Megan Herscher

Counselor Education

Megan earned a PhD with the Counselor Education program in 2013. She is originally from Ocean Township, NJ 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

Assistant Professor & Coordinator
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program
Carson-Newman University
Jefferson City, TN

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • Recipient of Dean Wallace $15,000 Fellowship, University of Tennessee, 2010
Accomplishments since Graduating
  • Voted Smoky Mountain Region’s Counselor Educator of the Year, 2015
Personal Interests

Running, and hanging out with all my children.

What sold you on this program?

What sold me on the program were the professors, they were as engaging and attentive during the interview process as they were throughout my time there. I still so much appreciate the mentorship and friendships I developed there.

What was the most memorable experience during your time here?

My most memorable experience was going through the first semester of the program pregnant, which I found to be the most challenging semester to acclimate to. I delivered my daughter the day after classes ended and kept on going!

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I truly believed that I would continue to work in a clinical setting when I entered the program. As I grew personally and professionally I realized that teaching was my calling, and that clinical work needed to take a back seat, for now.


Kala Lane Hamilton Taylor

School Psychology

Kala is currently seeking her PhD with the School Psychology program. Originally from Asheville, NC, she received her BS in psychology at Millsaps College and earned an MS with the Applied Educational Psychology program here at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She joined School Psychology in 2014. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Awards

National

  • American Academy of School Psychology Memorial Scholarship for Research (2016): Awarded annually to five deserving doctoral students in school psychology.
  • National Association of School Psychologists Graduate Student Research Grant (2015): Awarded annually to three students who demonstrate exceptional ability to conduct high-quality research that furthers the mission and goals of NASP and has the potential to impact the field positively.

University

  • Chancellor’s Fellowship (2014-2018): A four year, merit-based fellowship awarded annually by the Office of the Chancellor to two incoming graduate students per college.
  • University of Tennessee 3 Minute Thesis (3MT©) Semifinalist (2017): 3MT© is a research communication competition in which participants have three minutes and a single slide to present their research to a lay audience.
  • Chancellor’s Citation for Extraordinary Professional Promise (2016): Awarded by the Office of the Chancellor to graduate students for professional promise in teaching, research, or other contributions.
  • Shipley-Swann Fellowship (2014): A one year fellowship awarded by the graduate school to students who demonstrate academic excellence.

Accomplishments

Roles/Positions

  • President, UT School Psychology Association 2016-2017
  • School Psychology Student Representative, Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling 2015-2016
  • GRA, School Psychology program faculty 2014-2016

Refereed Journal Publications

  • Cazzell, S., Taylor, K., Skinner, C., McCurdy, M., Skinner, A., Ciancio, D., Beeson, T., & Cihak, D. (2017). Evaluating a computer flashcard reading intervention with self-determined response intervals in a post-secondary student with intellectual disability. Journal of Evidence-Based Practice in the Schools, 16(1), 74-94.
  • Cazzell, S., Skinner, C., Taylor, K. (2017). Implementing computer flashcard reading with self-determined intervals. Journal of Evidence-Based Practice in the Schools, 16(1), 95-100.
  • Cazzell, S., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., Aspiranti, K., Watson, T., Taylor, K., McCurdy, M., & Skinner, A. (2016). Evaluating a computer flashcard sight-word recognition intervention with self-determined response intervals in elementary students with intellectual disability. School Psychology Quarterly. Advance online publication.

