Morgridge College of Education student Brittany Sovran had the opportunity to attend the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, or GW, and the National Association of School Psychologists, or NASP, Public Policy Institute in the summer of 2013. The NASP asked Brittany to describe her experience along with other 2013 GW/NASP Public Policy Institute participants in the video featured bellow.
Recent Child, Family, and School Psychology program graduate Brittany Greiert focused her academic research and dissertation on sex and relationship education for individuals with autism, a topic that has seen little research or development of guidelines until recently.
Prior to enrolling at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), Greiert worked with a nonprofit reproductive health organization and noticed the lack of resources available for individuals with disabilities. This inspired Greiert to continue her education in order to address the resource gap, and she chose MCE because of the college’s support of her research interests. Greiert says that historically there have been extremely limited resources for comprehensive sexual education for those with autism, and that while there has been progress in the past few years, there are few guidelines on the topic.
Her work has led to a variety of opportunities for collaboration and sharing in the community and on a national level; in 2015, she collaborated with a colleague at Emerge: Professionals in Autism, Behavior, and Personal Growth to present a workshop at the Autism Society of Colorado titled “What happens in Vegas…Autism Style! Sex, dating, and intimacy.” Nationally, Greiert presented her findings on data, resources, and gaps in research at the 2016 National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) annual conference.
Greiert’s dissertation research resulted in the development of the Guidelines for the Development of Sexuality Education Curricula for High Functioning Adolescent Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The guidelines are intended to be used as a tool to guide future sex education curriculum development, address the unique needs of students with autism, and provide suggestions to modify existing curricula so that their needs are met. Furthermore, the guidelines function as an advocacy tool to increase awareness of the unique needs of high-functioning students with autism. Greiert says that being proactive in creating a structured approach and presentation of information would be of huge benefit to individuals with autism as well as to school psychologists and parents of children with autism.
06 Apr 2015
MCE Child, Family, & School Psychology alum, Dr. Melissa Reeves, was recently elected to serve as President of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) for 2016-17. Dr. Reeves, an adjunct instructor for Winthrop University and a pre K-12 school psychologist, is a two time recipient of the NASP Presidential award (2006 & 2011). She has received numerous other accolades including the NASP Crisis Interest Group Award for Excellence (2007 & 2011), the Cheery Creek School District Golden Heart Award (2006) and the University of Denver, College of Education Leadership in Learning Alumni Award (2006).
Dr. Reeves has conducted more than 200 workshops and presentations and works with schools on establishing a positive and safe school climate that focuses on prevention programs and positive discipline measures to decrease behavioral incidences while increasing academic achievement. As the co-creator of the NASP PPREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention curriculum, she developed the first nationally disseminated school crisis prevention and intervention curriculum. She is also an accomplished author, having co-authored three books: School Crisis Prevention and Intervention: The PREPaRE Model; Identifying, Assessing, and Treating PTSD at School; and Comprehensive Planning for Safe Learning Environments: A School Professional’s Guide to Integrating Physical and Psychological Safety: Prevention through Recovery, in addition to co-authoring numerous journal articles and book chapters.
We are proud of NASP President, Dr. Melissa Reeves, and all of her accomplishments.
A morning advocating for additional support for children with autism, to an evening dinner networking with some of the great thinkers in the field of School Psychology. This was a day in the life of Brittany Sovran and Jessica S. Reinhardt at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Convention. The highlight, however, was the two students’ attendance at the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation’s Dinner. For the first time in the history of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation’s Dinner event at the NASP Annual Convention, students were nominated by faculty to attend.
The Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation (WMF) is a private, nonprofit, operating foundation that supports the advancement of contemporary cognitive assessment. The WMF engages in programs of instructional support to professional preparation programs, research concerning the abilities of individuals with diagnosed exceptionalities, and closely-related educational and research projects and applications.
Child, Family and School Psychology faculty members, Dr. Karen Dittrick-Nathan and Dr. Cynthia Hazel, who were invited to the dinner event, nominated Brittany Sovran and Jessica Reinhardt for the honor of attendance. The two University of Denver students were then selected by the event’s planning committee to attend.
