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Kala Taylor


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!

 


Jennifer Moralejo at GSS Awards

photo contributed by the Graduate School

Jennifer Moralejo | Excellence in Teaching

Jennifer is a PhD Candidate in the Counselor Education program and a Graduate Teaching Associate for COUN 480 – Skills for Counseling. She said, “I am honored by this award, it is rewarding to be recognized for something you truly enjoy. The department faculty have been excellent mentors and role models in teaching. It has been an honor to learn from them and have them be such a huge part of my development as an instructor.”

This award is given to graduate teaching assistants/associates for extraordinary performance in teaching.


Erin Garty | Excellence in Service

Erin is a PhD Student in the Learning Environments and Educational Studies program and has been working with UT Service-Learning since 2014 and has served on the Graduate Student Advisory Board the last two years. She said, “I am grateful for this award. It’s wonderful to receive recognition for meaningful work.”

This award is presented to graduate students who are extraordinary campus leaders or participate in service learning and other community initiatives.


Kala Taylor at GSS Awards

photo contributed by the Graduate School

Kala Taylor | Excellence in Research

Kala is a PhD Candidate in the School Psychology program and focuses her research on reading interventions and diversity issues. She said, “I am honored to receive this award, and so grateful for the strong mentors who have encouraged me to grow as a researcher during my time at UT.”

This award is presented to graduate students who have received national and/or international recognition in their fields and show professional promise in their areas of research and creative achievement.


School Psychology

Kala is currently seeking her PhD with the School Psychology program. Originally from Asheville, NC, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with her BS in psychology at Millsaps College and earned an MS with the Applied Educational Psychology program here at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She joined School Psychology in 2014. We asked her to reflect on some past and current experiences. Read her responses below.

Awards

National

  • American Academy of School Psychology Memorial Scholarship for Research (2016): Awarded annually to five deserving doctoral students in school psychology.
  • National Association of School Psychologists Graduate Student Research Grant (2015): Awarded annually to three students who demonstrate exceptional ability to conduct high-quality research that furthers the mission and goals of NASP and has the potential to impact the field positively.

University

  • Chancellor’s Fellowship (2014-2018): A four year, merit-based fellowship awarded annually by the Office of the Chancellor to two incoming graduate students per college.
  • University of Tennessee 3 Minute Thesis (3MT©) Semifinalist (2017): 3MT© is a research communication competition in which participants have three minutes and a single slide to present their research to a lay audience.
  • Chancellor’s Citation for Extraordinary Professional Promise (2016): Awarded by the Office of the Chancellor to graduate students for professional promise in teaching, research, or other contributions.
  • Shipley-Swann Fellowship (2014): A one year fellowship awarded by the graduate school to students who demonstrate academic excellence.

Accomplishments

Roles/Positions

  • President, UT School Psychology Association 2016-2017
  • School Psychology Student Representative, Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling 2015-2016
  • GRA, School Psychology program faculty 2014-2016

Refereed Journal Publications

  • Cazzell, S., Taylor, K., Skinner, C., McCurdy, M., Skinner, A., Ciancio, D., Beeson, T., & Cihak, D. (2017). Evaluating a computer flashcard reading intervention with self-determined response intervals in a post-secondary student with intellectual disability. Journal of Evidence-Based Practice in the Schools, 16(1), 74-94.
  • Cazzell, S., Skinner, C., Taylor, K. (2017). Implementing computer flashcard reading with self-determined intervals. Journal of Evidence-Based Practice in the Schools, 16(1), 95-100.
  • Cazzell, S., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., Aspiranti, K., Watson, T., Taylor, K., McCurdy, M., & Skinner, A. (2016). Evaluating a computer flashcard sight-word recognition intervention with self-determined response intervals in elementary students with intellectual disability. School Psychology Quarterly. Advance online publication.