Symposiums

  • Taylor, K., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., Turnbull, S., Ruddy, J., Beeson, T., & Skinner, A. (2016, October). Altering text to make it disfluent hinders sight-word acquisition in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Computer-delivered learning trials to enhance sight word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Tennessee Association for Behavioral Analysis 19th Annual Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • Turnbull, S., Taylor, K., Beeson, T., McCurdy, M., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., & Skinner, A. (2016, October). Allowing students to self-determine response intervals during computer-based S-R-S-R learning trials. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Computer-delivered learning trials to enhance sight word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Tennessee Association for Behavioral Analysis 19th Annual Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • Gibbons, S., Ryan, K., Taylor, K., Beeson, T., Turnbull, S., Skinner, C., Cianico, D. & Skinner, A. (2016, October). Self-determined versus fixed 1-s and 5-s response intervals. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Computer-delivered learning trials to enhance sight word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Tennessee Association for Behavioral Analysis 19th Annual Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • Taylor, K., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., Turnbull, S., Ruddy, J., & Beeson, T. (2016, May). The effects of perceptual dysfluency on sight-word acquisition rates in a post-secondary student with intellectual disabilities. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Enhancing word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 42nd Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.
  • Turnbull, S., Taylor, K., McCurdy, M., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., & Beeson, T. (2016, May). Evaluating a computer flashcard reading intervention with self-determined response intervals in a post-secondary student with intellectual disabilities. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Enhancing word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 42nd Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.
  • Ryan, K., Gibbons, S., Taylor, K., Beeson, T., Turnbull, S., Skinner, C., & Ciancio, D. (2016, May). Evaluating and comparing computer flashcard reading interventions: Self-determined response intervals verses fast and slow computer paced. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Enhancing word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 42nd Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.

Paper Presentations

  • Moore, T., Daniels, S., Eshbaugh, J., Gordon, J., Kirkpatrick, B., O’Reilly, C., Taylor, K., & Wright, S. (2017, October). Supporting effective classroom management and behavior management practices: Reports from school staff and implications for the behavior analyst. Paper submitted for presentation at the Tennessee Association for Behavioral Analysis 20th Annual Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • DeZutter, S., Taylor, K., Hewlett, A., & Hoskin, S. (2015, April). Where do we go from here?
    Questions raised by student-perceived incongruities between research on self-regulation and practices encountered at a high-poverty school. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

Poster Presentations

  • Taylor, K., Skinner, C. H., Ciancio, D., Krider, S., Gibbons, S., Ruddy, J. & Ryan, K. (2017, August). Effects of foreign names on elementary students’ reading comprehension and comprehension rate. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.
  • Taylor, K., Gibbons, S., Ryan, K., Ruddy, J., Turnbull, S., Skinner, C. H., & Beeson, T. (2017, August). Perceptual fluency and word acquisition in students with disabilities. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.
  • Taylor, K., Skinner, C., Cazzell, S., Ruddy, J., Ciancio, D., Cihak, D., & Beeson, T. (2016, February). Perceptual disfluency and learning in a FUTURE student with Intellectual Disability. Poster presented at the University of Tennessee Gallery of Excellence, Knoxville, TN.
  • Cazzell, S., Taylor, K., Skinner, C., McCurdy, M., Skinner, A., Ciancio, D., Beeson, T., & Cihak, D. (2016, February). Evaluating a computer flashcard reading intervention with self-determined response intervals in a post-secondary student with Intellectual Disability. Poster presented at the University of Tennessee Gallery of Excellence, Knoxville, TN.
  • Gibbons, S., Ryan, K., Skinner, C., Taylor, K., Beeson, T., Ciancio, D., & Cazzell, S. (2016, February). Expanding research on a computer-based flashcard reading intervention with a post-secondary student in the FUTURE Program. Poster presented at the University of Tennessee Gallery of Excellence, Knoxville, TN.
  • Taylor, K., Cazzell, S., Ruddy, J., Skinner, C. H., Ciancio, D., Cihak, D., & Beeson, T.
    (2016, February). Disfluency and sight-word learning in a student with Intellectual Disabilities. Poster presented at the National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention, New Orleans, LA.
  • Taylor, K., Ruddy, J., Cazzell, S., Skinner, C. H. (2015, November). Investigating the effects of flashcard text fluency on learning. Poster presented at the Mid-South Conference for Psychology in the Schools, Murfreesboro, TN.
  • Taylor, K., Ciancio, D., Ruddy, J., & Skinner, C. H. (2015, August). Correlating WCPM with
    reading comprehension and global reading ability. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, Canada.
  • Taylor, K., Scott, K., Turnbull, S., & Watson, T. (2015, August). The effectiveness of readability
    formulas as predictors of oral reading fluency. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, Canada.
  • Taylor, K., Ciancio, D., & Ruddy, J. (2014, November). Correlating WCPM with the Woodcock
    Johnson passage comprehension subtest and broad reading cluster in a sample of first- through third-grade students. Poster presented at the Mid-South Conference for Psychology in the Schools, Chattanooga, TN.

