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All posts by Leigh Shoemaker


School Psychology

Renee earned a PhD with the School Psychology program in 2005. Originally from Assonet, MA, she currently lives in Cincinnati, OH. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Associate Professor & Program Coordinator
School Psychology Program
University of Cincinnati (UC)

I conduct applied research in local schools identifying effective interventions to meet the needs of struggling students, particularly students with emotional and behavioral disorders; supervise graduate students completing practicum experiences; teach courses in academic assessment and intervention, behavior research methods, and disabilities and disorders in childhood; mentor doctoral students in research and professional practice; and provide leadership for the program, including coordinating accreditation.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student

As a student, I actively participated in research teams and was able to graduate with a strong publication record. I also took advantage of teaching opportunities to develop my skills as an instructor.

Accomplishments since Graduating

I am very proud of the contributions I have made to the School Psychology program at UC over the past 11 years. Through my role as program coordinator, I facilitated our program accreditation by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, expanded program-community partnerships and field placements for students, and helped revise the doctoral program to better align with national accreditation standards for training in professional psychology.

Personal Interests

I have been married to my husband, James, for over 12 years now and we have three little boys, ages 3, 6, and 8, who keep us very busy!

What sold you on this program/department/university?

When I visited UT as I was making my admissions decision, I was impressed with both the professional accomplishments of the faculty and the program climate. The faculty were all so welcoming, as were the students. It was clear that the program was collaborative, that faculty really knew and cared about the students, and that the students felt supported and were happy.

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

I would encourage students at UT to take advantage of all the opportunities that the program provides you! The faculty includes national figures in school psychology who have made significant scholarly contributions to the field. As a former student of Chris Skinner, Bob Williams, and Steve McCallum, and a professional colleague of Merilee McCurdy, I can attest that each is dedicated to sharing their expertise with you to help you grow professionally and meet your goals.

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

My experiences at UT prepared me not only for success on my pre-doctoral internship at Girls and Boys Town but also for my role as a faculty member. The program provided me with opportunities to develop my skills for psychological practice, teaching, and research – all of which are a part of my professional life. In particular, the research and teaching experiences I had as a doctoral student made me competitive for a faculty job upon graduation.

Personally, I made life-long friendships during graduate school and also met my husband! I always look forward to catching up with my cohort and we will always be connected by our experiences at UT.

“I am so grateful for the mentorship the faculty at UT provided to me as a student and that they continued to provide as I started my career. It is a top-notch program that open doors for graduates!”


Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

Sherry is currently seeking her PhD in educational psychology and research, with a concentration in the Evaluation, Statistics and Measurement (ESM) program. Originally from Kelso, WA, she received her BA in social science at Washington State University and her MPA in public administration at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She came to UT Knoxville, and joined EPC, in 2013. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Awards

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Travel Scholarship. Scholarship to attend annual meeting titled Higher Education at the Crossroads: Pathways to Equity and Excellence. 2016

Accomplishments

Nadel, S. & Marlow Ormsby, S. (2016, November). When an apple a day isn’t good enough: Designing a healthcare survey for rural populations. Paper for the International Conference on Questionnaire Design, Development, Evaluations, and Testing; Miami, FL.

Marlow Ormsby, S. & Cisney-Booth, A. (2016, October). Deepen your understanding using evaluative rubrics as a tool for evaluation capacity building. Skill Building Workshop for Paper for the annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association; Atlanta, GA.

Holcombe, J.M., Cowden, C. & Marlow Ormsby, S. (2016, October). Evaluation capacity building: Using problem based learning to develop critical thinking. Skill Building Workshop for Paper for the annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association; Atlanta, GA.

Marlow Ormsby, S. (2016, July). Employee engagement in higher education. Paper for the International Congress of Psychology; Yokohama, Japan.

Marlow Ormsby, S. (2016, July). Tennessee promise and first time freshman persistence scale: Understanding persistence at community colleges. Paper for the International Congress of Psychology; Yokohama, Japan.

Hiked Mt. Fuji while in Japan for the International Congress of Psychology Congress in 2016.

Current Occupation

Director of Measurement and Evaluation
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Office of Planning, Evaluation & Institutional Research

Personal Interests

I enjoy traveling with my husband, family, and friends. In addition to experiencing the culture and customs, I love to seek out adventure through hiking, white water rafting, and other outdoor activities. My fur baby, Morpheus, accompanies my on most journeys as well. To recharge my batteries, sun and sand is a must!

