Category Archives: Alumni News


Claire Kirchoff ’17

Alumna Claire Kirchoff ’17 recently received notification that she will be serving as a Fulbright ETA in Nepal next year! While at Roanoke College Kirchoff studied psychology and spent time working with Dr. Powell in her research lab. In this post, Kirchoff discusses with a student assistant what she has been up to since graduating from Roanoke College, how she learned about the Fulbright program and advice she has for students considering applying to Fulbright or any other research/internship opportunity.

Can you please tell me a little about yourself?

I am from Nashville, TN and moved back here after college and graduate school in Virginia. I have a dog named Kona who just turned 1 at the beginning of March, and he is being trained as a therapy dog. Currently, I am finishing up the coursework and supervision hours (well, not anymore #covid) for my School Counseling licensure, at the end of which I plan to pursue elementary school counseling positions (following the Fulbright, of course.) I have never held a job that did not involve children or youth in some capacity, and I have always been drawn to education and mental health, though I took a roundabout way to get to where I am now.

What have you been doing since graduating from Roanoke College?

In reference to my last comment above, I told my advisor (Dr. Powell) that I had zero intentions of going into school counseling and that it was the last thing I wanted. Things change, clearly, and 4 years after putting my foot down, here I am about to be a licensed school counselor. Because I thought I didn’t want to go into counseling, I chose a graduate program without a licensure track, which, in hindsight, was poor planning. Immediately after college (2017-18), I attended the University of Virginia for a Master’s in Education, Educational Psychology – Applied Developmental Science (it’s a mouthful, I know.) While I was there, I took just about every opportunity I came across. I worked in a research lab studying the implementation of social-emotional curriculum interwoven with standard science curriculum, I wrote and implemented curriculum for a multi-week summer environmental science and service-learning program for high school students on a Native American Reservation in South Dakota, helped create a mental health team at a summer camp for youth with chronic health conditions (this has a nod to my undergraduate research study, “Emerging Adults’ Perceptions of Peers with Chronic Health Conditions”), I tutored ESL students at a local middle school, and I took as many courses as would fit into my schedule.

Claire Kirchoff’s group while in South Dakota (which included 2 UVA undergrads) at the end of their summer program

(2018-19) After graduate school (literally a week after), I started a year as an AmeriCorps service member in Nashville at a nonprofit serving a very low-income community. Moving back to Nashville was a tough choice because I loved my time in Virginia so much, but it’s home and I’m happy to be back. During my AmeriCorps term, I worked in the K-8 education department at the nonprofit, and I was placed at a middle school in the community (it was actually a charter school drawing students from all over Nashville, so it was very diverse and had a wide spectrum of academic and social-emotional needs). The K-8 education program implements after-school enrichment programs at several schools in the community, and I was basically in charge of the implementation of my school’s after-school programming. I collected and analyzed testing and progress report data, designed reading and math enrichment curriculum for differentiated levels of need, and organized outside community partners for enrichment activities (other nonprofit partners like artists, musicians, science shows/experiments, and volunteers like Vanderbilt football and soccer players, student groups, and others.)

UVA Graduation – Claire with several friends from her own program as well as other friends she made along the way

This year (2019-20), I have been working to complete my supervision hours in school counseling at two local schools with similar levels of socioeconomic challenges, but both are very rural schools, which I was not super used to. I started at an elementary school and had the time of my life. This semester, I was at a middle school in the same community as the elementary school, and having a great experience, then my internship was cut short in early March, just like everyone else in the country/world. Since the schools closed, I went back to working at my part-time job as a preschool teacher at a private pre-k center. We actively try to keep our daily routines as normal as possible for the sake of the kids, but each day they become a little more aware of the issues, and I often hear the older kids saying things like “the sickness” or attempting to say the word coronavirus. It’s a daily battle to keep surfaces clean and kids happy, but we make do and push through.

How did you learn about Fulbright and this opportunity?

I knew about Fulbright in college when I had friends applying (my graduation year there were 6 Fulbright winners and I was friends with 4 of them). What I didn’t know then was that I, too, could apply if I wanted to. These types of opportunities weren’t really advertised to me when I was in college. I wasn’t super eligible to apply right out of college like my friends were, but my experiences and education since college has made me a better candidate for the grant.

Why did you choose Nepal?

There are a few reasons why I chose Nepal. First, I am one of the biggest culture nerds you’d ever meet. I attempt learning new languages for fun when I’m bored, I read books about other countries, cultures, and religions, and actively seek out cultural experiences in my life. When I was thinking about the Fulbright and Jenny Rosti was hounding me to pick a country, Nepal just kept creeping up on me. It stuck with me and I felt the draw to apply.

