Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Alumni Spotlight

Learning Environments &
Educational Studies

Jian earned a PhD in education with the Learning Environments and Educational Studies program in 2016. She is originally from Wuhan in the Hubei province of the People’s Republic of China 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

Instructional Design Specialist
Office of Information Technology (OIT)
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

As an instructional designer and developer, I work closely with faculty to create instructional materials, courses, and curricula within traditional and online learning environments. I also develop and deliver training and workshop sessions on instructional strategies and current technologies and software for students, staff, and faculty for both face-to-face and online teaching environments. In addition, I provide leadership for implementing strategies to incorporate emerging and OIT-supported technologies into teaching and learning.

Accomplishments since Graduating


  • Waugh, M., & Su, J. (2016). Student perceptions of a successful online collaborative learning community. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 14(1), 1-16.
  • Waugh, M., & Su, J. (2015). Online instructional program design: One size may not fit the needs of all. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 16(1), 1-10.
  • Waugh, M., & Su, J. (2014). Student persistence and attrition in an online M.S. program: Implications for program design. International Journal on E-Learning, 13(1), 101-121.
Accomplishments Earned as a Student

Travis Hawk Fellowship
– For outstanding academic credentials and success in academic journey; August 2011 – July 2012

Graduate Certificate in Evaluation, Statistics, & Measurement
– Certificate obtained in Fall 2013

Personal Interests

I am from China. I love traveling and back in the day was a college backpacker. I have lived in three continents across the world (Asia, Europe, and North America).

In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, reading, and music. Karaoke is one of my favorite things to do with friends. I also spend time at the gym, working out, a couple of times every week.

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

I greatly appreciate the guidance and support from my awesome advisor and mentor, Michael Waugh, my committee members, Barbara Thayer-Bacon, Schuyler Huck, and Blanche O’Bannon, and all of the great faculty members and colleagues in the department. This program taught me so much and fully prepared me for a successful career in the instructional design field.

What was the most memorable experience?

My most memorable experience during the program was the great feeling of belonging among my peers. I learned a lot through collaborating with different groups of peers. We shared conference trips and enjoyed stress-relief social gatherings together. It was such a valuable experience to have gone through the journey with a group of scholars bonding with one another.

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

The programs in EPC have so much to offer. My advice is to set academic goals at the early stage and grab the wonderful opportunities for learning and professional growth along your journey in the program.

“Looking back, I feel fortunate to have made the right choice to have joined this wonderful program. I graduated with some most cherished memories in my life. Now, I am so happy to be back and become a proud member of the UT campus again.”

Alumni Spotlight: Stracee Robinson
Applied Educational Psychology

Stracee earned an MS in educational psychology with the Applied Educational Psychology program in 2015. She is originally from, and currently lives in, Chattanooga, TN. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Academic Completion Specialist
Chattanooga State Community College
Social and Behavioral Sciences Division
Chattanooga, TN

In my role, I help to ensure students persist to complete their degree or certificate.

Accomplishments since Graduating

I have a sincere interest in serving students at the collegiate level, and my current position at Chattanooga State is my first step on that journey. I would say that this is my greatest professional accomplishment.

Personal Interests

I enjoy all of the arts and trying new foods, but by far I love sending time with my family. They are just super cool people!

Stracee Robinson and family

What sold you on this program?

The synchronous online format sold me on the program. I was grateful for the opportunity to learn via online, but even more so once I knew I would be able to interact with my instructors and classmates.

What was the most memorable experience?

My most memorable experience was in clinical assistant professor Cathy Hammon’s class. In addition to visiting the Highlander Center, she introduced me to the work of Asa Hilliard. Throughout my education, not one teacher had ever explored a black psychologist in any psychology course I had taken. I want her to know how much that touched my soul and opened my mind to a beautiful perspective.

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

My experience as an EdPsych Online student has heightened my awareness of creating environments conducive to reciprocal learning. It has helped me to be concise when communicating, and to be more in tune to issues and concerns that effect how students learn. All things that I use both professionally and personally.

“Love and light to all that have been and will be a part of the EdPsych Online program at UT!”

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.

Alumni Spotlight: Anthony Capers

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.”

Instructional Technology

Lisa earned an MS in education with a concentration in the Instructional Technology, or IT Online, program in 2015. We asked her to reflect on past experiences with EPC and discuss where she’s at now. Read her responses below.

Current Occupation

Information & Technology Manager / Consultant III
Municipal Technical Advisory Service
Institute for Public Service
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN

I provide IT consulting and professional development opportunities to Tennessee municipal governments in the areas of cyber security and data assurance. I develop and maintain multiple databases for our internal processes and am responsible for our website.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student
  • Phi Kappa Phi – 2015
Accomplishments since Graduating

A colleague and I presented at the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2016. The presentation, “Building Lifelong Learning Skills through Peer-Supported Formative Assessment”, came directly from a class project. This was my first academic paper presentation and I was thrilled to see the number of attendees at the session. Gaining feedback and insight from others really enhanced my experience as a presenter.

Personal Interests

I am finishing my second year as a doctoral student in the LEEDS (Learning Environments and Educational Studies) program and I don’t have a lot of free time. The time I do have is prioritized for my family and my health. I have a blast spending time with my sons and watching them discover their passions in life. I also enjoy time at the gym and working to improve my physical strength and endurance. Plus its a great stress reducer!

What sold you on this program?

My department began looking at providing online courses to our customers in 2011/12. We wanted to enable municipal officials, who were not available to attend a daytime face-to-face training class, professional development opportunities. Going online seemed the way to go. I started the IT master’s program to increase my knowledge about educational theory, online learning, and assessment. I was sold on the IT program when I discovered that I could attend online and be home in the evenings with my children. I thought it was fitting that a program about IT was offered online – we were learning in the same format as we would be teaching!

What would you tell an incoming student in the program?

I would tell an incoming IT Online student to take advantage of each and every opportunity to collaborate with your peers and your professors. I learned so much from others during my program and established relationships that I will continue for many years to come.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I had been out of school for a very long time when I began the IT Online program. I never would have guessed that my desire to learn how I might best implement online learning at work would turn into a six year academic career resulting in multiple degrees. I developed a love for learning new skills in an academic setting and taking on new challenges. When associate professor, Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, mentioned the LEEDS program to our IT cohort, I realized that I did not want my academic career to end and spoke with her about what it would take to become a student in the doctoral program. I have discovered that I thoroughly enjoy the academic environment, the challenge of producing valuable research, and would like to teach at the college level in the future. This is far from my starting goal yet my experiences in EPC have led me to a new understanding of what I’d like to do next in my career.

“The IT Online program is fabulous and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in online learning.”

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