Future/Vocational Goals

First and foremost, I anticipate graduating in May 2017. Then, I’d like to continue my career working in Institutional Effectiveness advancing skills and gaining experience.

What sold you on this program?

The one thing that sold me on the ESM program is the diversity of skills learned that can be applied in a multitude of sectors. I have had the opportunity to deepen my understanding and abilities in statistics, obtain proficiency in measurement, and expand evaluation techniques. The full compliment has enabled me to obtain employment in my chosen field.

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

My advice to any new incoming student, in the ESM or any other graduate program, would be to try to find a work-life balance early in their program. Schedule time for yourself and not just school and work obligation.


EPC Facebook page.

Alyssa Michelle Adorati
MS in Educational Psychology – Applied Educational Psychology

John Lyman Ayers
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Rochelle Butler
PhD in Counselor Education

Lakita Renae Dawston
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Amanda Christine DeDiego
PhD in Counselor Education

Melisa Renee Donahue
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Brittany Harris Elkins
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Raven Kirby Gibson
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Emily Carter Gray
PhD in Educational Psychology and Research – Collaborative Learning

Melissa Ann Harness
PhD in Education – Learning Environments and Educational Studies

DeAnna Lynn Hawtin
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Shannon Rae Huffman Frias
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Lena Karin Logan
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Courtney Myers McInturff
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Stacy Lynn O’Connell
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Cory Lemont Parker
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Annalise Christine Romeiser
MS in Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling

Roseanne Michele Sasso
PhD in Education – Instructional Technology

Emily Pendergrast Taylor
PhD in School Psychology

Jason Tyler
MS in Education – Instructional Technology

Christina Valiquette
MS in Educational Psychology – Adult Education

Dammika Lakmal Walpitage
PhD in Educational Psychology and Research – Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

Kevin Wayne Webster
MS in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling

David Austin Willis
MS in Educational Psychology – Adult Education

*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 sclark41@utk.edu.

**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.


School Counseling

Sinead is currently seeking her MS in counseling, with a dual-track concentration in the School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. Originally from Knoxville, TN, she received her BS in child and family studies and psychology at UT Knoxville, and joined EPC in 2015. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Accomplishments

Volunteering at Pond Gap Community School: I created and lead a counseling group for children with incarcerated parents.

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Current Occupation

Youth Minister
Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan
Knoxville, TN

I am in my third year leading the youth programming at Good Samaritan. I coordinate educational, service, and recreational programs for the youth, and have implemented a social justice oriented curriculum that includes socially-responsible mission trips each summer.

Personal Interests

When I’m not at school I enjoy volunteering in the community (Children’s Hospital is my favorite!), spending time with friends exploring all the great things to do in Knoxville, and playing with my Italian Greyhound, Nelly.

Future/Vocational Goals

I hope to work with children who have experienced trauma and their families. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in the dual-track program here at UT, as it has offered me many different learning opportunities for working with children in elementary school, middle school, and community settings. One of the reasons I selected UT was the Grief Outreach Initiative and my experience with mentoring a grieving child was very influential.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

I applied to schools all over the country, but when it came down to my final decision, I was surprised to find that UT had more of the components I was looking for than any other school. The dual-track option was very important to me, as I know I want to work with children, but I am interested in having the holistic view of both school and community settings. I was surprised to find that many of the schools I was interested in did not offer this, and I kept realizing how unique UT was in offering this option. Additionally, the Grief Outreach Initiative and the graduate certificate in Grief, Loss, and Trauma was appealing. I plan to work with children experiencing those very issues, and having this certificate so easily available in the program was another draw. Finally, the opportunities to work with the University-Assisted Community Schools in the area was something that really made UT stand out. Having the opportunity to volunteer in local high-need schools and to really put my skills into practice in the real world has been immensely beneficial for me as a counselor in training.

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

I would tell an incoming student to be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you through the program, department, and UT as a whole. There are so many events and activities that allow you to learn about a wide range of topics, connect with other students and faculty, and to engage with the community as a whole. Taking advantage of the many opportunities will allow you to stretch and challenge yourself, meet people who are different from you and to really make the most of your experience here. There is a lot you can learn at UT outside the classroom that will really inform the kind of counselor you will become.


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.”