School Psychology Alumni

SAMANTHA BLAIR

Post Doctoral Scholar UC-Davis MIND Institute

sblair@ucdavis.edu

WHY SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?

  • Worked as a camp counselor and loved working with kids.
    Wanted to engage in work that was beneficial and was accessible to everyone.
  • Liked the idea of being able to support teachers and parents as well as contribute to the field through research and advocacy.
  • Completed dissertation study on behavior management practices in summer camp and collaborated with the American Camp Association.

WHY UW-MADISON?

  • Liked the focus on school and clinical training, the work faculty were pursuing, and the emphasis on community collaboration and student
  • Made sure to take advantage of all opportunities available to her to ensure she was well-prepared for all next steps.
    Sought experiences in areas including community mental health, neuropsychological assessment, teaching, and supervision.
  • Completed APA-accredited internship with the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. Broad training set her up well to be successful in a variety of settings and take advantage of new opportunities and specialized training.

FAVORITE MEMORIES

Time spent with cohort- became very close! Diversity Summit- an immersive event that prioritized training, awareness, and discussion of issues in diversity.

ADVICE

  • Take advantage of any opportunities that interest you.
    make connections with individuals doing work you find interesting.
  • School Psychology is a diverse field and there are many paths you can take.
    Seek mentorship in various areas. Build connections with your peers!

CURRENT POSITION

  • Postdoctoral scholar at UC – Davis Mind Institute:
  • Researching ADHD and ASD. Conducting assessments. Implementing interventions with participants.
  • Providing trainings to local mental health providers. Providing services through parent workshops and group interventions.
  • Community outreach with local schools and organizations. Adjunct faculty member at California State University, Sacramento:
  • Teaches a cognitive assessment practicum.
  • Supervises EdS students in the training clinic.

TIFFANY BORN

Psychologist Bellin Health Green Bay, WI

tiffany.born@bellin.org

WHY SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?

  • Until high school, she wanted a career in teaching since she has had wonderful educators in her life. In her first psychology course in high school, she fell in love with psychology and wanted to combine it with her interests in teaching and working with children.
  • She first learned about the field of school psychology from the school psychologist at her high school (who also is a graduate of UW– Madison) and then completed practicum and internships in the field during college.

WHY UW–MADISON?

Selected UW–Madison because of the students she interacted with during interview day, the faculty, and the reputation of the program.

PATH THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL

  • Completed a pre-doctoral internship at the May Institute in Massachusetts.
  • Her post-doctoral fellowship was at the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Worked as a staff psychologist and continued her clinical practice at KKI while supervising interns and post-docs.
  • Returned home to Wisconsin and secured her position at Bellin.
  • Along the way, she obtained her Board-Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral Level (BCBA-D) credential and psychology license.
  • She always thought she’d work in schools, but clinical work in a medical setting has been her path.

 

FAVORITE MEMORIES

All of her favorite memories involve her peers. Graduate school allowed her to get very close with those in her cohort and others in the program–they were the ones who truly understood what life is like. These are lifelong friends and colleagues that she treasures every day.

ADVICE

  • Focus on obtaining clinical experiences to help determine where your passion lies and to gain hours for internship applications Have an open mind. You might end up finding a career that does not fit your original plan as a PhD in school psychology opens many doors.
  • Do not forget to have a life outside of your graduate training.

 

CURRENT POSITION

Psychologist at Bellin Health providing psychological evaluations and therapy services to children, adolescents, and their families.

STEPHANIE BORJAS

Bilingual School Psychologist

Bensenville School District 2 Bensenville, Illinois

& Adjunct Professor at National Louis University

stephaniekborjas@gmail.com

WHY SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?

Through her undergraduate experiences, she developed interests in education, psychology, and working with children.

School psychology combined all of these interests and offered flexibility in career options.

WHY UW–MADISON?

  • Illinois School Psychology Internship Consortium at Had undergraduate professors who received their education at UW–Madison encouraged her to explore the School Psychology Program here.
  • She felt welcomed and comfortable among the These diverse experiences helped develop skills she students and faculty on interview day.
  • Post-doctoral experiences at Palatine District 15 and the Loyola Community and Family Services Clinic. utilizes in her current position.
  • The friendliness of the current students, approachability of faculty and staff, and the program’s high ranking all solidified her decision.

ADVICE

Having a support system and remembering to take care of yourself helps you navigate the challenges of graduate school.

