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Merilee McCurdy


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Awards

Gary L. & Rebecca S. Blauser Endowed Faculty Support Award in Honor of Bob Rider, Dean
Awarded to recognize current and past accomplishments or future projects of one outstanding faculty member for excellence in teaching, research, and/or service efforts within any CEHHS area.

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

“What I love most about working at UT is I get to mentor an amazing, diverse group of graduate students as they become more proficient in research methodology. A profound thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Blauser for their support for this award in honor of Dean Rider. Thank you!”


Helen B. Watson Faculty/Student Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation
Awarded to a student and the faculty member who directed the outstanding doctoral dissertation within the departments of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; Educational Psychology and Counseling; Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies; or Theory and Practice in Teacher Education.

Chris SkinnerChristopher H. Skinner
Professor in School Psycholgy

 

“I value this award because it recognizes collaborative research efforts. I spend a great deal of time working with students to develop their research skills. My time spent with Kala was the best of times.

It is nice that the college acknowledges these efforts and I hope there is even more emphasis placed on faculty mentoring their students in research.

I am humbled and scared (“Can I keep up with their dreams and aspirations?”) – when students like Kala come to work with me. I hope that they keep coming and pray that I can keep up.”

Kala TaylorKala Taylor
PhD Candidate in School Psychology

 

“I am honored to receive this award with Chris Skinner, professor, who has been my greatest academic advocate over the past five years. His dedication to mentoring me, writing with me, and teaching me has been invaluable to my career as a researcher and future psychologist. I am particularly delighted to receive recognition for this project, which is dear to my heart because of its potential to provide teachers with improved methods for presenting diverse learning material to their students.”


Recognition

Casey A. Barrio Minton
Professor & Program Coordinator for Clinical Mental Health Counseling

– Recognized under Presidents of National/International Professional Organizations for being President-Elect of Southern Association of Counselor Education & Supervision

– Recognized under Recipients of National/International Professional Awards for the American Counseling Association Fellow


Carolyn Blondin
Licensed Psychologist for the Korn Learning, Assessment & Social Skills Center

– Recognized under UT Faculty & Support Staff Service Awards for five years of service


Ralph G. Brockett
Professor in Adult Learning

– Recognized under UT Faculty & Support Staff Service Awards for 30 years of service


Beverly Cate
Accounting Specialist II

– Recognized under UT Faculty & Support Staff Service Awards for 25 years of service


Synthia Clark
Administrative Specialist I

– Recognized under UT Support Staff Awards & Certifications for the AECT Design & Development Competition Award


Lisa Crawford
Associate Director of the Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under Grants & Contracts Recipients as PI for the TDOE Summer Trainings, Tennessee Department of Education, $621,980


Stephanie Daniels
PhD Candidate in School Psychology

– Recognized under Grants & Contracts Recipients as PI for “Understanding students’ typing skills: Evaluating the effects and efficiency of a typing intervention for elementary school students,” Society for the Study of School Psychology, $5,000


David Fields
Program Manager/Event Manager of the Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under UT Faculty & Support Staff Service Awards for 10 years of service


Katherine H. Greenberg
Professor Emerita

– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books & Assessments Published 2018-2019 for Greenberg, K. H., Sohn, B. K., Greenberg, N. B., Pollio, H. R., Thomas, S. P., & Smith, J. T. (2019). The phenomenological heart of teaching and learning: Theory, research, and practice in higher education. New York, NY: Routledge.


Aaron Kohring
Director of the Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under Grants & Contracts Recipients as Co-PI for the TDOE Summer Trainings, Tennessee Department of Education, $621,980


Robert Kronick
Professor & Director of University-Assisted Community Schools

– Recognized under Grants & Contracts Recipients as PI for the University-Assisted Community Schools, United Way of Greater Knoxville via Catholic Charities, $125,000 of anticipated $375,000


R. Steve McCallum
Professor in School Psychology

– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publication for being Co-Founder and Consulting Editor of the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment

– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books & Assessments Published 2018-2019 for Bracken, B. A., & McCallum, R. S. (2018). Universal nonverbal intelligence test. Austin, TX: ProEd Publishing Company

– Recognized under Authors/Editors of Books & Assessments Published 2018-2019 for McCallum, R. S., & Bracken, B. A. (2018). Universal talented and gifted screener (UTAGS). Austin, TX: Prufrock Publishing Company


Merilee McCurdy
Associate Department Head, Associate Professor & Program Coordinator for School Psychology

