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Sherna is a graduate student in the School Psychology program. She is working toward becoming a licensed school psychologist: "I’ve always had a strong interest in both psychology and education. The field of school psychology provides me a unique combination of these two disciplines because it allows me the opportunity to support and contribute to students who are faced with the challenges of educational and behavioral difficulties."
She describes the learning environment as very supportive: quot;The professors, office staff and even the students have a genuine concern for everyone’s well-being. Everyone wants to see each other succeed and is determined to go to ultimate measures to make certain of that. I’ve spent numerous late nights and weekends in the graduate lounge with several graduate students from different cohorts, who were willing to take the time out of their personal schedules to explain course materials to myself and the other students in my cohort."
A major strength of the program is the opportunity to apply principles learned in the classroom: "We start our practicum during our first semester of the program, which means that we’re able to work alongside a licensed School Psychologist within a school. The experience is extremely beneficial because we’re not only learning about the field of school psychology within the classroom, but we can apply the core concepts and strategies through our practicum experience (observations, assessments, CSEA meetings, workshops, social groups). This allows us to observe the life/career of a School Psychologist, in efforts to understand the role and responsibilities required."
Sherna encourages new students to "build relationships and establish rapport with fellow students, professors and staff members because you never know who you’ll need. Not only will you need the support of individuals who might understand the pressures/demands that you will most certainly face, you must remember that your fellow graduate students are your future colleagues. Most importantly, two heads are definitely better than one."
Hunter came to Plattsburgh from Sandy Creek, NY. At Plattsburgh State, he is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology, and he hopes to enter medical school when he finishes: "My ultimate goal is to become a psychiatrist and work at an inpatient psychiatric ward."
Hunter was a research assistant in Dr. Ryan's neuroscience lab. "In the research lab, we are testing several widely-used neuroscience tests of frontal lobe functioning for practice effects. The results of this study will affect the future administration of those tests. Being part of a research lab gives you an insight into the work behind all the studies you read in your classes and gives you confidence to reach your goals."
Hunter has also been a teaching assistant for two courses. "Being a teaching assistant helps build your leadership abilities and allows you to become more flexible in your understanding and perception of concepts. It's a great feeling to be able to help others and gives you a small taste of what it might be like to be a professor."
Hunter believes these experiences are giving him the leadership qualities and flexible perception necessary for achieving his goal of becoming a psychiatrist. To new students, he recommends that you "never be afraid to do something great. It may not be as difficult as you imagined. From asking 'stupid' questions in classes to going out and looking for an internship, use your resources and never be afraid."
Stephanie is a psychology major from Washingtonville, NY. She entered Plattsburgh State as a transfer student.
"At the time of declaring my major, it was the only thing I was interested in pursuing, but my knowledge from being in this field of study has enriched so much more of my life than just academics."
After graduation, Stephanie plans to enter a Childhood Education/Special Education program at Long Island University, and ultimately hopes to work as a Special Education teacher in an elementary school.
Stephanie is currently completing an internship at a local elementary school, where she works with the school psychologist and child advocate in maintaining behavioral plans for students. This experience has helped her realize her love for teaching young children.
"I lead several lesson plans in skills for growing which include manners, appropriate ways to display emotions such as fear and anger, to name a few. I participate in a kindergarten play/friends group, which is designed to promote sharing spaces and being a good friend to peers. I keep track of three particular students who have behavioral problems, and at times I may be asked to monitor a student who is acting out. I also do lots of crafts and have a great time interacting with the students!
"I know that my degree and experiences in psychology will give me a solid background when I begin my masters program. I do not think that I would even know where I wanted my career to go if not for this opportunity to be in an elementary school. It is one of the best things I have ever done."
Stephanie's advice to new students: Don't be afraid to explore your options and never be afraid to ask for help! I have been lucky enough to have had great and truly dedicated professors to help my on my way. It is wonderful and so helpful to have educators that are so passionate about what they teach; I will really miss it here.
If you would like more information about the psychology program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact
Phone: (518) 564-3076
Toll-free Phone: (800) 441-7215
Fax: (518) 564-3397