Libby Malone, Child, Family & School Psychology (CFSP) alumna (EdS ’15) is featured in the Career Spotlight of this month’s National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Early Career Professionals Digest. Malone works for the Denver Public Schools at West Early College in Denver, CO. She is versed in teaching mindfulness to students in classroom settings, using culturally responsive interventions and assessments, and strives to explain assessment results in parent-friendly language.

In the interview below, which originally appeared on the NASP Communities website, Malone talks about her first-year challenges and gives advice to professionals entering the field.

Where do you work?
I work as a school psychologist for Denver Public Schools at West Early College, a 6th-12th grade innovation school. My school is in a large old high school building and we share the campus with two other schools, another 6th-12th grade program and a 17-21 year old program for students who are behind on credits.

What are your areas of expertise at this point in your career?
At this point in my career I feel confident explaining assessment results in parent friendly language, teaching mindfulness to students in a classroom setting, and using culturally responsive interventions and assessments for families and students.

What challenges have you faced in your early career, and how have you handled them?
A challenge that I faced during my first year of practice, and am still working on, is managing anxiety. During my graduate program my professors touched on self-care and mentioned the need for leaving work at work, but it wasn’t something that we discussed in depth. During my internship, I felt confident in my abilities as an independent practitioner. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time with my supervisor and relied on her more as I think it may have eased some of the anxiety I experienced during my first year.

The anxiety started right before the school year when I experienced my first panic attack. I became cold, but sweaty and my heart raced while a feeling a complete dread washed over me. For the next two months I struggled to sleep at night as I would catastrophize every negative outcome that could happen to my students. I worked in an urban, Title I school with students who had experienced trauma and the effects of poverty. My school also had a center for students with Serious Emotional Disabilities so I had students who were challenging behaviorally with some severe case histories along with all of my other students, many of whom had high levels of social emotional needs, as well. I would be fine during the day, I did my job effectively and managed student needs with confidence; however, I would go home and question everything I had done, what I could have missed, if I was an imposter, etc. The panic attack that I had experienced in the summer became an almost nightly ritual and I was exhausted physically and emotionally before we made it to Thanksgiving Break.

As the year went on I began to reach out to my colleagues and friends more, exercise regularly, and tried therapy. While the anxiety would still flare up, whether from a hard day or from the fear that since I wasn’t currently anxious I must have missed something, I had fewer of the sleepless nights and all-consuming feelings of dread.

What advice do you have for other early career school psychologists?
My advice for other early career school psychologists is to lean in to your support networks. You are not alone with the weight of your work. Personally, I have school counselors and a school social worker that I work closely with. Debriefing, sharing tasks, and sometimes just venting with them has made me a better practitioner along with decreasing my anxiety about being solely responsible for anything that happens to our students. During that first year I wish I had felt more comfortable opening up to my friends from graduate school about how I was feeling, but I was ashamed of my inability to control my own emotions when my entire job focused on helping students learn to control theirs. In my second year, I have opened up to my friends and we use each other as sound boards around interventions, assessments, and more. I now realize that many of them had the same worries and experiences I did and I had nothing to feel ashamed about.

Something else that has helped me this year is reminding myself that although my job is important and I am a necessary part of my student’s school day, if I have advocated for their needs, reported safety concerns, and addressed any immediate issues presented to me, I have to be okay with the job I have done for the day. It is unfair to my fiancé, who is also a school psychologist, and myself to go home and catastrophize about every student I interacted with that day. I am responsible for supporting them during the school day and making sure they are safe, but I cannot feel responsible for everything that happens in their lives outside of my sphere of influence with them. I still have a hard time convincing myself of this fact, but it has increased my ability to sleep at night and function during the weekends exponentially.

I am great at promoting coping skills and self-care to my colleagues and families. Learning to use those skills myself has been challenging, but I know I am getting better and becoming a more effective school psychologist through this practice.

How has your NASP membership benefited you?
My NASP membership has benefited me by allowing me access to more resources for my students and my practice. I appreciate the early career emails, the member exchange digest, and the reduced prices offered on conventions, conferences, and many other resources available for purchase. I know that NASP recognizes me as an early career school psychologist and understands the financial strains that we may face and offering a reduced price membership has made it possible for me to keep my membership current.

Curriculum and Instruction students, Elizabeth Carey and Desiree Seide, were selected for the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s (CDHE) inaugural Aspiring Educator Honor Roll and were acknowledged at the state capitol on Monday, May 8.

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation week, the ceremony recognized two outstanding students from Colorado’s 22 educator preparation programs. CDHE Executive Director Dr. Kim Hunter Reed gave remarks in the West Lobby of the capitol.

