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School Psychology PhD

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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 2018, over ten percent of applicants were not matched with an APA-accredited internship.

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


Kendall B. Hauck
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Sweetwater City Schools

What was the application process like?
The application process was somewhat complex because I had to be really diligent and organized in order to keep up with all of my clinical hours, school-based hours, and specific demographic information of the clients that I saw/with whom I worked. Thankfully, our program set us up to be successful by devoting an entire class to preparing us for the application process. Also, from day one of the program to year four, we were regularly encouraged to diligently track our hours so that we would be ready.

How do you feel about being matched?
I’m happy and thankful, because one of my career goals is to become a licensed psychologist. We were also strongly encouraged to complete our internship year at an APA-accredited internship

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
I will act as a school psychologist at my internship site. I view this as “on-the-job training,” since I want to eventually work in a school district in Tennessee. I also find it very comforting that I will have a lot of supervision at this site.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?
I fell in love with Tennessee after spending so many years in this state. Also, I am planning to settle down in Nashville since that is where my fiancé is working.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I think that this will be a good opportunity for me. I look forward to applying the skills that I have learned so far in a new setting that resembles the kind of work that I want to do once I complete my internship.


Pete Ignacio
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Anderson County School District

What was the application process like?
The application process was stressful and complicated. There were a lot of details to go through, and a ton of deadlines to meet. However, Merilee McCurdy, associate professor, teaches a course where we completed every step of the way together as a cohort. The course was incredibly helpful and I can’t imagine being in a program without that support.

How do you feel about being matched?
It feels great. Being matched with an APA-accredited internship gives us the most amount of options as we start our careers. Completeing a non-APA internship wouldn’t be taking full advantage of the program here at UT.

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
I’ll be doing assessment and consultation at an elementary school. There’s a big need for behavioral consultation both for specific students and classrooms, as well as school and district wide interventions.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?
I feel great about staying in Tennessee. Knoxville has really grown on me and I’m looking forward to staying a little bit longer. Plus, my wife has a job here with UT so staying local so she could keep her job was a big priority.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’m really excited, a good friend of mine is currently at the site I’ll be at come the fall, so we can have a really well coordinated hand-off. I think it’ll be a great opportunity to continue working on some projects that were started last year, and to go in my own direction as well.


Maya Mingo
Louisiana School Psychology Internship Consortium
Tangipahoa Parish School System

 

 

What was the application process like?
The application process was a real rollercoaster drop! It required a lot of organization and detail, but was also very fun and anxiety inducing! Considering all that was required, I felt that Merilee McCurdy’s, associate professor, timeline and oversight made getting all the required materials in order a lot less stressful. However, traveling to different states and catching multiple flights during the winter months certainly can take a toll on your nerves! Overall, I enjoyed traveling to new places, meeting new people, and learning that our program had truly prepared me to succeed during this process.

How do you feel about being matched?
I am delighted and overjoyed to be matched with an APA-accredited internship site. Not only that, but I was also matched with my top choice! It doesn’t get much better than that! During the application and interview process, it’s so easy to psych yourself out and start fearing that you won’t match anywhere at all. In the end, though, everything worked out perfectly for me, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome!

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
During my internship year in Louisiana, I will in many ways serve in the traditional role of a school psychologist at three different schools. As such, I will serve as a member of a Pupil Appraisal Team. My roles on this team will include administering assessments to determine eligibility for special education services, providing psychological services for students whose IEPs require them, assisting with behavioral interventions, and attending collaboration and consultation meetings with multidisciplinary teams within the schools.

How do you feel about moving to Louisiana?
I’m ecstatic to have been matched to an internship site in Louisiana! Especially because I had already lived there for 12 years before attending grad school at UT. I have so many great friends and so much support already available to me in that area that I can’t imagine a better place to be able to bring closure to this final leg of my doctoral journey.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’m just looking forward to building upon the great foundation of knowledge that has already been imparted to me by my professors and supervisors at the University of Tennessee. I hope to make them proud and to serve as a positive reflection of our School Psychology program.


Kala Taylor

Kala Taylor
Nebraska Internship Consortium in Professional Psychology
Boys Town Behavioral Health Clinic

 

 

What was the application process like?
It was just like applying to graduate school, lots of paperwork!

How do you feel about being matched?
Very happy, it will also make the licensure process much easier!

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
My placement is in the Boys Town Residential Track, so most of my time will be spent conducting individual and family therapy with youth with a wide variety of referral concerns. I will also be facilitating group therapy and providing consultation to Boys Town staff.

How do you feel about moving to Nebraska?
Both nervous and excited. Omaha is a neat city; I’m excited about the opportunity to explore a new place and grateful I get to return home to Knoxville after my year there.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I am thankful to have matched with an internship that will allow me to expand my clinical skills. Additionally, I am so grateful for the strong training I received through UT, and the amazing mentors who encouraged me and helped me to achieve my goals.


Victoria Vanmaaren

Victoria VanMaaren
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Lenoir City Schools

 

 

What was the application process like?
Applying and interviewing for internships was definitely stressful when combined with a busy year – despite the stress, though, I felt incredibly supported by our faculty as well as my cohort. I always had someone to talk to about any detail of the process and I can’t say enough about everyone’s support!

How do you feel about being matched?
It feels incredible! Throughout my time at UT, I have always had matching with an APA-accredited internship and becoming a licensed psychologist as a goal, and it feels great to be one step closer.

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
I will have a traditional school-based placement, which involves completing initial evaluations and re-evaluations for special education services and consulting with teachers and other school staff.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?
I have absolutely fallen in love with Knoxville during my time here, and I’m overjoyed to be staying here. I can’t imagine going through this process anywhere else with anyone else!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’m excited to get started! Also I’d like to give a shout out to everyone who has supported me through this journey – I couldn’t have done it without any of you! Let the journey begin!