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Lynda Tutko Forrester

Applied Educational Psychology

Lynda earned an MS in educational psychology with a concentration in the Applied Educational Psychology program in 2016. She is originally from, and currently lives in, Knoxville, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Substitute Teacher
Knox County Schools
Knoxville, TN

I am excited to be back in the school system as a substitute teacher. I love working with the special education classes, especially. I am hoping that before long I secure a full-time position in the schools, but until then, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet new classes and visit new schools.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student

One of the most valuable accomplishments I had as a student, was that of personal growth. Every semester I wondered if I could do it. The inner whiner inside me moaned and groaned about yet another project or paper that seemed to be such an uphill battle. Each time, though, I completed the task. Two of the greatest accomplishments for me were the hardest two projects I had: writing a grant and writing a research proposal poster. I consider those two projects invaluable experiences and have often shared the know-how with friends in undergraduate programs.

Accomplishments since Graduating

For me, accomplishment is measured in how much I gain so that I can freely give it away. The EdPsych Online program offered me more than a degree. It provided me experiences that I can share with others, not just the experience of education and how we learn, but that we all CAN learn and advance. It would be hard for me to credit that as a personal accomplishment, so I will say it is a phenomenal attribute that I am so grateful to have so that I can better give back to the world. Almost regularly, it seems, I meet someone who says they wish they could go back to school. Each and every time, no matter what their age, I tell them that it is possible. When they hear my story and their eyes light up with hope, my heart soars with joy. I can’t do it for them, but if I help water the seed their soul has planted, then my personal goal is accomplished.

Personal Interests

I am a mom of six children ages 18-25. They are my hobby and my life. Well, okay, so is my dog, but don’t tell my kids that she ranks the same as they do! They already claim she is spoiled but I think they are jealous because she’s so pretty.
Someday, I’d like to skydive. I’d love to learn a foreign language. In my past, I have written a published novel and won some writing contests. Last year, I started modeling and taking on bit roles as an extra in TV shows and commercials. I am not sure I am very good at it, but it is fun, and I have met some incredibly nice people.

What was the most memorable experience during your time here?

In one class we played a game. The game involved three teams. We were to pick either an X or a Y with no further instructions. If all three teams selected the same letter, we each won a virtual dollar. I was chosen to be the letter picker on my team. My idea was to choose the same letter consistently, so a pattern established. I hoped the other teams would catch on and all three teams would win the dollar. Two rounds in and my team was in debt. Before the final round, both other team captains, unknowingly to each other, popped into our private room. Each told me to keep playing the same letter. My team agreed to continue to play the game as we were. On the final round, all three teams picked the same letter as I had been picking. When asked by the game orchestrator why the change happened the team captains said, “We wanted to get Lynda out of debt.” That was memorable and fun.

What would you tell an incoming/current student in the program/department?

I think current and incoming students might benefit from knowing that even though this is an online program, a community can be established. Reach out to anyone you feel comfortable with, get an email address or phone number and text each other. Voice your fears and concerns and bond with people. I thoroughly enjoy knowing the people I met in this program. I am happy to hear from them and genuinely look forward to walking our graduation ceremony together. There is a spirit of community in the program, and while we are linked only through technology, that doesn’t diminish the value of making fantastic friends in the program.

How did your experiences as a student help you in your professional/personal life after graduation?

The degree hasn’t changed my life in a major way. However, it has strengthened my life in immeasurable ways. My courage to try achievements outside my comfort zone was bolster by my success in the program. I carry that courage every day as I embark on a new passage in my life. Having this degree has helped me remember that it is okay to start late in the game, so long as I start. As a student I was reminded how important it is to help one another, and how important it is to ask for help, too. This program and the people I have met while seeking the degree have enriched my personal life, and I am eternally grateful.

“When fatigue sets in, somewhere around the middle of the program, don’t quit! Reach out, talk to a classmate, just know that the program is doable and an experience that is worth the effort.”

Educational Psychology & Counseling Department
College of Education, Health & Human Sciences

535 Bailey Education Complex
1122 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996-3452
Phone: 865-974-8145 Fax: 865-974-0135