Forensic Psychology: Featured Alum Q&A

Uhl_Carolyn (1)Carolyn Uhl


What first interested you in forensic psychology?

  •  After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where I completed my undergraduate degree, I obtained full-time employment as a Case-Manager at Marion House, a group home for pregnant and parenting adolescents.
  • Case-Managers were responsible for a multitude of activities; we coordinated all of a client, and her child(ren)’s needs.  These needs included medical, dental, counseling, AODA, legal, educational, nutritional, legal, etc.  We were also responsible for maintaining contact with our client’s social workers and/or parole officers.
  • My interest in forensic psychology began during my employment at Marion House.  Most of our clients came from underprivileged backgrounds, and many of them with criminal backgrounds.  Due to my limited, prior knowledge and experience with the legal system, I found that this was the area in which I most struggled in aiding and advocating for my clients.
  • Additionally, I was fascinated by learning about the reasons behind their behavior, as well as trying to understand how parole officers and/or social workers would try to predict my client’s future behavior (e.g., via a risk assessment).
  • I decided to apply to graduate programs in forensic psychology in order to better serve my clients.

What did you learn in your undergraduate career that contributed to your current knowledge?

  • Classes from UWGB that best prepared me for graduate school included:  Research Methods/Experimental Psychology, Statistics, Test and Measurement, Social Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology.
  • Classes from UWGB that best prepared me for my employment (past and present):   Research Methods/Experimental Psychology, Statistics, Tests and Measurement, all of my developmental courses, as well as any cross-cultural courses I took.
  • I also worked as a research assistant and completed an internship during my last semester at UWGB and learned a lot of valuable skills in each of these positions.  If I could go back, I would have spent more time working on research as an undergraduate student.  I would also have completed an independent study project.

Do you have any advice for any aspiring forensic psychologists?

  • Participate in as much research as possible.  Even if it is unrelated to forensic psychology, the skills you learn are invaluable and can easily translate to another subfield within psychology.  Try networking with forensic psychologists working in the field to get a more realistic sense of what forensic psychologists do and what skills will be most beneficial for you to gain experience/knowledge with during graduate school.

For more information specifically on Graduate School see what advice Gretchen has about graduate school related to counseling psychology.

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Graduate School Alum Advice: Forensic Psychology

Uhl_Carolyn (1)Carolyn Uhl


What steps did you take to get to where you are now?

  • I completed my undergraduate degree at UWGB, where I majored in Psychology and Human Development.
  • During my last semester at UWGB, I completed an internship at Marion House, a group home for pregnant and parenting adolescents.
  • Upon graduation, I was offered full-time employment at Marion House, where I worked as a Case-Manager for around a year and half, at which time I was promoted to Program Manager for a recently opened transitional living program for homeless pregnant and parenting young mothers, especially for those aging out of the foster care system.
    • As I mentioned above, I thought that one area in which I could grow in my ability to advocate for my clients was related to helping them navigate the legal system; however, I didn’t want to go to law school, so I found forensic psychology to be a great compromise.
  • I applied and was accepted into the MS forensic psychology program at the University of North Dakota (UND).
    • During my time in the program, my advisor encouraged me to apply for the experimental/general psychology PhD program.
    • During my time in the PhD program, I focused on classes that would enhance my statistical skills, expand my knowledge of forensic psychology, and/or provide me with skills that were easily transferrable to other fields.
    • During graduate school, I taught classes at UND, as well as a local technical college. However, working on my own research, as well as various research projects within my advisor’s lab, was where I learned the most.  I was able to apply my classroom knowledge and study things that were of interest to me and others in the lab.

Did you enjoy your forensic psych graduate experience? Anything in particular?

  • I definitely enjoyed my forensic psych graduate experience. I enjoyed my classes, conducting research, teaching, and speaking and working with classmates.  I especially enjoyed working on research, especially data analysis.

What is a typical day schedule for you?

  •  What I currently do:
    • I am currently a Research Analyst at St. Norbert College.
    • As a Research Analyst, I prepare, initiate, and implement survey and other data collection and research efforts. I also help refine research questions, construct datasets, conduct statistical analyses, summarize research findings, create interactive data visualizations and dashboards, and prepare reports and presentations in support of requests from various units on campus and of accreditation efforts.
    • Our office also works to support faculty, staff, student, and collaborative scholarly research efforts.
    • In my free time, I conduct research on juror perceptions regarding victim culpability, cyber-crimes and the law (e.g., image-based sexual abuse), and social injustices faced by underrepresented populations.
  • What I did before you moved back to this area/how I use my research skills in my current position:
    • In graduate school, I chose to take courses that would best prepare me for a career conducting research.
    • I focused on building my statistical skills as much as possible.
    • I also sought out opportunities to enhance my research skills and took a mixed-methods course, a Ux course, a writing/publishing course, and worked with different students and faculty within the department to help get the broadest range of experiences and skills.
    • These experiences helped expand my skill set and allowed me to be a more well-rounded researcher.
  • What others from UND forensic psychology programs have done after finishing their education:
    • Graduates from the Forensic Psychology program where I do work in many different areas.
    • Some, like me, are working in data analysis and/or research capacities, some are conducting forensic evaluations under the supervisor of psychologists, some work with prisons and juvenile facilities, some work as probation services, some work as legal advocates (e.g., child advocacy centers, sexual assault centers, crisis centers), some work in social service agencies, some work in law enforcement, etc.
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Graduate School Alum Advice: Counseling Psychology

Gretchen

Gretchen Klefstad


What steps did you take to get to where you are now?