“This ceremony recognizes the tremendous impact our future educators will have on their students and the state of Colorado broadly,” said Dr. Reed. “Educators are training the next generation of artists, engineers, scientists and health professionals that will power our economy and enliven our communities. They truly make all other professions possible. We want all teachers and administrators—and especially our young educators—to know Coloradans support and appreciate their invaluable work.”

Elizabeth Carey

Elizabeth Carey, Curriculum and Instruction graduate student, was born and raised in Chicago, IL and received her undergraduate degree in psychology from University of Denver in 2016. Carey has excelled academically in the Teacher Education Program, where she worked to build professional and caring relationships with both her mentor teacher and her students at Cory Elementary. As an apprentice teacher in Denver Public Schools, Carey has demonstrated commitment to honoring her students’ diversity and unique needs. She maintains a high degree of professionalism and strives to craft differentiated lessons for her students that meet and exceed the Colorado Academic Standards.

Desiree Seidel

Desiree Seidel, Curriculum and Instruction/Teacher Education Program graduate student, is a passionate and gifted educator who knows how to create a classroom that is engaging, challenging, and responsive to the individual learning needs of her students. She combines her beliefs on teaching, pedagogical techniques, rapport with students, content knowledge expertise, and professionalism into a highly effective classroom teaching style. Her teaching is guided by the belief that all students can learn and it is her responsibility to find the right balance between teacher learning-objectives and student learning-abilities. Seidel graduated Cum Laude from the University of Denver with a bachelor of arts degree in English with a concentration in education and minors in Spanish and psychology.

The Counseling Psychology (CP) Department has distinguished themselves by having eight CP students receive acceptance into the highly competitive National Minority Fellowship Program for Addiction Counselors (NMFP-AC). The fellowships are awarded by the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and seek to increase the number of culturally-competent master’s level addiction counselors available to serve underserved and minority populations.

Morgridge student recipients will receive tuition stipends of up to $15,000, receive support to attend the NAADAC Annual Conference and participate in training and mentorship projects designed to enhance their inclusion competency in working with diverse cohorts and transitional age youth.

Cochran Riley

Riley Cochran

Riley Cochran is a 27-year-old student from Denver, Colorado. He enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, attending local sporting events and connecting with others through social and professional events. A graduate of the University of Colorado Denver’s undergraduate program, Cochran majored in psychology and minored in sociology. He is currently anticipating a June 2017 graduation from the University of Denver’s Counseling Psychology program with a master’s in Clinical Mental Health. After an adolescence full of challenges and character growth, Cochran developed a passion for wanting to help others facing the complex intersections of life. He has a specific interest in helping transitional-aged youth involved with the judicial system and struggling with addiction. Cochran currently holds a position as an addiction counselor at Arapahoe House, an organization providing multiple levels of American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) care to a diverse population of clientele within the state of Colorado.

View Resume

Christelle Cook

Christelle Cook is a life-long Coloradan who plans to stay in the state as she pursues her mental health career in the coming months. Cook completed her undergraduate degrees in psychology and sociology through the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is currently finishing her final year of a master’s program at the University of Denver in Counseling Psychology. Throughout this program Cook has worked in practicum and internship sites that focused on substance use treatment with adults and crisis stabilization with adolescents. She is grateful for this recognition and looks forward to investing herself in the Colorado mental health profession.

View Resume

Demi Folds

Demi Folds is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver in the Clinical Mental Health Program with an Addictions Specialization. She earned her BS in psychology from the University of Georgia. Before starting graduate school, Folds tutored student-athletes, worked at a methadone clinic and traveled abroad. She is currently a student intern at a private practice center, providing psychotherapy and brief substance abuse interventions. In her first year of her master’s program, Folds worked with underserved youth at a Denver high school. She is passionate about working with those struggling with and affected by substance use disorders and enjoys conducting research on addictions and underserved populations. Folds plans to eventually obtain her PhD in Counseling Psychology and continue counseling and serving disenfranchised populations.

View Resume

Megan Kenney

Megan Kenney is from Maple Grove, Minnesota, and obtained her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 2015 with a double major in Psychology and Child Adult and Family Services. Following graduation, Kenney continued her studies at the University of Denver where she is in her second year of the Counseling Psychology program in the Clinical Mental Health track working towards an addictions specialization. Aside from school, Kenney enjoys the Colorado mountains, snowboarding, hiking, running, and yoga, along with spending time with friends and family. Following graduation in June 2017, Kenney plans to pursue her passion of working with adolescents and underserved populations.

