The Psych Report

The Blog for the Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Category: Student Success (page 1 of 3)

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.

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.

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.

Independent Learning Experience Event

This year was the very first Independent Learning Experience Event sponsored by the PsycHD Club. You can learn more and access the information that was covered at the meeting and all those amazing opportunities here: Independent Learning Experience Information

Successful Tips for Students: Finals Preparation

How to ACE Studying for Finals

Study, Study, Study : This may seem self exclamatory but studying does help! Focus on the information you aren’t as confident about first and review the material that you are comfortable with as the day gets closer.

Space it Out : Instead of cramming the night before try to space out your studying at least a couple of days if not a couple of weeks prior. Looking at the material a couple of weeks before the exam and simply lengthening the study session as the test gets closer will create the most benefit.

Mix it Up : Don’t feel the need to study for just one exam, unless you only have one exam. Mix up your study session with different subjects and material to help give your brain a break. Moving from one subject to the next will also keep the productivity level up while keeping yourself engaged.

Projects: Before the week of finals commences try to get as many of projects and papers out of the way to help avoid high levels of work load and low amounts of sleep.

Use Your Resources: There are a plethora of sources to help you ACE your finals and classes. The writing center in the library is an excellent way to have someone look over any projects and papers you feel unsure about. There are also simple things you can do to help create success such as planning study sessions with friends, rewriting your notes, going to see your professors, using quizlet, looking up helpful internet resources and videos, and just repeatedly exposing yourself the the material you strive to learn.

Feeling Overwhelmed? : Self care is extremely important for managing stress and heavy work loads. If you feel excess stress it is healthy and OK to take study breaks and give yourself some time to breath.

With these helpful hints in mind I am confident you will find finals to be a Success!

Author: Katie Sorebo

Successful Tips for Students: Campus Resources Academic Addition

Academic Resources for Psychology Students 

Psychology Student Success Center: This is a fabulous resource for students involved or thinking of Psychology as a major. The center helps students declare, schedule classes, tutoring services, review papers, discuss what the department has to offer and much much more! https://www.uwgb.edu/psychology/student-success-center/

Psychology Professors: Your professors are there to help learn and develop your skills for the future. Attached is the link for all the UWGB psychology professors as well as their office hours and emails. Reach out! They are there to help YOU in classes, schedules, career plans, and your future goals!  https://www.uwgb.edu/psychology/faculty-staff/faculty-staff/

Academic Advising: Academic advisors are an extremely useful resource! They are there to help with class schedules, career prospects, research, connections, the graduate school process, the hiring process, and general academic advice.  Link: https://www.uwgb.edu/advising/

Scholarships: Who doesn’t want to get paid to go to school! There are a plethora of scholarships and financial aid to help you continue your education. What’s the harm in just applying! Link: https://www.uwgb.edu/scholarships/

Tutoring Services: This is a fabulous school wide service to help you receive the very best education you can, it is there to help! There are also employment opportunities for those who want to become a tutor. Link: https://www.uwgb.edu/learning-center/

Writing Center: Similar to the tutoring services there is a specific center just for writing. Schedule an appointment with the center and have someone review any writing of yours, what a steal! Link: https://www.uwgb.edu/writing-center/

Bursar’s Office: This office is the office of plenty when it comes to questions regarding  payments, financial aid, and college finances. Link: https://www.uwgb.edu/bursar/

Career Services: As the name suggests career services helps individuals discover and find jobs, career goals, and even student employment! Link: https://www.uwgb.edu/careers/

These are just a few of the many resources available for students on campus. UWGB has a multitude of ways to get involved, stay involved, and help you reach success!

Author: Katie Sorebo

 

Successful Tips for Students: Goal Setting

Setting a Goal 

Have a Game Plan: In any sport or activity athletes and coaches develop game plans that help them reach their full potential in a game, season, and in life. After hard word and dedication that goal can become a reality. Think of yourself as an academic athlete with professors, academic advisors, and faculty members as your coaches. Develop a game plan for your college career so you can best achieve your desired goals!

Long vs Short Term Goals: You want to make both long and short term goals. The short term goals should be small and considered stepping stones to help you reach your ultimate long term goal/s.

Make them Realistic: Every person is different with different abilities, strengths, and passions. The things you are personally good at and have a passion for should be reflected in your goals and accomplishments too!

Goal Types: Why limit yourself to just academic goals? Go for that marathon, part in the play, or position at work. Goal setting can be done to help achieve anything, at anytime, with anyone, the possibilities are endless so why not got for it!

Author: Katie Sorebo

 

 

 

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