Baileigh Kirkpatrick

School Psychology

Baileigh is currently seeking her PhD in School Psychology. Originally from Lawrenceville, GA, she graduated with her BS in psychology at Berry College in 2015 and earned an MS in educational psychology with the Applied Educational Psychology program at the University of Tenessee in 2018. She joined EPC in 2015. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

  • Mary Philips Shepard Graduate Fellowship, 2018
  • Chancellor’s Fellowship, 2015

In my time at UT I have contributed to a number of peer-reviewed presentations and publications. I have presented 13 presentations at national and regional conferences including the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention and the National Association of School Psychology (NASP) Annual Convention. I have also contributed to several manuscripts. Topics include a class-wide positive peer reporting intervention, and emotional intelligence assessment development. I was also able to co-author a book chapter on nonverbal assessment. Aside from professional presentations, I have led study skills training for student athletes and served as the NASP student representative and social chair for UT’s School Psychology Association.

See Curriculum Vita for more information.

Current Occupation

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

TBSP is a grant-funded program that provides training, materials, and tools to support administrators, teachers, and staff in the implementation of Response to Instruction and Intervention – Behavior (RTI2-B). At UT Knoxville, we are a multidisciplinary team housed in TPTE. Tara Moore, assistant professor, is our project director, and the team consists of five full-time consultants and five GRAs from School Psychology and Special Education programs.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I like to take advantage of the beautiful Smoky Mountains! I enjoy hiking and camping during the weekends, and try to trade out of the office for some fresh air when I can. I also spend free time baking and cooking! The smell of fresh bread baking is one of my favorite things.

Future/Vocational Goals

After finishing my PhD, I plan to work in as a school psychologist in a school district. I am excited to be involved with the community where I work and for the opportunity to serve students from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of needs. My long-term goal as a school psychologist is to work in private practice or in a clinic setting.

What sold you on the program/department/university?

The faculty’s commitment to student success is what sold me on the University of Tennessee. I was impressed by the emphasis faculty placed on making sure students got the most out of their time here, and knew that the faculty would be supportive in helping me achieve my goals.

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

I would tell incoming students that they should not shy away from experiences that may be out of their comfort zone. There are a wide variety of opportunities the University of Tennessee and Knoxville provide, and I have learned the most from the times that I took on projects outside of my comfort zone.

Ashlee Fugate

Applied Educational Psychology

Ashlee earned an MS with the Applied Educational Psychology program in 2018 and currently lives in Fayetteville, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

General Education Teacher
Ralph Askins Elementary-Fayetteville City Schools

Currently, I am teaching 4th grade English language arts and social studies. I have been teaching for nine years in grades 1, 2, and 4.

Accomplishments Since Graduating

Although small to some, my greatest accomplishment was becoming a more successful teacher. Initially, I wanted to go through the EdPsych Online program to enhance my teaching/teaching style. Throughout my experiences, I have done just that. I have become a more competent and confident teacher who exhibits improved teacher self-efficacy. I find myself taking on more leadership roles and taking more instructional risks to create engaging and beneficial lessons. Also, I have challenged myself to teach to as many learning styles as I can.

Personal Interests

Being a teacher and mother, I find that I do not have time for many hobbies. However, I do love to spend time traveling and outdoor activities. Visiting the beach is a favorite! We also love UT football!

My husband and I enjoying searching for unique antiques. I love cooking and trying new foods. We are avid readers in our home as well.

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

For me, I believe my co-learners and professors were the most rewarding part of the program. They are some of the most hard working and compassionate people I have ever met. I believe to have found some lifelong friends along the way. Being an online program, many may find that hard to believe, but it is true. We watched each other “grow” throughout the program. We shared our triumphs, as well as hardships. We helped each other through coursework and learned to rely and trust people that we may or may not ever meet in person. Being a student who lived 4 hours from campus, this meant so much! I always felt connected, which I understand can be difficult for any online program. This particular program put much effort into making it a positive experience.

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

“You can do it!” I knew going into a graduate program it would be difficult to juggle my work, family, and coursework. However, with organizing and some planning on my part, I was able to manage everything. I would also tell an incoming student to not be shy about reaching out to the professors and other students. Making connections is a vital part of this experience.

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

I wanted to become a better teacher and I have done just that. I know that I am much more confident than I ever was before. The classwork and projects pushed me out of my comfort zone. Just last year I co-led a presentation on teacher mindset to my faculty. I would have never been able to do that before this program. The assignments challenged me and definitely pushed me into becoming a whole new teacher.

