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The Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling wants to congratulate the graduates from ten of our programs who earned their degrees during the fall 2016 semester.

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

**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.

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.”

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Emily earned an MS in counseling with a concentration in the Mental Health Counseling program in 2009. Originally from Irmo, SC, she now 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

Outpatient Clinician
Helen Ross McNabb Therapy Center
Knoxville, TN

The Therapy Center provides individual and family services including trauma related treatment for individuals of all ages, in particular survivors of childhood sexual abuse, as well as other forms of abuse and neglect. I provide therapy for the child and adolescent referrals. I also coordinate the services provided under the Project Against the Sexual Abuse of Appalachian Children (PASAAC) grant we receive through United Way, which includes the facilitation of a psycho-educational support group for Non-Offending Parents and caregivers of children who have been sexually abused and other forms of community outreach.

Awards and Accomplishments Earned as a Student

I presented with Marianne Woodside and other selected students “It’s all about me: Viewing adolescent challenges through case studies” at the Smoky Mountain Counseling Association conference in September of 2008. I also served as secretary of Chi Sigma Iota in April of 2008 – 2009.

Accomplishments since Graduating

I recently participated in the “Child Sexual Abuse-Awareness, Prevention, and Response” video through my work with the Community Coalition to Protect Children, which was created by the Knox County School District to be used for training purposes with the Knox County School teachers.

Personal Interests

I love watching football, do it yourself projects, being outside and spending time with my dog, Folly. I got married to a good ole Tennessee boy at the end of October, and we hope to eventually re-locate to Charleston, SC with the rest of my family.

What sold you on this program?

What initially sold me on this program was the fact that the focus was on mental health counseling, instead of “community counseling” which was the title given to the degree at the other universities I was considering. I also realized that while it was a longer program, I was going to graduate fully prepared and certified to start my career as a counselor. However, I have to say that more important than what sold me on the program was what kept me in the program, which was the family type atmosphere created with the other individuals in my cohort, and the belief that the professors truly cared about me and wanted me to succeed.

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

I think that the most rewarding/challenging part of the program was finding and defining myself as an individual, as well as a mental health counselor. It can be quite the daunting task to examine and challenge personally held beliefs and values, however it is a necessary task in order for one to develop a sense of self and where this self fits into the counseling profession.

Did you end up where you thought you would?

I thought I would be working with adults at this point in my career, in particular criminal offenders because in school that was where my interests lay. I thought that I could never work with children because it would just be too hard. However, my job led me to families which ultimately caused my supervisor and myself to come to the conclusion that I have an uncanny ability to reach and work with children. I am glad that the program provided me with enough education and sense to see that children and adolescents who have experienced abuse and neglect was my true calling, many of whom without the help face a higher probability of turning to a life of crime.

There is a certain sense of pride you feel when you come across another person who has been through the program, and the question that usually follows is “Spurgeon, Diambra, or Cochran?”

The Professional Orientation and Ethics poster presentation session is on November 15th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the second floor Claxton Atrium.

MS students from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs will present of the following topics: Confidentiality for Minors in K-12 Schools, Implications of Reporting Child Abuse on the Therapeutic Relationship, B.2.C. and HIV Ethics and Effectiveness of Online Counseling, and Ethical and Legal Implications of Counseling Through End-of-Life Decisions.

R. Steve McCallum, professor in School Psychology, was one of eight honored with the 2016 Alumni of Distinction Award by the University of Georgia (UGA) Graduate School.

McCallum was recognized for co-founding and acting as consulting editor for the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, serving as an officer in school psychology organization at the state and national level, and being elected as a Fellow of the American Psychology Association.

McCallum,Steve_1“Receiving the Alumni of Distinction Award from UGA is very special. Over the years, I have learned to appreciate the start I received at UGA; the education was excellent, and I was fortunate to establish lifelong friends and co-workers while a student there. To know that the university also appreciates my contributions provides amazing validation of my work and the efforts from excellent students and colleagues who collaborated with me over the years. This recognition would not have occurred with their strong commitment to shared goals and outcomes.”

The UGA Graduate School explains that recipients of this award must be recognized in their professional fields at the regional, national, and international levels as evidenced by publications and awards received, served as mentors and role models in their profession, and contributed to their local and global communities.