PATH THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL

  • Took advantage of extra opportunities, like the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, conducted assessments through Student Assessment Services, and organized social emotional groups at the Juvenile Detention Center.
  • Completed her APA-accredited internship through The Palatine School District

FAVORITE MEMORIES

Working late in the Educational Sciences building with members of her cohort.

Her peers encouraging each other during their preliminary exams and dissertation milestones. Celebrating with members of her cohort while enjoying the view at the Terrace at the Memorial Union.

CURRENT POSITION

  • Bilingual school psychologist in an elementary school.
  • Dynamic role working on special education evaluations, consulting with teams for students’ academic and behavior needs, and leading school-wide change through supporting Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Adjunct Professor at National Louis University in the Special Education Department.

PATRICE LEVERETT

Assistant Professor University of Nevada, Las Vegas

patrice.leverett@unlv.edu

WHY SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?

  • Started as a teacher in New York City schools (in the same school she went to for 5th grade).
  • Struck by the overwhelming number of Black males in Special Education as well as the few mechanisms in place to return students to less restrictive environments.
  • Spoke to the School Psychologist about how to address these issues. He said, “If you think you can do it better, do it yourself.”
  • The next year she applied for a PhD in School Psych.

WHY UW-MADISON?

  • Wanted access to the best and most up-to-date research, practices, and learning opportunities.
  • It was hard to resist the #1 program in the country.

PATH THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL

  • Found mentors within and outside of the department due to interest in joining academia.
  • Worked with her advisor and other faculty to lay out the groundwork of her future research agenda. Engaged with researchers in other departments to learn a variety of ways of engaging the community with research, as well as what it meant to build and support a research team as a faculty member.

FAVORITE MEMORIES

Had an amazing cohort- the small group of peers became her family and they still keep in touch. Would study nonstop for a Biological Basis of Behavior exam all week and then cheer on their favorite sausage at a Brewers game on the weekend.

WHY SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?

  • Wanted to work with children that have developmental disabilities.
  • Training in school psychology gave her the child focus she wanted in pursuing a clinical career.
  • Also taught her about the school system that significantly impacts the population she serves.

WHY UW-MADISON?

  • Opportunities for practicum and training in the hospital setting (ex. Waisman, LEND).
  • She wanted a clinical focus and her training experiences showed her that she could do that.
  • The five lakes in the city were also a major draw for someone who completed her undergraduate degree in a cornfield.

PATH THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL

  • Enrolled in three external BCBA courses.
  • Completed additional practica at the Waisman Center Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic, Autism Treatment Clinic, Down Syndrome Clinic, LEND, and at a community ABA clinic.
  • Research with Wisconsin-Indiana Learn the Signs. Act Early. Project; Waisman Center clinical projects; Dr. Travers’ Brain and Motor Development Lab.
  • Piloted a diagnostic training program focusing on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule for her dissertation.
  • Predoctoral internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
  • As her brother is diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Autism, she provided additional support to her parents. This centered her perspective on the importance of supporting families.

ADVICE

  • Find something to love that is not graduate school! Anchoring your identity solely in your degree might make you productive, but it makes you lose sight of the rest of the world and the other important things going on in it.

CURRENT POSITION

  • Postdoctoral fellow at Seattle Children’s, working within the Autism Center and Research Institute.
  • Emphasis on developmental disabilities.
  • Primary rotations are the severe behavior and feeding programs.
  • Also works in the mood and anxiety program, as well as in diagnostics.
  • Her work spans the breath of assessment, treatment, consultation, and research – no two days are the same and no day is ever boring.

Lupas ImageAndy Lupas

Postdoctoral Fellow at Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Research Institute

andreablupas@gmail.com

 

WHY SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?

  • Wanted to work with children that have developmental disabilities.
  • Training in school psychology gave her the child focus she wanted in pursuing a clinical career.
  • Also taught her about the school system that significantly impacts the population she serves.

 

WHY UW-MADISON?

  • Opportunities for practicum and training in the hospital setting (ex. Waisman, LEND).
  • She wanted a clinical focus and her training experiences showed her that she could do that.
  • The five lakes in the city were also a major draw for someone who completed her undergraduate degree in a cornfield.

