested in becoming UTM psychology majors?
Psychology is a fascinating and diverse field with many exciting opportunities. People who pursue psychology are often inquisitive and curious, compassionate and empathetic, and (perhaps most important) not afraid of getting their hands dirty. There are several things I would recommend to someone who was interested in a degree in psychology. First, talking to a professional in the field can very helpful. They can provide the benefit of experience and answer any questions you might have about psychology as a career. Similarly, talking with a psychology student further along in the program can help you understand what its like to pursue this as a major. Secondly, I would encourage someone with this interest to spend time volunteering. This type of experience allows a person to practice interactions with others and learn what it's like to help someone else. Finally, I would encourage them to get involved with activities and groups available to them at UTM, including joining a psychology club or taking advantage of research opportunities. Choosing a major can be a scary thing, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun!