Psychology and Child Development

College of Liberal Arts

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Where Are They Now?

Anna Moore (Psychology, ’08)

Anna earned her Master of Science in communication disorders at Arizona State University in May of 2014. She finished her license in March of 2016 and now has her Certification of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). 

Anna is currently a speech-language pathologist (SLP) at a public school. She provides speech and language therapy for children who have disorders in articulation, fluency, syntax/semantics and pragmatics. Anna says, “We all often take language for granted because it feels automatic, but it’s both the most complicated and rewarding thing we do. The Learn by Doing philosophy at Cal Poly meant that I left school with hands-on experience in both counseling and research. I often have to provide counseling to my students who are emotionally impacted by their disorders. I also provide evidence-based practice, meaning that I have to find research to support my therapy. Since I did my own research at Cal Poly for my senior project, I am well equipped to both find and evaluate research articles.”

Karen Kontz (Child Development, ’08)

Karen Kontz is a staff attorney with Legal Services of Northern California. She provides free legal services to low-income residents in rural Northern California in the areas of housing, public benefits, criminal records cleanup, guardianship and education. Her work includes protecting her clients’ rights to have safe and affordable housing, to be free from discrimination, to maintain income, to access services and to avoid homelessness. Additionally, Karen collaborates with community groups to provide information about students’ legal rights to fair school discipline practices.

Karen's background in child development and psychology enables her to provide individualized advocacy to address the most pressing legal needs her clients face. Her clients include individuals and families who are in crisis; most are experiencing loss of income, loss of food security, barriers to housing, unsafe living environments and homelessness. Many of her clients have physical and mental disabilities. Karen says she is a stronger advocate for her clients because of the skills and insight she gained during her time at Cal Poly.

Ryan Reed (Psychology, ’08)

Ryan Reed is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and is currently completing his doctoral internship at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. Upon graduation in September, he will transfer to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. He utilizes the Cal Poly motto of Learn by Doing while aboard carriers; attending Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) school; and providing group and individual therapy for active-duty service members and their dependents.

He earned his Master of Arts from the University of South Dakota in 2013, and he plans to complete his doctorate in August of 2016. His clinical focus in graduate school followed that of his mentor at Cal Poly, Professor Jennifer Teramoto-Pedrotti, focusing on positive psychology and multiculturalism. His research includes PTSD interactions with substance abuse, as well as self-control and ego strength. Within the Navy, his focus is on service member treatment with a highlight on pain psychology.

William Mitchell (Psychology, ’11)

William Mitchell is working for the non-profit Second Chance as a rehabilitation counselor in the youthful offender rehabilitation program (YORP). YORP serves San Diego County’s most severe and chronic juvenile offenders (aged 15 to 21) in an effort to reduce recidivism and deter youth from entering the adult justice system. When he is not working with juvenile offenders, he is seeing clients in private practice at the San Diego Institute for Couples and Families.

Following a passion for psychotherapy that was awakened during his time at Cal Poly, he went on to earn his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from San Diego State University. William says his passion was kindled in two specific courses, PSY 370: Introduction to Clinical and Counseling Psychology and PSY 323: Helping Relationships. It was during his time in PSY 323 that he gained his initial experience in counseling while helping a peer to explore the distress associated with adjusting to college. He says his time helping his fellow peer increased his fascination with psychotherapy because of the great opportunity it holds for never-ending investigation and development of all.

Simone Hidds-Narcisse (Child Development, ’13)

Simone Hidds-Narcisse is attending San Diego State University where she will be graduating with her master’s degree in postsecondary educational leadership with an emphasis in student affairs. Through her master's program, Simone has had the opportunity to serve as a graduate assistant for the San Diego State University Guardian Scholars Program, which is dedicated to supporting former foster youth, wards of the court, students under legal guardianship and unaccompanied homeless students in obtaining their bachelor's degrees. 

Simone's passion for serving underrepresented students in higher education stemmed from her experience with the educational opportunity program’s (EOP) Summer Institute (SI), serving as a SI Leader and helping incoming EOP students get acclimated to Cal Poly. The research methods course (PSY 329) provided helpful tools, which Simone carried over to graduate school to assist her in the creation and application of an outcomes-based assessment of a mentoring program. The Cal Poly practice of Learn by Doing has been influential in her graduate studies, challenging her to not only learn the content discussed in her courses, but to apply what she is learning to her projects and graduate internship. 

Joseph Leshin (Psychology, ’13)

Joseph is a post-baccalaureate neuroscience research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, MD. He attributes his two-year paid fellowship with the NIMH to the excellent research training and mentorship he received as a psychology undergraduate at Cal Poly from Professors Julie Garcia and Carrie Langner. He will begin his doctoral program in social psychology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in August under the supervision of Kristen Lindquist. Broadly, Joseph is interested in researching emotion-cognition interactions and their implications to public health.

While at Cal Poly, Joseph received travel funding from the Psychology and Child Development Department that enabled him to present his research at an international conference in Chicago. According to Joseph, “Research is not productive unless it is shared with the public. Not only did attending the conference give me the opportunity to interact and network with other professionals, but it also reinforced my desire to share science with others – a desire that continues to propel me forward through my professional development to this day.”

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