View Resume

Elizabeth Kidd

Elizabeth Kidd is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver and will be graduating with a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in June 2017, with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a specialization in addictions. She is an intern at Progressive Therapy Systems,  a sex offender treatment provider. During treatment, Kidd focuses on the dysfunctional response cycle, anger management, and emotional regulation, along with cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic therapy. Prior to her internship, Kidd was a practicum student at Dakota Ridge High School where she worked with adolescents who had substance abuse issues, social anxiety, and difficulties in school. Kidd also works at DU’s Counseling and Educational Services Clinic providing couples counseling and working with clients who identify as LGBTQ. Kidd plans to continue seeking minority populations throughout her counseling career.

View Resume

Kathleen (Katie) Larkin

Katie Larkin is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and is completing her master’s at the University of Denver in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addiction Specialization. Larkin’s goal is to obtain a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) Level III licensure in Colorado. As a child of foster parents, Larkin has personal experience with the foster care system and saw first-hand the impact that addiction can have on both youth and families. It was this experience that pushed her towards a career in the counseling field. Larkin developed her clinical experience working in community mental health with the Salvation Army as a counselor for homeless men with addictions. She is currently working in an acute psychiatric unit in a hospital setting in Denver. Larkin is honored to receive this fellowship and to apply the experience to her  professional career.

View Resume

Stephanie Nisle

Stephanie Nisle is pursuing her master’s in counseling psychology with a specialization in addictions at the University of Denver. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in 2012 where she participated in a semester abroad French language immersion program in Aix-en-Provence, France. Previously, she has worked as a research assistant analyzing residential substance abuse treatment facilities. Nisle has also worked in the addictions field providing group and individual counseling to adults and adolescents with co-morbid disorders. Additionally, she has spent the past eight years working and volunteering with at-risk and special needs students. The combination of her teaching and work experiences, have led to the formation of her research interests related to personal, environmental, and behavioral factors that contribute to adolescent development and substance abuse. In the future Nisle aims to develop programs and interventions to create greater empowerment within these communities.

View Resume

Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson was born and raised in Colorado and graduated with a BA in psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addictions Specialization program. Thompson worked for four years for the State of Colorado caring for mentally or physically disabled, severely mentally ill, and disabled sex offender clients. She completed her practicum at Creative Treatment Options as an outpatient addiction counselor and currently works at Arapahoe House, working with clients who suffer from addictions in withdrawal management.  Thompson also serves as an intern at Jefferson Center of Mental Health, working as an outpatient clinician for adults and children. Thompson’s experience growing up in an addictive environment makes her passionate about the value of treatment and prevention.

View Resume

When you hear the title, “school counselor,” you might think of someone who makes student schedule changes and hands out college applications. While school counselors are responsible for scheduling and post-graduation guidance, they do a lot more than that. Per the American School Counselor Association (ASCA): “school counselors are certified/ licensed educators with a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling, making them uniquely qualified to address all students’ academic, career and social/emotional development needs by designing, implementing, evaluating and enhancing a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and enhances student success.”

Not only has the role of school counselor grown, so has the need for school counselors across the country. The ASCA recommends a ratio of 1 school counselor to every 250 students. As of 2014, there were only 3 states in the U.S. that met that recommendation, with the majority of states well over a ratio of 1:400. In Colorado, the ratio was 1:395.

School districts and states across the country have taken notice of the deficit in school counseling, and many have made funding available in an attempt to fix the problem. Since 2008, Colorado has allocated over $13 million through the School Counselor Corps Grant Program (SCCGP) to secondary schools and school districts with particularly high dropout rates and low graduation rates to increase the amount of school counselors and counseling opportunities for their students.

In 2015, the U.S Department of Education awarded over $24.8 million in grants for 67 school districts across 26 states for school counseling and school mental health services. In late 2016 in Indiana, Lilly Endowment Inc. issued a request for proposals from schools in need of counseling resources, and will potentially award up to $30 million in funding across the state to hire more counselors and improve school counseling services.

What does this mean for jobs in school counseling? The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 22,500 new jobs in the field, and an 8% growth overall by 2024. How can you prepare yourself for a job in school counseling? You need a Master’s degree in school counseling, which you can earn here at the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver in our Counseling Psychology Master of Arts program. Our program prepares students for the School Counselor License in Colorado through the Colorado Department of Education, and allows you to work as a school counselor for children and young adults (up to age 21). Through this degree program, students have the opportunity to take interdisciplinary coursework in the areas of counseling and child development, and to complete a supervised practicum and internship in a school setting.

Substance abuse and addiction is an issue that affects nearly 12% of the US population directly, with over 21 million adults battling substance use disorders each year according to American Addiction Centers. That figure doesn’t account for family members and friends of addicts that are indirectly affected. Counseling Psychology Master’s student, and NAADAC fellow, Elizabeth Kidd, put it well: “When you are counseling someone with an addiction, you are also touching the lives of their friends, family members, and community. Addiction harms not only the person who is struggling, but also the people who surround them.”