Symposiums

  • Taylor, K., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., Turnbull, S., Ruddy, J., Beeson, T., & Skinner, A. (2016, October). Altering text to make it disfluent hinders sight-word acquisition in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Computer-delivered learning trials to enhance sight word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Tennessee Association for Behavioral Analysis 19th Annual Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • Turnbull, S., Taylor, K., Beeson, T., McCurdy, M., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., & Skinner, A. (2016, October). Allowing students to self-determine response intervals during computer-based S-R-S-R learning trials. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Computer-delivered learning trials to enhance sight word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Tennessee Association for Behavioral Analysis 19th Annual Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • Gibbons, S., Ryan, K., Taylor, K., Beeson, T., Turnbull, S., Skinner, C., Cianico, D. & Skinner, A. (2016, October). Self-determined versus fixed 1-s and 5-s response intervals. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Computer-delivered learning trials to enhance sight word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Tennessee Association for Behavioral Analysis 19th Annual Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • Taylor, K., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., Turnbull, S., Ruddy, J., & Beeson, T. (2016, May). The effects of perceptual dysfluency on sight-word acquisition rates in a post-secondary student with intellectual disabilities. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Enhancing word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 42nd Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.
  • Turnbull, S., Taylor, K., McCurdy, M., Skinner, C., Ciancio, D., & Beeson, T. (2016, May). Evaluating a computer flashcard reading intervention with self-determined response intervals in a post-secondary student with intellectual disabilities. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Enhancing word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 42nd Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.
  • Ryan, K., Gibbons, S., Taylor, K., Beeson, T., Turnbull, S., Skinner, C., & Ciancio, D. (2016, May). Evaluating and comparing computer flashcard reading interventions: Self-determined response intervals verses fast and slow computer paced. In C. H. Skinner (Chair), Enhancing word reading in post-secondary students with Intellectual Disability. Symposium conducted at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 42nd Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.

Paper Presentations

  • Moore, T., Daniels, S., Eshbaugh, J., Gordon, J., Kirkpatrick, B., O’Reilly, C., Taylor, K., & Wright, S. (2017, October). Supporting effective classroom management and behavior management practices: Reports from school staff and implications for the behavior analyst. Paper submitted for presentation at the Tennessee Association for Behavioral Analysis 20th Annual Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • DeZutter, S., Taylor, K., Hewlett, A., & Hoskin, S. (2015, April). Where do we go from here?
    Questions raised by student-perceived incongruities between research on self-regulation and practices encountered at a high-poverty school. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

Poster Presentations

  • Taylor, K., Skinner, C. H., Ciancio, D., Krider, S., Gibbons, S., Ruddy, J. & Ryan, K. (2017, August). Effects of foreign names on elementary students’ reading comprehension and comprehension rate. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.
  • Taylor, K., Gibbons, S., Ryan, K., Ruddy, J., Turnbull, S., Skinner, C. H., & Beeson, T. (2017, August). Perceptual fluency and word acquisition in students with disabilities. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Washington, DC.
  • Taylor, K., Skinner, C., Cazzell, S., Ruddy, J., Ciancio, D., Cihak, D., & Beeson, T. (2016, February). Perceptual disfluency and learning in a FUTURE student with Intellectual Disability. Poster presented at the University of Tennessee Gallery of Excellence, Knoxville, TN.
  • Cazzell, S., Taylor, K., Skinner, C., McCurdy, M., Skinner, A., Ciancio, D., Beeson, T., & Cihak, D. (2016, February). Evaluating a computer flashcard reading intervention with self-determined response intervals in a post-secondary student with Intellectual Disability. Poster presented at the University of Tennessee Gallery of Excellence, Knoxville, TN.
  • Gibbons, S., Ryan, K., Skinner, C., Taylor, K., Beeson, T., Ciancio, D., & Cazzell, S. (2016, February). Expanding research on a computer-based flashcard reading intervention with a post-secondary student in the FUTURE Program. Poster presented at the University of Tennessee Gallery of Excellence, Knoxville, TN.
  • Taylor, K., Cazzell, S., Ruddy, J., Skinner, C. H., Ciancio, D., Cihak, D., & Beeson, T.
    (2016, February). Disfluency and sight-word learning in a student with Intellectual Disabilities. Poster presented at the National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention, New Orleans, LA.
  • Taylor, K., Ruddy, J., Cazzell, S., Skinner, C. H. (2015, November). Investigating the effects of flashcard text fluency on learning. Poster presented at the Mid-South Conference for Psychology in the Schools, Murfreesboro, TN.
  • Taylor, K., Ciancio, D., Ruddy, J., & Skinner, C. H. (2015, August). Correlating WCPM with
    reading comprehension and global reading ability. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, Canada.
  • Taylor, K., Scott, K., Turnbull, S., & Watson, T. (2015, August). The effectiveness of readability
    formulas as predictors of oral reading fluency. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, Canada.
  • Taylor, K., Ciancio, D., & Ruddy, J. (2014, November). Correlating WCPM with the Woodcock
    Johnson passage comprehension subtest and broad reading cluster in a sample of first- through third-grade students. Poster presented at the Mid-South Conference for Psychology in the Schools, Chattanooga, TN.

See Curriculum Vita for additional details.

Current Occupation

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

TBSP provides technical assistance (i.e., training, consulting, and external coaching) to East Tennessee public schools and districts to develop, implement, and sustain continuums of positive behavioral interventions and supports within an RTI2-B framework.

