A group of alumni from the master of education counselling psychology program in the Faculty of Education credit experiential learning and support from faculty for completing their programs and preparing them for successful careers.
Jennifer Brien completed a bachelor of arts (honors) in psychology at Memorial University and completing her master’s degree seemed like the perfect next step.
Ms. Brien did the course based program and a research study with the University Counselling Centre. She evaluated an online intervention to reduce alcohol use among university students. The results were presented at the annual research conference of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) in 2014.
Ms. Brien successfully completed her program with faculty support. “I am proud to say that it is possible to work full-time, complete a master’s program part-time and raise a family,” said Ms. Brien. “The professors are very supportive to students who are balancing family and school life.”
Ms. Brien is currently employed with Eastern Health as a Child Management Specialist and is in training as a Senior Therapist with the Regional Autism Services Program.
Kiah Buchanan completed a bachelor of arts (honours) psychology degree from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and a bachelor of education (primary/elementary) and the master of education counselling psychology program at Memorial.
“After completing my first degree, I wanted to continue with Memorial University as I truly appreciated the sense of community and belonging I experienced,” said Ms. Buchanan. “My goal was to be a registered psychologist and I was aware there was a relationship between the Faculty of Education and the Newfoundland and Labrador Psychology Board.”
She completed her thesis on teachers' experiences working with students who had attempted suicide and was awarded with a Graduate Fellowship. She presented her work at the Canadian Psychological Association Annual Conference in 2012.
Ms. Buchanan is currently an Educational Psychologist for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, a position she obtained directly out of university.
Leslie Pope completed an undergraduate degree in psychology and was interested in doing a master's degree.
She completed her thesis on assertive community treatment in Newfoundland, a program to help people with serious mental health concerns. Ms. Pope received several awards during her time with the faculty, “During my master’s degree, I received a Graduate Fellowship, the Dr. Lynda Younghusband Counselling Award and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association Travel Bursary,” said Ms. Pope. “The latter two helped me attend the CCPA's annual conference for two consecutive years, where I was given the opportunity to present my graduate research findings.”
Ms. Pope was a research assistant on a project exploring an online HIV peer support program in partnership with the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland. She is currently working with Provincial Aerospace.
Michleen Power-Elliott completed a bachelor of science and a bachelor of education. She taught junior high and high school for several years. “After spending some time in the classroom, I returned to MUN to complete my master of education in counselling psychology,” said Ms. Power-Elliott.
She completed her thesis on guidance counsellors in Newfoundland and how they typically respond to student bullying. “Along with my supervisor, Dr. Harris, my thesis was published in the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling entitled: Guidance counsellors' strategies for handling bullying,” said Ms. Power-Elliott.
Ms. Power-Elliott just finished a contract at O'Donel High School as a guidance counsellor and instructional resource teacher. She is currently completing courses in the Department of Psychology at Memorial University and is pursuing registration as a psychologist in Newfoundland.
Maryanne Tucker always wanted to become a psychologist. During her time with the faculty, she was awarded Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies and travel grants from the Canadian Psychology Association and Memorial University. “I gained excellent research experience through several graduate assistantships positions within the department,” said Ms. Tucker. “I was able to attain a Research Assistance/Policy Trainee position for the Our Youth Our Response project investigating HIV/HCV prevention efforts throughout the Atlantic Provinces.”
She completed her thesis on the prevention of harmful university student alcohol use. “I was able to present the findings at the 2012 Canadian Psychological Association’s Annual Conference in Halifax and just recently, Dr. Harris and I had the paper published in the Journal of Health Psychology,” said Ms. Tucker.
Ms. Tucker is currently working as a provisionally registered psychologist with Western Health in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
The group feels that their time with the Faculty of Education helped prepare them for a career in counselling psychology.
“I found that the assessment and individual counselling courses I completed during my program have been particularly useful,” said Ms. Buchanan. “Both courses involved large practical elements where I learned skills that I use every day in my career.”
“I feel that I benefited and grew a lot from my experience within the faculty,” said Ms. Tucker. “I appreciated the program’s balance of academic and experiential learning and believe that this combination helped build a solid foundation for my career.”
The experiential education provided by their internships and hands-on projects was an invaluable experience.
“I received lots of hands on training while completing my internship at the Memorial University Counselling Center,” said Ms. Brien. “I met many professionals from diverse backgrounds and I gained an immeasurable amount of experience.”
“The faculty allowed me to complete my internship with a registered educational psychologist which was an extremely educational and fulfilling experience,” said Ms. Buchanan. “In terms of career preparation the internship is often the most important learning tool.”
But by far, the best resource in the Faculty of Education is the support offered by the outstanding faculty.
“Dr. Sarah Pickett was my internship supervisor,” said Ms. Pope. “She worked tirelessly to get me an incredible internship in a community healthcare setting and supported me the entire time.”
“Dr. Rhonda Joy taught me a vital course, focusing on assessment,” said Ms. Tucker. “We had to complete a mock assessment on a child to be allowed to administer a real assessment on a child in need of one. I was unable to secure a voluntary participant. Dr. Joy went above and beyond arranging for her son to come in for me to complete this portion of the course work.”
“Dr. Harris was my mentor during the program,” said Ms. Brien. “He was always supportive, a great listener and he always made time for me. He was a great resource and because of this I feel that I made the right decisions for my career and my family.”