Julie Hall

Adult Learning

Julie is currently seeking her PhD in educational psychology and research with the Adult Learning program. Originally from Knoxville, TN, she graduated with her AAS in radiologic technology at Roane State Community College in 2000, BS in biochemistry, molecular, and cellular biology at the University of Tenessee in 2004, and an MPH in community health education at UT in 2007. She joined EPC in 2011. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

  • Finalist for Roane State Community College’s Ellen Benroth Award for excellence in teaching, which is awarded to one faculty member per year; winners are nominated and chosen by their peers and must demonstrate excellent student-based objectives and evaluation scores; Top 3 finalist in 2015, 2016, and 2017
  • Excellence Award provided by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD), Roane State Community College, 2012
  • Spotlight on SAILS Award, Roane State Community College, 2011

Conference Presentations

  • Hall, J. (2016, Nov). Harmonizing self-direction and mandatory continuing education; Attitude of the health care professional. Proceedings of the 64th American Association for Adult and Continuing Education Conference. Albuquerque, NM.
  • Hall, J. (2014, Nov). I think I can! Positive psychology for health professional programs. Proceedings of the 63rd American Association for Adult and Continuing Education Conference. Charleston, SC
  • Hall, J. (2013, Nov). Leaving the nest: From novice to professional. Proceedings of the 62nd American Association for Adult and Continuing Education Conference. Lexington, KY
  • Shih, C. & Hall, J. (2012, Nov). Connect, communicate and collaborate: Using Facebook groups to build a community of practice. Proceedings of the 61st American Association for Adult and Continuing Education Conference. Las Vegas, NV

Peer-Reviewed Publication

  • Hall, J. (2014). Staged Self-Directed Learning Model: Leaving the nest; From novice to professional in J. Holtz, S. Springer, & C. Boden-McGill (Eds.), Building sustainable futures for adult learners. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.


  • 2015 – 2016 Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) member for the IGI Global peer-reviewed book entitled, Handbook of Research on Training Evaluation in the Modern Workforce
  • 2014 – 2015 Adult Higher Education Alliance (AHEA), proposal reviewer for the national conference
  • 2014 – 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health (Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins), book reviewer
  • 2014 Pearson Higher Education, book reviewer

Accreditation Activities

  • 2014 Compiled a self-study report and oversaw a site visit for the Radiologic Technology Program by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT); the program successfully was awarded re-accreditation for 8 years (maximum amount allowed)
  • 2018 Completed an Interim Report as well as a Substantive Change Report for the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology

Significant Roles/Positions

  • 2018 – Present: Member of Roane State Community College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) committee
  • 2018 – Present:  Member of Roane State Community College’s Course Evaluation Committee
  • 2018 – Present:  Member of Roane State Community College’s Tuition Reimbursement Advisory Group
  • 2017 – 2018:  Member of Roane State Community College’s Promotion and Tenure Committee
  • 2015 – Present:  Member of the Tennessee Board of Regent’s (TBR) Statewide Curriculum realignment committee for radiologic technology
  • 2014 – Present:  Member of the Radiologic Technology Program’s Assessment Committee
  • 2013 – Present:  Member of the Radiologic Technology Program’s Admission Committee
  • 2011 – Present:  Member of the Allied Health Admission Committee
  • 2011 – 2015:  Participated in the Students Achieving Improved Learning Strategies (SAILS) project by implementing a specific learning strategy in classes. SAILS was apart of Roane State Community College’s five year Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
  • 2010 – Present:  Member of the Radiologic Technology Program’s Advisory Board (ex-officio)

Other Service Activities

  • 2015 – Present:  Serve as a site visitor for the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (accrediting body for radiologic technology programs)
  • 2014 – 2015:  Served as an item writer for the national licensure exam on behalf of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)
  • 2011 – Present:  Applied and obtained numerous grant requests for the program

Current Occupation

Program Director
Radiologic Technology Program
Roane State Community College

The Radiologic Technology Program has affiliation agreements with 17 clinical sites/hospitals across the East Tennessee region and is designed to provide students with the skills required to provide excellent patient care in the field of radiology.

Personal Interests

I am a mother/wife with two sons (Michael and Tyler). We enjoy traveling and seeing new places, but my favorite place to visit is Disney world! This past year, we were able to tour the American Southwest (epic road trip) and the year before visited Alaska with my mom. I also enjoy reading!