Both Jessica and Brittany took the conference as an opportunity to network and advocate for their agenda. Earlier in the conference they visited Colorado Senator Mark Udall (D) to advocate for additional funding for mental health in school. Jessica shared that the event, “was a great opportunity to meet a variety of professionals in the field, including faculty from other universities, and those highly regarded in the area of test development.” Both students stressed that the opportunity to form relationships with potential mentors from other institutions, could prove beneficial for learning additional techniques for educating and training school psychologists.
Jessica emphasized that it is life changing to meet the frontrunners in test development at various moments of the conference. “This event [WMF dinner], specifically at this conference inspired me to pursue a career in academia.” Jessica describes herself as both an academic and practitioner, and although she wants to continue working at the grassroots level, her appreciation for having a more systemic impact by training school psychologists is even greater. She shares that “in the future, I can now see myself in a faculty position at a university, where having a greater impact is possible.”
The Faculty in the Child, Family and School Psychology Program encouraged all Morgridge College of Education students attending the conference to speak with legislators who can influence change on a variety of issues affecting child, family, and school psychologists in Colorado. The CFSP program provides students the foundation to not only be Change Agents and advocates in the field but also highly competent, collaborative, ethical and self-reflective scientist-practitioners. To learn more about the program and the Morgridge College of Education, visit www.du.edu/education.
Child, Family, and School Psychology alumna, Rachel Wonner Kersteins, is 1 of 15 national semi-finalists for the Health Mart Champions of Care Challenge. Kerstiens volunteers with the organization Girls on the Run, which is an after school running program that engages girls from Grade 3-8. The program focuses on teaching girls to embrace difference and celebrate their individual voices through healthy and active practices.
Kerstiens work has earned her a nomination as an unsung community hero. Associated with this nomination was a $1,000 grant that was donated to her Charity of choice; Girls on the Run. There is a $50,000 grant to be donated by Health Mart to the organization, however the winner will be chosen by a vote.
Support CFSP alumna, Rachel Kersteins and “Girls on the Run” by voting: www.healthmartcommunity.com.
The original story was covered on Channel 9 news: http://www.9news.com/story/sports/2014/03/20/denver-nonprofit-grant/6646465/
Having been invited to interview only a few weeks earlier, I arrived in Denver feeling very anxious. This was my first in-person graduate school interview and I was feeling apprehensive about having to distinguish myself from the other applicants in a single day. I was staying with a friend close to campus and we walked over to Ruffatto Hall the evening before so I would know where to go the next morning. I was blown away by the beauty of the building and could imagine spending hours reading and writing papers in the many study nooks around the building. I went to bed early that night, hoping to get a good night’s sleep.
After a breakfast buffet and time to mingle with current and prospective students, the day’s program started. My two interviews were both scheduled for the afternoon, so I spent the morning learning about financial aid and inclusive excellence. My thoughts were preoccupied by the interviews and this made it difficult to focus on the presenters. During lunch, we were able to ask a panel of current students questions about the program. Hearing their firsthand perspectives was one of the most helpful parts of the day.
After lunch, I had some free time before my interviews. I found a beautiful porch on the fourth floor to review my notes and enjoy some vitamin D. After a long winter in North Dakota, the 50 degree weather and view of the mountains was welcome.
I had two half-hour interviews with two different faculty members and both asked the same questions, “Why do you want to be a school psychologist?” and, “Why do you want to attend DU?” The first gave me the opportunity to expand on my prior experiences that had led me to the field and to expand on my specific interests. To the second I was able to say unquestionably, “I want the best education I possibly can.” Both interviews turned out to be more of a comfortable dialog with faculty than the interrogation I was worried about.
The interview day finished with a reception with good food, wine, beer, and conversation with current students and faculty. The other prospective students shared feelings of relief that the day was finished. The head of the program gushed about her summers spent white water kayaking with her family. I left campus that evening feeling 100% sure DU was the school for me and with my fingers crossed that, come next fall, I would be able to experience the 300 annual days of sunshine, hike the beautiful mountains, and maybe even try out white water kayaking, while preparing for my dream career.
MCE Student Ambassador
Child, Family, and School Psychology
Visit the Student Ambassador Webpage: http://morgridge.du.edu/community/student-ambassadors/