– Recognized under Grants & Contracts Recipients as PI for “Understanding students’ typing skills: Evaluating the effects and efficiency of a typing intervention for elementary school students,” Society for the Study of School Psychology, $5,000


Lauren Moret
Assistant Professor in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

– Recognized under 2019 Chancellor’s Honors Awards for Excellence in Teaching


Jennifer Ann Morrow
Associate Professor in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

– Recognized under 2019 Chancellor’s Honors Awards for Excellence in Advising


Louis Rocconi
Assistant Professor in Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

– Recognized under Grants & Contracts Recipients as PI for “Measuring quality in legal education: Examining the relationship between law school rank and student engagement,” Association of Institutional Research, $50,000


Blaine Sample
Coordinator I of University-Assisted Community Schools

– Recognized under UT Faculty & Support Staff Service Awards for five years of service


Mike Sass
East TN Teaching Coordinator & Team Leader of the Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under 2018-2019 Faculty & Staff Retirements, 1996-2018


Gary J. Skolits
Associate Professor & Program Coordinator for Evaluation, Statistics & Measurement

– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publications for being Co-Editor of The Qualitative Review


Qi Sun
Associate Professor & Program Coordinator for Adult Learning

– Recognized under Editors/Co-Editors of Peer Reviewed Publications for being Co-Editor of Adult Education Quarterly
– Recognized under Recipients of National/International Professional Awards for the Outstanding Service Award by The American Association of Adult and Continuing Education


Christine Tidwell
Administrative Specialist III

– Recognized under UT Faculty & Support Staff Service Awards for 15 years of service


Connie White
Associate Director of the Center for Literacy, Education & Employment

– Recognized under 2018-2019 Faculty & Staff Retirements, 1990-2018


Brian Wilhoit
Director of the Korn Learning, Assessment & Social Skills Center

– Recognized under UT Faculty & Support Staff Service Awards for 10 years of service


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!

 


Internships accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) are highly sought out, yet a large number of applicants go unmatched. In 2017, almost twenty percent of applicants were not matched with an APA-accredited internship.

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


Carly Chwat

Carly Chwat
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Loudon, TN

 

 

What was the application process like?
We had great support from faculty and within our cohort, so it actually wasn’t too stressful! I enjoyed traveling around for interviews and meeting other psychology students.

How do you feel about being matched?
I’m very excited for the opportunity to participate in an APA internship, and to have the potential to become a licensed psychologist.

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
I will be in a fully school-based position in Sweetwater City Schools where I will work consulting with teachers and doing evaluations for students for special education. I actually did a practicum at Sweetwater my 1st year in the graduate program, so I’m very excited be be going back there. At that time, I was the student shadowing an intern, and now as an intern I’ll have students come and shadow me.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?
I’m thrilled to be staying in Tennessee! I would love to continue to stay connected to the university to do research and also to supervise future practicum students. Also now that I know I’m staying, I can work on getting my parents to retire up in East Tennessee!


Caroline Jaquett

Caroline Jaquett
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Loudon, TN

 

 

What was the application process like?
The application process was stressful, just due to all of the deadlines that co-occurred with an already busy school year. However, we were really supported throughout the entire process and I never felt alone. The professors in the program and my other cohort members were a huge help!

How do you feel about being matched?
I am thrilled! It has always been my goal to become a licensed psychologist, and this is another step accomplished towards that goal!

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?
I will be doing the work of a typical school psychologist in East Tennessee. This involves completing evaluations and re-evaluations for children who need special education, assisting with and leading IEP meetings, consulting with teachers and other staff as needed, and of course directly helping children whenever possible!

Will you be at one specific site?
Yes! I will be with Lenoir City Schools. I will serve students at the elementary, intermediate, and high school levels.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?
Over the past four years I have really grown to love Knoxville. I brag about the city to everyone I know – it has great food, scenery, and there is always something going on downtown! I have made great friendships here and I am so glad I don’t have to say goodbye to Tennessee just yet.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I am nervous, but excited to get started! It is exciting that after 4 years of graduate school my career is finally about to begin!


Jonah Ruddy

Jonah Ruddy
Tennessee Internship Consortium
Loudon, TN

 

 

What was the application process like?
The application process was long and complicated. There are many excellent internship sites to choose from, and each site has unique qualities to consider. It took a lot of time to research each site and evaluate what they had to offer. The APPIC Internship Match requires detailed records of your academic career, research, and clinical experiences as well as letters of recommendation and essays briefly describing your personal background, theoretical orientation, research interests, and experiences with diversity. There is a lot of red tape, fees, and deadlines to navigate. Luckily, Merilee McCurdy, associate professor, and several alumni helped us navigate the process.