See Curriculum Vita for additional details.

Current Occupation

Graduate Research Assistant
Tennessee Behavior Supports Project (TBSP)
Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

TBSP provides technical assistance (i.e., training, consulting, and external coaching) to East Tennessee public schools and districts to develop, implement, and sustain continuums of positive behavioral interventions and supports within an RTI2-B framework.

Personal Interests

I am an aerialist, so I spend several hours a week training on fabrics, and recently, lyra. In my free time I enjoy gardening, traveling, working on my house, and spending time with my partner and family. I have four wonderful pets that bring incredible joy to my life. I am the proud daughter of a veterinarian, and it shows. I can find an animal in need anywhere and am actively involved in rescue and trap-neuter-return efforts.

Future/Vocational Goals

I plan to obtain my Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential and then pursue licensure. I enjoy working in both school and clinical settings, and I want to have the option to do either. I decided to pursue a degree in school psychology because I wanted to help diverse children and families from low-socioeconomic status backgrounds. That is still my primary goal, but I haven’t decided exactly what it will look like in practice yet.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

Initially, I applied to UT because of an article I read citing Chris Skinner as one of the most published authors in the field of school psychology. I was interested in his research on reading and thought we would be a good fit. I was also impressed by the efficiency of the program. Students tend to finish in five years and defend their dissertations before internship; I didn’t find those things at the other universities where I interviewed. There was better funding available at UT than most of the other programs I was interested in, and the graduate students I met at interviews seemed to have a healthy work/life balance. I also wanted to move closer to my parents, and I have family in Knoxville.

What would you tell an incoming student who joins the program/department?

Get things done before the deadline. Learning to do things early will put you ahead, free up time for other endeavors, and relieve so much stress. Also, be your own advocate. Look for opportunities outside of your program. You are in charge of your own success.


School Psychology Students Matched with APA-Accredited Internships

Three School Psychology PhD candidates – Carly Chwat, Caroline Jaquett, and Jonah Ruddy – were matched with APA-accredited internships.

To become a licensed psychologist, all school psychology doctoral students must have completed an internship. Internships accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) are highly sought out, yet a large number of applicants go unmatched. In 2017, almost twenty percent of applicants were not matched with an APA-accredited internship.

Read below to see where each of the three will be interning and their experiences of the process.


 

Carly Chwat
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Loudon, TN

 

 

What was the application process like?
We had great support from faculty and within our cohort, so it actually wasn’t too stressful! I enjoyed traveling around for interviews and meeting other psychology students.

How do you feel about being matched?
I’m very excited for the opportunity to participate in an APA internship, and to have the potential to become a licensed psychologist.

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
I will be in a fully school-based position in Sweetwater City Schools where I will work consulting with teachers and doing evaluations for students for special education. I actually did a practicum at Sweetwater my 1st year in the graduate program, so I’m very excited be be going back there. At that time, I was the student shadowing an intern, and now as an intern I’ll have students come and shadow me.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?
I’m thrilled to be staying in Tennessee! I would love to continue to stay connected to the university to do research and also to supervise future practicum students. Also now that I know I’m staying, I can work on getting my parents to retire up in East Tennessee!


 

Caroline Jaquett
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Loudon, TN

 

 

What was the application process like?
The application process was stressful, just due to all of the deadlines that co-occurred with an already busy school year. However, we were really supported throughout the entire process and I never felt alone. The professors in the program and my other cohort members were a huge help!

How do you feel about being matched?
I am thrilled! It has always been my goal to become a licensed psychologist, and this is another step accomplished towards that goal!

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
I will be doing the work of a typical school psychologist in East Tennessee. This involves completing evaluations and re-evaluations for children who need special education, assisting with and leading IEP meetings, consulting with teachers and other staff as needed, and of course directly helping children whenever possible!