Heroin use is at an all-time high, with rates of use tripling from 2002 to 2014. According to a CBS News report, current rates of overdose deaths are at 5 times what they were in 2000. The Surgeon General recently released its first ever report on alcohol, drugs, and health, titled “Facing Addiction in America.” Amongst the report’s key findings are figures representing the financial impact of addiction and substance abuse: It is estimated that the yearly economic impact of substance misuse is $249 billion for alcohol misuse and $193 billion for illicit drug use”.

These figures are scary, but with adequate funding and services, and appropriate training for medical and therapeutic professionals, it can get better. This year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $53 million in funding to 44 states to help address the opioid and heroin epidemic through prevention efforts, making treatment more readily available, and multiple other support services. There is also a growing amount of funding available to students wishing to learn about and work in the field of addictions counseling. Several of our Master’s students were awarded substantial fellowships through NAADAC this year, totaling over $90,000 in scholarships awarded to students in the addictions specialization. One of those students, Riley Cochran, said this about the field: “Especially in today’s world where substances are more readily available than help, it is imperative that those interested in the field of addiction counseling make significant efforts to reduce the stigmas of addiction and make treatment more readily available.”

The projected rate of growth in employment for Substance Abuse Counselors is 22%, making it one of the fastest growing career paths in the country. This means that over the next few years there will be more jobs in the field of addictions counseling than there are professionals to fill those jobs.

Here in the Counseling Psychology program, we offer Master’s students the opportunity to pursue a specialization in addictions counseling that covers timely and practical content that prepares students for jobs in the addictions counseling field. For students who wish to work in the state of Colorado, the specialization provides the coursework required for certification as a Colorado Addiction Counselor II (CAC II), making students especially qualified and hireable in a wide variety of mental health and school settings. Our program has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Office of Behavioral Health, making the application process for certification simple and straight-forward. According to Master’s student and NAADAC fellow, Demi Folds, “This program enables me to take what is discussed in class and apply it to my work with clients almost immediately.” If you feel passionate about helping people, especially those suffering from substance abuse disorders, a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in addictions counseling might be for you. Check out our website for more information on the program.

The New Business Analytics Specialization in RMS

The Business Analytics specialization is an exciting new addition to the Institutional Research track in the Research Methods and Statistics Ph.D. Program. This specialization provides you with an opportunity to gain a multidisciplinary education that opens up several future career paths.

Taking courses in Business Analytics will be challenge you to view research design and analyses from a different perspective. You will collaborate and network with students from various career backgrounds and  will learn about cutting-edge programs and programming languages.

Why Business Analytics?

Heather Blizzard“In today’s world, businesses are looking for people who have skills in research design and have the ability to implement research analyses. That’s why I was extremely excited to learn that my program was adding a specialization in Business Analytics.” – Heather Blizzard, RMS Ph.D. Student
iNTRODUCING bOSTON Pre-K Students to Math

“Early math is cognitively fundamental” said  Doug Clements, Ph.D, during PBS News Hour’s  feature on early math education in Boston Public Schools. The Building Blocks curriculum developed by Dr Clements and his Co-Researcher Julie Sarama, Ph.D, was heavily featured in the piece which showcased how critical math is to Pre-K students.

Through early introduction to math, Pre-K students using the Building Blocks Curriculum not only learn to count, and identify shapes, but also learn why we talk about shapes and numbers the way we do. They are taught to think critically about math as they move forward with their education.

As the United States continues to struggle with issues of race and diversity, DU professor Frank Tuitt has released a new book designed to help faculty better connect with the changing demographics of higher education. Tuitt serves as senior advisor to the chancellor and provost on diversity and inclusion and is also a professor of higher education in the Morgridge College of Education.

Frank Tuitt“Race, Equity and the Learning Environment: The Global Relevance of Critical and Inclusive Pedagogies in Higher Education” (Stylus Publishing, 2016) examines the importance of creating an educational environment that reflects the changing diversity in higher education. The book also provides specific tools for achieving that goal. “Historically, we’ve created these fine institutions that had a certain set of students in mind when they were created,” Tuitt says. “Our students today are very different from the original set of students that these institutions were created for. And the assumption is that what works for one group will work for all groups. So the book is an attempt to help faculty who are interested in having students be the best that they can be.”

Tuitt believes the choices faculty members make on which authors to include and not include on course reading lists is just one example of how unintended bias can impact a student’s learning experience.

“Race and equity continue to be important as we see disparities between different racial groups even in places where we wouldn’t expect to,” Tuitt says. “We think part of it is because we haven’t been able to adjust our approach to teaching in ways that adjust to the different backgrounds and experiences that come to our classrooms.”

* Original story produced by Tamara Banks. Read it at: http://news.du.edu/du-book-chat-frank-tuitt/


© 2016 University of Denver. All rights reserved.
MENU