After submitting my applications to the APPIC match website during the fall, one of the hardest parts of the process was waiting to hear back from the programs to learn if you would get an interview. I was asked to interview at 7 of the 12 programs that I applied for. December and January were spent planning and going on trips meeting face-to-face with each site. I traveled through rain, sleet, and snow to Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and, of course, Tennessee. I received a warm welcome at each location and enjoyed meeting the faculty, interns, and other applicants. It was also exciting to see the great work all of the programs were doing to train new professionals, meet the needs of their clients, and support their communities. Even harder than waiting to hear about interviews was waiting for match day and learning my placement. It was definitely a relief when the day came and I learned that I would be interning with the Tennessee Internship Consortium in Psychology (TIC).

How do you feel about being matched?
I am both excited and relieved to be matched with an APA-accredited internship. The accreditation assures me that the internship meets the training standards needed to help me prepare for a career in school psychology, makes me more competitive in the job market, and simplifies the bureaucratic process to become a licensed psychologist.

What type of work will you be doing at your internship?

I will be working with child and adult clients with learning and behavioral concerns. This includes conducting psychoeducational assessments to diagnose learning, developmental, behavioral, or mental health issues; providing direct intervention services; and consulting with parents, teachers, and other professionals.

Will you be at one specific site?
I will be splitting my time between the KLASS Center and Cherokee Health Systems, Inc.

How do you feel about staying in Tennessee?

While I visited and fell in love with several internship sites during this process, it is a relief to be staying in Tennessee. I have a wife and teenage son whom I would have lived away from for a year if I was matched to another placement. I know they are very happy that I am staying home. I also think it is a great opportunity for me to help clients in the community and surrounding area that I have called home for many years.

Carly Chwat, Jonah Ruddy, and Caroline Jaquett

“I want to thank my colleagues, Carly Chwat and Carrie Jaquett, who have shared this journey with me over the last four years. We’ve developed a great friendship, become family, and have been there for each other through all the ups-and-downs that have come our way. Their support has been an essential element in my success and growth. I am grateful that the Three Musketeers will be able to finish our final year together in Tennessee.” – Jonah Ruddy


Merliee McCurdy

How long have you been with EPC?
I began my academic career at the University of Nebraska in 2001. In 2014, I began at UT and in the EPC department. I also coordinate the School Psychology doctoral program.

 

How do you feel about being chosen as one of the new associate department heads?
I really am honored to serve as an associate department head. It is a big responsibility and one that I take seriously. Our job is to make everyone else’s job easier – including the department head – and to help our department grow in productivity and national reputation. I look forward to starting this new academic year!

What are you primary functions within this role?
In many ways, we are still trying to make these decisions. Lisa will serve as the director of graduate studies for our department, which is a huge role. I will be the point person for the CRC (curriculum review committee) for the department. I will present all departmental curriculum changes to the CEHHS CRC for approval. I also will chair the department’s award committee. Our goal is to make sure we have faculty, student, and staff nominations for all eligible college and university awards. We have future plans to work with all faculty to edit and update the department bylaws and carry out the goals of the EPC strategic plan. It is definitely going to be a team approach to getting things accomplished!

What are you most looking forward to?
I look forward to getting more familiar with the entire department. Often, faculty tend to work in our own “silos” or program areas. We know our program and students very well; however, we may not know the department as well. An interesting aspect of this position is learning the strengths and goals of all programs and being able to advocate for and support those programs. I know this first year will be very challenging but I am excited by the opportunity.


Lisa Yamagata-Lynch

 

How long have you been with EPC?
I have been with UT since August 2011 so 6 years, when I came in as an associate professor in EPC.

 

How do you feel about being chosen as one of the new associate department heads?
It was an honor to be selected as an associate head. I like to be able to work in a community oriented way, so taking on a leadership position will allow me to do that in a way that being a faculty may not. I am looking forward to working for students, staff, and faculty.

What are your primary functions within this role?
I see my primary job to assist Jeff, our department head, lead our department while advocating for our students, staff, and faculty. I hope that I can contribute to the growth and development of our department in the coming years. I will also be the the Director of Graduate Studies so I am looking forward to working closely with our students.

What are you most looking forward to? Or, what are your top priorities for this position?
I am looking forward to getting to know our students, staff, and faculty in new ways that I have not had an opportunity in the past, and supporting open communication between all of them and the department leadership team.

“I am looking forward to this opportunity and hope to serve the department well.”


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!”

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