Future/Vocational Goals

My future goals are to continue conducting research in the area of allied health/radiologic technology. I am interested in topics related to self-directed learning and attitude towards continuing education.

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

I have relished my time at UT Knoxville. Particularly, I have enjoyed my courses along with the faculty members and other students. This program has some of the best faculty members that I have ever had the opportunity to work with. They truly care about their students and find ways to help them grow as well as help them through the doctoral process. My advisor, Ralph Brockett, Phd, is absolutely a joy to work with and I could not have succeeded without his support over the years. I would recommend this program to any prospective student!

EPC Programs Host Free Webinar

Faculty, students, and staff are invited to attend a free Innovative Educators webinar titled “Dealing with Difficult and Disruptive Students in Online Classes” on Tuesday, October 2 from 1-2:15 p.m. If you are interested in attending the webinar or accessing the recording, please email Ms. Kristen Fowler at with the subject line EPC Webinar. Following vendor guidelines, Ms. Fowler will send the link to everyone who has contacted her a week prior to the event, then a week after the event she will send out a link to the recording – which will be accessible for a year.

This webinar is hosted by the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling’s Instructional Technology (IT Online), EdPsych Online, and Learning, Design, and Technology programs. For more information about the webinar, check out the Innovative Educators website.

April Baer

Alumni Spotlight: April Baer

School Counseling

April earned an MS with the School Counseling program in 2012 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.

  • Awarded Tenure from Knox County Schools, spring 2018
  • Coalition Member of the Year from the Metro Drug Coalition, 2016
  • On the Leadership Team at Richard Yoakley, since 2012
Current Occupation

School Counselor
Richard Yoakley School
Knox County, Tennessee

Personal Interests

My husband and I have taken up hiking in the last few years. We especially enjoy hiking in the nearby Smoky Mountains. So far, we have just done day hikes, but we plan to start camping in the future.

Another hobby of mine is making jewelry. I enjoy making jewelry from glass, stones, metals, and found objects. It’s a fun, creative outlet.

Future/Vocational Goals

I very much enjoy my role as the school counselor at Richard Yoakley School. I plan to stay in this role for the foreseeable future and continue to improve my school counseling program. One day, I might pursue a leadership position in the school system.

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

I remember feeling welcomed and informed when starting the program. Our professors did a great job explaining expectations and program goals. I felt very prepared to complete assignments, and I also felt that I was cared about as a person. The school counseling program is rigorous with high standards and expectations, which is a great thing. I know I received a high quality education which prepared me for my current profession.

What is the best tidbit/find about Knoxville?

Two of my favorite things about Knoxville are the Market Square Farmer’s Market and the trails at Ijams Nature Center. The market is a great place to buy local produce as well as crafts, and Ijams Nature Center is a beautiful place to be in nature yet still close to the city.

Summer 2018 Graduates & Certificate Recipients

The Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling wants to congratulate the graduates from nine of our programs who earned their degrees and recipients from four of our graduate certificate programs who completed necessary requirements during the summer 2018 semester.

To see photos of our recent graduates, please go to the “EPC Graduates” album on our EPC Facebook page.

Carly Ann Chwat
PhD in School Psychology

Synthia Ann Alene Clark
MS in Education – Instructional Technology
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Deepa Rajiv Deshpande
PhD in Education – Learning Environments & Educational Studies

Jaewoo Do
PhD in Education – Learning Environments & Educational Studies

Sheryse Noelle Grant Dubose
PhD in Education – Learning Environments & Educational Studies

Katherine Ellen Fleming
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Ashlee Nicole Fugate
MS in Educational Psychology – Applied Educational Psychology

Holly Jean Greene
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Caroline Marie Jaquett
PhD in School Psychology

Frederick Joseph Kelly
MS in Education – Instructional Technology
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Jonathan Edward Kelly
MS in Education – Instructional Technology
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Raymond Rodney Kimmitt
MS in Educational Psychology – Adult Education

Lauren Brooke Leonard
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Rachael Camille Marshall
PhD in Counselor Education
Graduate Certificate in Grief, Loss & Trauma
Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research Methods in Education

Anthony C. Miller
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Charles Branton Mitchell
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Desiree P. Nicholas
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Leslie Renee Owle
MS in Education – Instructional Technology
Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching & Learning

Kelley Nicole Rieder
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Jonah Lee Ruddy
PhD in School Psychology

Gwendolyn Sue Ruttencutter
PhD in Educational Psychology & Research – Adult Learning

Yacob Tewolde Tekie
Graduate Certificate in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

Taralyn Page Tibbits
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Kathryn Claire Ward
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Nathan Bobby West
PhD in Counselor Education

Samantha Ellen Williams
MS in Counseling – School Counseling

Rebecca Leigh Witowski
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

*If you are one of the graduates listed above and would like to have your photo added to our EPC Graduates Facebook album, then please email your picture to Synthia Clark

**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 We will add you to the list after receiving this information from you and confirming your graduation status.