Will you be at one specific site?
Yes! I will be with Lenoir City Schools. I will serve students at the elementary, intermediate, and high school levels.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?
Over the past four years I have really grown to love Knoxville. I brag about the city to everyone I know – it has great food, scenery, and there is always something going on downtown! I have made great friendships here and I am so glad I don’t have to say goodbye to Tennessee just yet.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I am nervous, but excited to get started! It is exciting that after 4 years of graduate school my career is finally about to begin!


 

Jonah Ruddy
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Loudon, TN

 

 

What was the application process like?
The application process was long and complicated. There are many excellent internship sites to choose from, and each site has unique qualities to consider. It took a lot of time to research each site and evaluate what they had to offer. The APPIC Internship Match requires detailed records of your academic career, research, and clinical experiences as well as letters of recommendation and essays briefly describing your personal background, theoretical orientation, research interests, and experiences with diversity. There is a lot of red tape, fees, and deadlines to navigate. Luckily, Merilee McCurdy, associate professor, and several alumni helped us navigate the process.

After submitting my applications to the APPIC match website during the fall, one of the hardest parts of the process was waiting to hear back from the programs to learn if you would get an interview. I was asked to interview at 7 of the 12 programs that I applied for. December and January were spent planning and going on trips meeting face-to-face with each site. I traveled through rain, sleet, and snow to Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and, of course, Tennessee. I received a warm welcome at each location and enjoyed meeting the faculty, interns, and other applicants. It was also exciting to see the great work all of the programs were doing to train new professionals, meet the needs of their clients, and support their communities. Even harder than waiting to hear about interviews was waiting for match day and learning my placement. It was definitely a relief when the day came and I learned that I would be interning with the Tennessee Internship Consortium in Psychology (TIC).

How do you feel about being matched?
I am both excited and relieved to be matched with an APA-accredited internship. The accreditation assures me that the internship meets the training standards needed to help me prepare for a career in school psychology, makes me more competitive in the job market, and simplifies the bureaucratic process to become a licensed psychologist.

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?

I will be working with child and adult clients with learning and behavioral concerns. This includes conducting psychoeducational assessments to diagnose learning, developmental, behavioral, or mental health issues; providing direct intervention services; and consulting with parents, teachers, and other professionals. 

Will you be at one specific site?
I will be splitting my time between the KLASS Center and Cherokee Health Systems, Inc.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?

While I visited and fell in love with several internship sites during this process, it is a relief to be staying in Tennessee. I have a wife and teenage son whom I would have lived away from for a year if I was matched to another placement. I know they are very happy that I am staying home. I also think it is a great opportunity for me to help clients in the community and surrounding area that I have called home for many years.


I want to thank my colleagues, Carly Chwat and Carrie Jaquett, who have shared this journey with me over the last four years. We’ve developed a great friendship, become family, and have been there for each other through all the ups-and-downs that have come our way. Their support has been an essential element in my success and growth. I am grateful that the “Three Musketeers” will be able to finish our final year together in Tennessee. – Jonah Ruddy


Phillips Retires

Apirl Phillips, administrative coordinator, has officially retired. Phillips has worked at UT Knoxville for 34 years, with different titles such as office supervisor and administrative supervisor. EPC celebrated at her retirement party on September 15, 2017. We asked her some questions about her retirement. Read her responses below.

“During my time at UT, I have worked with so many wonderful staff, faculty and students. I won’t miss IRIS much at all, but I sure will miss not seeing my great co-workers on a regular basis after I retire. They are truly treasures.”


How long have you been with EPC??

I’ve been with the department for a total of 26 years as it has gone through four transformations over the years: the Educational and Counseling Psychology Department, the Psychoeducational Studies Unit, the Educational Psychology Department, and finally the Educational Psychology and Counseling Department.

What are some of the substantial changes you witnessed during your time here?

The impact of technology has been the biggest change, by far. My first position at UT in 1983 was an entry-level secretary, and I used a typewriter and carbon paper to type letters, forms and reports. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I got a personal computer! Also, nearly every form and transaction at UT has changed from using a paper-based process to using an electronic process.

Do you have any memorable moments you would like to share?

I have many memorable moments that I look back upon fondly, some with a tear and some with a chuckle. However, the majority of my most memorable moments aren’t suitable for printing! They are THAT good.

What are you retirement plans?