Personal Interests

I am an aerialist, so I spend several hours a week training on fabrics, and recently, lyra. In my free time I enjoy gardening, traveling, working on my house, and spending time with my partner and family. I have four wonderful pets that bring incredible joy to my life. I am the proud daughter of a veterinarian, and it shows. I can find an animal in need anywhere and am actively involved in rescue and trap-neuter-return efforts.

Future/Vocational Goals

I plan to obtain my Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential and then pursue licensure. I enjoy working in both school and clinical settings, and I want to have the option to do either. I decided to pursue a degree in school psychology because I wanted to help diverse children and families from low-socioeconomic status backgrounds. That is still my primary goal, but I haven’t decided exactly what it will look like in practice yet.

What sold you on this program/department/university?

Initially, I applied to UT because of an article I read citing Chris Skinner as one of the most published authors in the field of school psychology. I was interested in his research on reading and thought we would be a good fit. I was also impressed by the efficiency of the program. Students tend to finish in five years and defend their dissertations before internship; I didn’t find those things at the other universities where I interviewed. There was better funding available at UT than most of the other programs I was interested in, and the graduate students I met at interviews seemed to have a healthy work/life balance. I also wanted to move closer to my parents, and I have family in Knoxville.

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

Get things done before the deadline. Learning to do things early will put you ahead, free up time for other endeavors, and relieve so much stress. Also, be your own advocate. Look for opportunities outside of your program. You are in charge of your own success.


Extraordinary Community Service
For students and student organizations that exhibit the Volunteer spirit in the community.

Janine Al-AseerJanine Al-Aseer
PhD Student in Learning Environments & Educational Studies

“I am deeply honored to receive the award and credit the amazing team and cohort I have to work with. I thank John Peters for the nomination!”


UT Alumni Association Public Service
Honors a faculty or staff member whose work has made a significant impact on the Knoxville-area community.

Bob KronickRobert Kronick
Professor in School Counseling & Cultural Studies of Educational Foundations

“This award represents the work of a lot of people.”

 


Extraordinary Professional Promise
Honors awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions.

Wenshu Li

Wenshu Li
PhD Candidate in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

 

 


Research and Creative Achievement
Given to senior faculty in recognition of excellence in research, scholarship, and creative achievement.

Steve McCallumR. Steve McCallum
Professor in School Psychology

“During my tenure at the University of Tennessee I have been blessed to work with many talented students and colleagues. The Research and Creative Achievement Award is a tribute to these collaborators; it is as much theirs as it is mine!!”


Excellence in Teaching
Bestowed by the Office of the Chancellor and the Teaching Council of the Faculty Senate to honor outstanding work in the classroom.

Jennifer Ann MorrowJennifer Ann Morrow
Associate Professor in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

“I’m incredibly grateful to all of my awesome students who nominated me. Teaching is the best part of my job and I strive to get students as excited about statistics as much as I am.”


Extraordinary Professional Promise
Honors awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions.

Everett PainterEverett Painter
PhD Student in Counselor Education

“I have a great deal of respect for our program faculty. The fact they were comfortable in nominating me is gratifying and means a lot to me. This is a result of their investment and support as much as anything else.”


Extraordinary Professional Promise
Honors awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions.

Kala TaylorKala Taylor
PhD Student in School Psychology
“I am honored to receive this award.”

 

 


Extraordinary Professional Promise
Honors awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions.

Lakmal Walpitage, ESM graduateLakmal Walpitage
PhD Candidate in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

 

 


To see photos of our recent award recipients, please go to the “EPC Award Winners” album on our EPC Facebook page.

*Award descriptions listed from Chancellor’s Honors Banquet program and website.


NASP Grant_Talyor, KalaKala Taylor, School Psychology PhD student, was awarded a Graduate Student Research Grant by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

“I feel honored and excited to receive support to conduct research conducive to my goal of improving reading outcomes for children.”

Taylor was one of only three national winners who will be recognized at the NASP Annual Convention in February 2016 in New Orleans, LA. She will be awarded with $1000 to assist with conducting and disseminating her research. Taylor’s research will investigate the effect of diverse names in children’s literature on student reading. She said, “I think my application stood out because my research addresses a novel question related to multicultural education and reading, an important area in which there has been little empirical investigation.”

The Research Committee of the National Association of School Psychologists states that grants are awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional ability to conduct high-quality research that furthers the mission and goals of NASP, and has the potential to impact the field positively.

For additional information please see Taylor’s curriculum vita.

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