Lindsey Leffew

Instructional Technology

Lindsey earned an MS with the Instructional Technology program in 2016 and currently lives in Littleton, CO. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Instructional Design Coordinator
Child Care Quality Initiatives
Office of Early Childhood
Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS)

I work in a team of two (hopefully four by the end of the year) to design self-paced online learning for the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System (PDIS). These courses are targeted at early care and learning professionals, with the goal of increasing the quality of care and education provided in child care programs across the state.

Accomplishments since Graduating

In my first nine months at CDHS, I led development on the first hybrid course to exist in the PDIS: Medication Administration Training, a four hour, licensing required course for child care providers across the state of Colorado. Also, at the end of December 2017, my husband and I bought our first house.

Personal Interests

I’m a fiction writer in all my waking hours. A baker, an amateur painter, a paddle boarder, an always-losing-my-callouses guitarist, a gamer, a yoga aficionado, and a literature/media nerd. I also like to travel with my husband and spend time with our four cats.

Accomplishments Earned as a Student

I received invitations from several honors societies (Gamma Beta Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delti Pi), so I suppose that means I made it to a top tier of my class.

On a personal level, I maintained my grade level, kept interest in my classes, and didn’t crumble under pressure – even when I was finalizing my portfolio while packing our place and preparing for a cross country move – so I’d consider that an accomplishment.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

Yes. I’d been in the eLearning world prior to entering the IT Online program and that’s where I wanted to be once I got my degree. Though instead of working for a vendor, I ended up on an in-house design team (of two and soon to be growing), so this let me drastically expand my skills with project management, authoring software, and the creation of graphics and audio, in addition to writing content.

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

When I came to the program, I didn’t really speak the lingo of instructional design and technology (“dual coding, what’s that?”), so the foundational knowledge was helpful when talking about the work I’d done in the past, as well as in the first few months of being on the job.

Additionally, as a student, you deal with a lot of different personalities from a variety of backgrounds and not all of those personalities have technology backgrounds. Getting experience navigating the waters of instructional design with people outside my specific area was good practice for the job I’m doing now. While many people are happy to listen to and go with what a designer has to say, others do want additional information on why you’re making the design choices you are. Having had to explain or clarify design concepts in my classes gave me a leg up on doing so out in the working world.

What would you tell incoming/current students?

If you’re new to the world of instructional design and technology, start thinking about what you want to do within the field. You’ll learn a lot of foundational knowledge about education and how people learn in the program, and you’ll get familiar with the technical jargon, but there are a variety of ways to apply that knowledge out in the world and a varying set of skills for each area. Having an idea of where you want to be so you can direct your individual studies in that direction is immensely helpful for your future career.

Erica Echols

Student Spotlight: Erica Echols

Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

Erica is currently seeking her PhD in educational psychology and research with the Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement program. Originally from Blairs, VA, she graduated with her BS in chemistry at North Carolina A&T State University in 2005 and an MS in environmental science and policy at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in 2009. She joined the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and EPC in 2016. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

  • UT Graduate Student Senate Travel Award, Fall 2017


  • Echols, E., Ladd, R., Parlier, R. T., Osborne, J. D. (2018). Distance learning in evaluation, statistics, and measurement: Synchronous & asynchronous – A guide to merging your life as an evaluation doctoral student and distance learner. Roundtable presentation submitted for the American Evaluation Association National Conference, 2018, Cleveland, OH (under review).
  • Osborne, J. D., Ladd, R., Parlier, R. T., Echols, E. (2017). Am I a student? Am I an evaluator? I’m both! – A guide to merging your life as a professional evaluator and evaluation doctoral student. Roundtable presentation at the American Evaluation Association National Conference, 2017, Washington, D.C.
  • Echols, E. (2016). Outcomes evaluation proposal for the Program for Excellence and Equity in Research (PEER). Poster presentation given for EDPY 533 Program Evaluation Fall 2016 at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • Echols, E. (2016). Survey of best practices for graduate recruitment of underrepresented minorities (URM) in STEM at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Poster presentation given for EDPY 583 Survey Research.