PATH THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL

  • Enrolled in three external BCBA courses.
  • Completed additional practica at the Waisman Center Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic, Autism Treatment Clinic, Down Syndrome Clinic, LEND, and at a community ABA clinic.
  • Research with Wisconsin-Indiana Learn the Signs. Act Early. Project; Waisman Center clinical projects; Dr. Travers’ Brain and Motor Development Lab.
  • Piloted a diagnostic training program focusing on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule for her dissertation.
  • Predoctoral internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
  • As her brother is diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Autism, she provided additional support to her parents. This centered her perspective on the importance of supporting families.

FAVORITE MEMORIES

 

  • She bought a kayak off of Craigslist during her first year of graduate school, and there was nothing quite as grounding as dropping whatever email, report, or project she was working on to watch the sunset over Lake Mendota in that kayak.
  • Every moment with her cohort.

ADVICE

Find something to love that is not graduate school! Anchoring your identity solely in your degree might make you productive, but it makes you lose sight of the rest of the world and the other important things going on in it.

CURRENT POSITION

  • Postdoctoral fellow at Seattle Children’s, working within the Autism Center and Research Institute.
  • Emphasis on developmental disabilities.
  • Primary rotations are the severe behavior and feeding programs.
  • Also works in the mood and anxiety program, as well as in diagnostics.
  • Her work spans the breath of assessment, treatment, consultation, and research – no two days are the same and no day is ever boring.

LANA MAHGOUB

Licensed Clinical Psychologist Children’s Hospital of the King’s

Daughters

lmahgoub159@gmail.com

WHY SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?

  • Shadowed a school psychologist for a month in high school.
  • Learned of the significant educational disparities and the over-representation of Black youth in special education programming as well as in school behavioral referrals.
  • Explored research that aligned with personal experiences and observations throughout schooling.
  • Became eager to join a field where she could help address disparities and provide culturally relevant mental health and educational services.

WHY UW-MADISON?

  • Desire to attend a highly reputable program focused on teaching evidence-based approaches.
  • Impressed by the breadth of research taking place across various disciplines addressing the mental health and education of underrepresented youth.

ADVICE

  • Make time for self-care!
  • Cultivate relationships with professors and students across different programs.
  • You may find that others share many passions and visions for youth care that expand your opportunities for friendships, practicum, research, or even a career post-graduation.

FAVORITE MEMORIES

  • Time spent with supportive cohort.
  • Enjoyed attending cultural events and concerts around the campus for study breaks.
  • Studying with the relaxing view at the terrace.

PATH THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL

  • Involved in a variety of research labs through the psychology department and educational psychology.
  • Took many courses focused on multicultural topics through various departments to further knowledge on educational and mental health challenges faced by diverse youth. Served as a school psychologist at MMSD during 4th year.
  • Helped her apply skills learned and gather new perspectives on current challenges facing schools.
  • Completed a trauma focused practicum through a community mental health clinic.
  • Completed pre-doctoral internship at Boys Town Center for Behavioral Center through the Nebraska internship consortium.

CURRENT POSITION

  • She works with an interdisciplinary team that is committed to addressing children’s health needs.
  • Her position involves outpatient therapy, psychological testing, consultation services, teaching at the local medical school, and providing educational presentations in the community.

RYANN MORRISON

Licensed Psychologist Bradley Hospital East Providence, Rhode Island

rmorrison842@gmail.com

WHY SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY?

  • Throughout her undergraduate experiences, she knew she was interested in psychology and working with kids to provide social, emotional, and behavioral supports. School psychology was a good fit for those interests.
  • She selected a PhD for the flexibility in the settings she could work.

WHY UW–MADISON?

UW–Madison had a strong reputation in school psychology and a variety of training experiences to offer.

PATH THROUGH GRADUATE SCHOOL

  • Since she wanted to go into practice, she prioritized gaining practicum experiences.
  • Her advanced practicum at Journey Mental Health helped her to gain experience as an outpatient therapist/trainee.
  • Her internship and postdoc experiences at Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health provided strong training experiences and helped her to feel confident and prepared to begin her career.

FAVORITE MEMORIES

  • Spending time with her supportive cohort. She couldn’t have made it through graduate school without them.
  • Madison and the university offered many interesting cultural events and concerts that she loved too.

ADVICE

  • As much as possible, take care of yourself. Grad school is very busy and difficult, but your well- being is the most important thing.
  • Use the support of your cohort and any other connections. Remember why you came into this field and know that grad school will end and you’ll have awesome career opportunities.

CURRENT POSITION

Licensed psychologist at Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island.

Splits time between the Outpatient Program and the Children’s Partial Hospitalization Program.