My mother who is 89, lives in Ocala, Florida.  I plan to spend a lot more time with her than I’ve been able to in the past. And, my husband and I are looking forward to spending more time together, traveling and doing home renovations, landscaping and gardening…and drinking Margaritas and eating Mexican food much more often than we now do!


Summer 2017 Graduates

The Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling wants to congratulate the graduates from seven of our programs who earned their degrees during the summer 2017 semester.

Amber Nicole Abel
MS in Education – Instructional Technology

Brooke Lauren Browarnik
PhD in School Psychology

Emily Courtney Brown
PhD in Counselor Education

Sharon Leah Bruner
PhD in Counselor Education

Sarah Megan Bunn
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Emma Christine Burgin
PhD in Counselor Education

Joel Matthew Clark
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Robert Charles Cox
PhD in Educational Psychology and Research – Adult Learning

Jaewoo Do
MS in Education – Instructional Technology

Trisha Danielle Franklin
PhD in School Psychology

Lauren Anastasia Green
MS in Education – Instructional Technology

Leslie Allison Hart
PhD in School Psychology

Anderson Freemason Hatfield
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Patricia Jean Smith Higgins
MS in Educational Psychology – Adult Education

Amanda Lynn Johnson Praino
MS in Education – Instructional Technology

Judy Fisher King
MS in Education – Instructional Technology

Everett W. Painter
PhD in Counselor Education

Ivory Elizabeth Patten
MS in Educational Psychology – Adult Education

Katelyn Crabtree Scott
PhD in School Psychology

Jordan Beth Sherrod
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Kelly Harrington Smyth
PhD in School Psychology

Anna Lora Taylor
PhD in Counselor Education

Stephanie Jean Teague
MS in Education – Instructional Technology

Kelly McCullough Thompson
PhD in School Psychology

Samantha Sue Turnbull
PhD in School Psychology

Caroline Elizabeth Whitaker
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

**If you were an Educational Psychology and Counseling student who graduated during this time frame, yet have unintentionally been omitted from this list, please send your name, degree, and major/concentration to Synthia Clark sclark41@utk.edu. We will add you to the list after receiving this information from you and confirming your graduation status.


Anthony L. Capers Jr.

Adult Education

Anthony earned an MS in educational psychology with a concentration in the Adult Education program (part of EdPsych Online) in 2016. He is originally from Orangeburg, SC and currently lives in Lexington, SC. We asked him to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where he’s at now. Read his responses below.

Current Occupation

Case Manager
Epworth Children’s Home
Columbia, SC

I am currently a case manager for adolescent boys transitioning out of foster care, at Epworth Children’s Home in Columbia, SC. I manage the logistics of my clients’ lives, which includes anything legally, educationally, and/or medically related.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • Psychology Student of the Year | 4/18/14
    This award represents a psychology undergraduate student that demonstrated extraordinary academic work in the field of psychology.
  • Dean’s & Chancellor’s List | 2010-2014
    These awards were granted to students who obtained either a 3.0 or 3.5 by the end of each semester.
Accomplishments since Graduating

Obtaining my master’s degree and moving into my first apartment.

Personal Interests

Personal hobbies I enjoy are reading, writing, watching Netflix/Hulu, and spending time with my girlfriend, family, and friends. I also enjoy botany, specifically under water (freshwater) plants, I’ve been a fan of aquatic plants for a long time, and am about to acquire some for my apartment.

What sold you on this program?

I was completely sold on this program by the start of my senior year of undergrad, after doing extensive research and learning that it was completely online and had an adult education concentration.

What do you think was the most rewarding/challenging about this program?

For me personally, the most rewarding/challenging aspect of this program, was overcoming my discomfort of vocal participation in class. It’s an issue I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember, and I’m glad I was encouraged to enact my full potential.

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

I used a lot of my professional experiences as the foundation for most of my academic work as a grad student. As I researched core aspects of social science and various factors of my work, it allowed me to expand my perspective as a case manager.


“I am honored to have been accepted by and graduated from a program as engaging and prestigious as the EPC EdPsych Online master’s program. It has graced me with lifelong connections and knowledge that I will forever cherish, both personally and professionally.”