  • During my senior year of undergrad, I applied to a number of master’s counseling programs.
  • In all honesty, a lot of my internships and assistantships in undergrad were through the Public Administration department or with local nonprofits.
    • A strong motivator for me to pursue a graduate degree in counseling came from my determination to learn more about mental illness and continue to reduce the stigma. I ended up attending the University of Minnesota (the Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology program).
  • I just graduated in May 2019. After graduation I took some time off to reset and figure out what was next for me. With a counseling degree, there’s a lot of different avenues and opportunities for work. I needed some time to find the next good thing and how I could best fit into the counseling field.
  • Just a few weeks ago, I accepted a job at Indigo Counseling Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. This happened after two months filled with job applications and interviews.

Did you enjoy your counseling psych graduate experience? Anything in particular?

  • Overall, yes. With any graduate experience there are some drawbacks or challenges. I feel as though the CSPP program was more directed toward school counselors. However, with that experience, I also shared a learning environment with people pursuing different avenues of counseling and that led to interesting group discussions and new perspectives.
  • Throughout my practicum experience, which was extremely challenging, I felt very supported and encouraged from faculty and my supervisor at the U.

What is a typical day schedule for you?

  • In a few weeks, I’d be able to give a more detailed answer because I’m currently still settling into my new job and building a client load.
  • So far, I’ve found that private practice offers a lot of flexibility. I’m currently only doing two days a week at Indigo, planning to see about five clients each day. I will continue to add on more days as I bring on new clients.
  • What I like best is that I can see clients and accumulate hours toward LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) licensure, but I also have the freedom and time to do other things like volunteer for mental health care initiatives, get involved with local nonprofits, and work on my “passion projects”.
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Counseling Psychology: Featured Alum Q&A

Gretchen

Gretchen Klefstad


What first interested you in counseling psychology?

  • I can recall my time in high school was when I first started gaining interest in mental health care. I was raised in a very small community and there was a considerable amount of negative ideas about counseling and mental illness. Due to this, I was interested in learning more about mental illnesses and the stigma that was so prevalent in my community.

 

What did you learn in your undergraduate career that contributed to your current knowledge?

  • I cannot say enough good things about my time at UWGB.
  • I majored in Psychology but also studied Public Administration emphasizing in Nonprofit Management. I had this unique balance of learning about the human experience and how to navigate the public and nonprofit sectors. I recall taking a counseling class with Dr. Vespia that first had me thinking about pursuing the profession. I think my undergraduate education really set a solid foundation for my master’s in many different ways.
  • I learned how to advocate for myself and ask for help when I needed it which proved to be extremely beneficial in graduate school. As I think a little deeper, during my time in Green Bay I came to understand the importance of community. I still take that with me today.
  • Not only relying on other counselors and mental health professionals for support, but being knowledgeable about community resources. I’m in this field to help and if I can’t directly help someone, I want to point them in a direction of where they can receive that help. This was instilled in a lot of different areas through my undergraduate education.

 

Do you have any advice for any aspiring counseling psychologists?

  • Ask questions and make connections! Reach out to counselors and other professionals, ask about their grad school experiences, what they like or dislike about their job, what they wish they had known going into it.
  • One thing to know is that it’s a long process. After two years in graduate school, there’s an additional two years before you’re licensed – and that can be a tricky space to navigate. It’s worth it, but it’s tricky.
  • Although it can be challenging in many different ways, being a therapist is such a beautiful gift. I share a space with someone who opens up and allows me to hear their story, their struggles, their triumphs. I am continually reminded of the determination and resilience of humans – and that is a really wonderful thing.

For more information specifically on Graduate School see what advice Gretchen has about graduate school related to counseling psychology.

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Feeding the Body and Mind: Physical and Mental Health Study Abroad in France

The goal of the trip is to learn from experiencing how the bounty of nature can help feed our bodies and minds. In Paris we will discover how gardens and parks help reduce the stresses inherent in urban life in big cities such as this.  In Nice, we will walk by the Mediterranean Sea and feel the benefits of moving water and taste the food that comes from the sea to the table.

Details:

  • What Courses: Nutritional Science (NUT SCI 499)/Psychology (PSYCH 499)
  • Program Dates: May 17, 2020 – June 1, 2020
  • Professors: Deb Pearson & Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges

Want to know more?