Erica Echols presenting at SECME

Current Occupation

Recruitment & Communication Specialist
Program for Excellence & Equity in Research
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Erica currently works as the recruitment and communications specialist for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville NIH funded graduate and training fellowship program, Program for Excellence and Equity in Research.

Personal Interests

I enjoy being active in the community. I volunteer with various programs that introduce urban youth to science, science careers, and higher education. I also enjoy playing a variety of musical instruments.

Future/Vocational Goals

My goals are to continue to learn frameworks that are applicable not only in my current position but also in future higher education pursuits. My interest in evaluation and assessment stems from work experience in gauging the impact and progress of students matriculating through various programs I’ve worked with in higher education. As I continue to grow my skills in statistical analysis and program evaluation, my long-term career goal is to own and operate my own consulting firm supporting external evaluations for various higher education, public service, and non-profit entities.

What sold you on this program?

I work full time here at UT and was looking for a doctoral program that aligns with my research interests in evaluation and assessment in higher education, with special interest in understanding workforces that lead to student success in STEM. The Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement program was a perfect fit for me and my interests.

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

While it is important to begin with the end in mind, be sure to enjoy the journey.

GOI Hosts Inaugural Camp Aliya

This was the inaugural year for Grief Outreach Initiative’s (GOI) Camp Aliya. The camp was named after the little girl who started it all – the child Dean Rider read to one year around Mother’s Day. Her mother had died, and Dean Rider was so struck by her and by the needs of children, especially in Title I schools who might need help with grief, but couldn’t access mental health services. This inspired him to create GOI in 2008. Laura Wheat, assistant professor, became the coordinator of GOI in 2014.

At Camp Aliya, children spent their time in small and large groups, outside, and being involved in music, arts, and crafts. Here are some of their activities:

  • They constructed and guided each other through obstacle courses made of yarn, relating the difficulties of the course to the grieving process and discussing the role of others in helping you get through the process.
  • Campers played sorting games to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful coping behaviors.
  • They had the opportunity to depict their story of grief however they wanted. Some children wrote stories, other drew pictures, then if they were comfortable they shared them with the group.
  • The children made body drawings in chalk to label different feelings they have related to their grief.
  • Campers wrote down things they felt afraid to share on pieces of paper, crumbled them into balls, and threw them back and forth. They talked about what it was like for others to physically hold our fears and troubles. After they were comfortable, everyone anonymously opened one of the balled up fears to read allowed, and they found that many of the fears were similar, despite different stories.

Camp Aliya Staff

Wheat ran Camp Aliya with 10 other staff members comprised who are current students, recent alumni, and/or community members. Wheat explained, “We intentionally kept the camp small and time-limited this year to make sure we knew what we were doing! I hope very much to secure grant funding to keep it going annually and expand from elementary-age kids to any school-age kid. I also hope that in the future we can develop and implement a trauma-focused therapeutic element as well, perhaps based on Allison Salloum’s work (Grief and Trauma in Children: An Evidence-Based Treatment Manual).”

“I am so thankful to be in a place that is supportive of programming that focuses on child and adolescent grief. It still feels a little bit magical to me, even four years later, that I get to do this work.”

When asked how it felt to to initiate and complete Camp Aliya, Wheat said the following: “It felt AMAZING!!  It was a really daunting task, and it felt at times like climbing a mountain.  But I was lucky to have Jillian Blueford, Counselor Education student, who was a huge help.  She and I designed and implemented the whole thing together, so seeing it run those two days was incredible. We had the best, most energetic, creative, and heart-filled staff, and such great care from the folks at Pond Gap.  I took some of the staff out for celebratory apps at Fieldhouse Social afterwards to thank them for their commitment and enthusiasm. However small it was with only 11 campers, I know we put some good in the world, and that’s what matters most to me. I could see some of the campers really benefiting. I even heard an anecdote via Jillian the other day, who reported that one of the campers’ caregivers had told her that he still wears the support bracelet he made at camp and talks about it all the time.”

To see photos from the inaugural Camp Aliya, check out the EPC Facebook page! Also, keep an eye out for the next edition of Accolades for an in-depth story about Camp Aliya.