  • Check out the website
  • email Georjeanna: wilsong@uwgb.edu
  • Come to an Informational Session:
    • Thursday November 21 5:00-5:30pm in MAC 109
  • Come to a Drop-In Informational Session:
    • Wednesday December 4 11:00am-12:00pm in the World Unity Room A (in the Union)

 

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Psychology, Service, Inquiry: The PSI Talks are Returning 2020

PSITalks- Blog picDo you have powerful ideas that are worth spreading? If so, here’s an opportunity to share those ideas as a PSI Talk!  The UWGB Psychology Program would like to invite you to apply to do a short, 8 to 10 minute, presentation on an aspect of psychology as part of PSI Talks, an event we are hosting on March 3, 2020 at 7:00pm.  This event will include several engaging and thought provoking student presentations, followed by a reception.  See video of last year’s talks here.

Possible topic areas for talks might include:

  • a meaningful personal experience you have had that can be connected to psychological concepts
  • service you have done for the community or on campus that is connected to your psychology education (e.g., an internship or volunteer experience)
  • a way that you use psychology in your work or your career
  • a review of a psychological concept or literature and how it is relevant to everyday life
  • original research you have conducted as a Research Assistant, Honors Student, or in class

The PSI Talks Will Be Held On Wednesday, March 3th, 2020 at 7:00pm in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center. 

To be considered, you must:

  • be a UW-Green Bay Psychology major or a graduate of the UW-Green Bay Psychology program,
  • submit a 200-word abstract describing your talk, and
  • provide the name of a UW-Green Bay Psychology faculty member who would be willing to endorse your talk and supervise your talk if you are selected.
  • not have given a talk at the 2017 PSI Talks.

Please email the information below to Dr. Jason Cowell (cowellj@uwgb.edu) by 8:00 pm on Friday, November 22nd.  We will then select semi-finalists who will meet with the selection committee for a brief interview the week of the December 9th.  The final presenters will be identified and notified that week.

PSI Talk Proposal

Name:
Email Address:
Title of Your Talk (does not need to be final):
Type of Talk (check one):

  • __ a meaningful personal experience you have had that can be connected to psychological concepts
  • __ service you have done for the community or on campus that is connected to your psychology education (e.g., an internship or volunteer experience)
  • __ a way that you use psychology in your work or your career.
  • __ a review of a psychological concept or literature and how it is relevant to everyday life
  • __ original research you have conducted as a Research Assistant, Honors Student, or in class

Abstract: Please describe the talk you would like to do in 200 words or less, making it clear how it connects to Psychology.

Faculty Sponsor (Please make sure to ask him or her before submitting the form):

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What’s in the Box Video Challenge

Finding Little Albert: A Journey to John B. Watson’s Infant Laboratory 

Watson’s original experiment looked to classically condition baby Albert to be afraid of fluffy objects or animals. Watson and graduate student Rayner used loud noise to eventually classically condition Little Albert to fear fussy objects such as rats and bunnies. When they would show Albert the fluffy object or animal, they would present a loud noise so Albert would eventually associate the loud noise (the fear) with the object being presented. Over time of classically conditioning Little Albert he did become fearful of fluffy objects.

Beck, H. P., Levinson, S., & Irons, G. (2009). Finding little albert: A journey to john B. watson’s infant laboratory. American Psychologist, 64(7), 605-614. doi:10.1037/a0017234


 

More Than a Just a Game: Video Game and Internet Use During Emerging Adulthood 

This study looked to examine video games and internet use and their relationship to emerging adulthood. The study examined the excessive video game and internet use to risk behaviors, perceptions of self, and relationships with others. The research suggests that video game and internet use lead to negative outcomes for men and women. Result showed that there were different relations to risk behaviors, perceptions of self, and relationships with others based on the type of internet exposure and gender. The researchers explain that despite the data of this research being exploratory it is the first research that provided some explanation that video game and internet use are related to significant aspects of the individual’s development while emerging adulthood.

Padilla-Walker, L., Nelson, L. J., Carroll, J. S., & Jensen, A. C. (2010). More than a just a game: Video game and internet use during emerging adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(2), 103-13. doi:10.1007/s10964-008-9390-8


 

Pass the ketchup, please”: familiar flavors increase children’s willingness to taste novel foods 

It was hypothesized that when introducing a new food, the child is more likely to like the food if it is dipped in ketchup. Ketchup is a familiar taste and condiment to most Americans therefore having a familiar taste combined with the new food has shown to make the new food more appetizing. This hypothesis was then related to familiar and unfamiliar chips. The results showed that children were more likely to try unfamiliar chips with a familiar dip. This showed that having a familiar condiment can increase children’s willingness to try new foods.

Pliner, P., & Stallberg-White, C. (2000). “Pass the ketchup, please”: Familiar flavors increase children’s willingness to taste novel foods. Appetite, 34(1), 95-103 doi:10.1037/a0017234

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