Secondly, when I was in graduate school, I tutored ESL students at a middle school in Charlottesville. Many of these students were from far-flung areas of the globe, mostly the Middle East and, surprising to me, Nepal. I had never met anyone from Nepal, nor had I thought too much about the country in my life, other than knowing about Mts. Everest and Annapurna. It was really these kids and their stories and culture that led me towards choosing Nepal as my Fulbright application. Side note: I actually wrote a paper about those kids for one of my grad courses, I interviewed them about their experiences immigrating to the US and acclimating to US culture and schooling. It was very interesting and helped me better understand how immigrant students view American schooling and what I, as a school counselor, can do to help them.

Thirdly, and this is the last big reason, is that I want to (someday, hopefully, in the next 5 years or so) go back to school for a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a focus/concentration in anthropology (some schools have dedicated Educational Anthropology programs, but the others have Ed Psych with cross-curricular study in which anthropology is encouraged as an option). As a course of study in my future Ph.D., I want to study how education (non-traditional and traditional ways of viewing education) blossoms even in the least Westernized corners of the world, and how folklore and storytelling are integrated into childrearing as a form of education for those without access to Westernized education. Because of this interest in education’s evolutionary roots, I figured Nepal would be a good place to start.

Can you give any advice for those interested in applying for the Fulbright, or for research/internship experiences in general?

This is a Dr. Powell-ism that has stuck with me since I was a wee duckling in her lab: trust the process. If you put your all into it and you really want it, it will happen for you, even if it doesn’t happen the way you planned. Dive in, give it your 100%, and trust that everything will shake out the way you need it to (but it might not be the way you want it to.)

Take-aways: Trust the process. Be kind to yourself. You’re capable of more than you think.

Dr. Powell was also asked to speak on this accomplishment and stated:

“I’m extremely proud of Claire – what she accomplished as a student at Roanoke and all that she has achieved since! I’m confident that her training and applied experiences have prepared her to succeed as an ETA in Nepal. I’m looking forward to seeing her posts and hearing details about her adventures as a Fulbright when she returns to the states. “
Thank you, Claire, for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations again on receiving Fulbright! We look forward to hearing about how it goes in the future and will continue to cheer you on!


© Roanoke College
In an interview with a student assistant, recent graduate Noelle Warfford ’19 describes life after graduation, recalls on her favorite memories from Roanoke College, and shares about being Salutatorian for the class of 2019.

No photo description available.

To start off, can you tell me a little about yourself? 

I’m Noelle, currently a graduate student at The University of Toledo studying Clinical Psychology. I would say I am a pretty friendly, hard-working person. I live with my cat Joshua, who is adorable, and I love to sing and watch movies whenever I get free time. Just not at the same time, to be clear. 😜 

Congratulations on being a Salutatorian! What was it like when you found this out?

When I found out I was Salutatorian, I was so excited that I just wanted to tell everybody I knew. I found out while I was with Dr. Nichols, who was my advisor, which made it even more exciting!

Noelle and her friend Phillip

What was graduating like? 

I remember graduation as being simultaneously incredibly fun and pretty stressful. There were so many events to go to that week and people to hang out with and talk to. The evening at President Maxey and Mrs. Maxey’s house was awesome, but nothing beats the feeling of hearing your name and walking across that stage!

How did it feel to finally step on the seal? 

Stepping on the seal felt like one of my biggest accomplishments at Roanoke. We all spend four years avoiding it because we’re all at least a teeny bit superstitious. So when you finally get to do it, it’s such a relief! You really know you made it.

What do you miss about Roanoke College? What is your favorite thing about having graduated? 

I miss so many things about Roanoke…but Commons honestly might be the thing I miss most. Especially all the kind staff, and the delicious desserts. I miss Olin Hall and of course the 5th floor of Life Science too, because I spent so much of my time in those places, usually with my closest friends. The best thing about graduating, though, is not having to worry about parking on campus anymore! And I mean, having a degree is great too. 🙂
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© The University of Toledo

What are you doing now after graduating? 

Since I graduated I moved up to Ohio to go to UToledo. The PhD program I’m in is 5 years long, including one year of internship. As a first year student, I have a few different jobs as a graduate assistant, I have classes on psychological assessment, clinical practice, psychotherapy, and research methods. I’m also already starting research and get to sit in on a clinical practicum where advanced students discuss the clients they’re treating at the University Psychology Clinic.

What does a typical day consist of in Graduate school? 

For me, a typical day in graduate school can range from a day where I only have meetings to attend throughout the day but no classes, to a full day where I have an hour-long lab at 8:15 (which I always grab a coffee on the way to campus for), a 2hr 40min class at 10:30, a brief time to grab lunch, and then another long class at 2pm. Since my classes only meet once a week, I usually have a lot of time to work on readings and assignments during the day and then have time to chill in the evening.

Noelle and Joshua

What has been your favorite part of graduate school so far? How about least favorite? 

My favorite part of graduate school is getting to study topics I’m interested in in a lot of depth. For example, I’ve already gotten to practice administering two major cognitive tests, the WAIS-IV and the WIAT-III, on a volunteer. I’m always surrounded by students and faculty who are very passionate about what they do, so it’s an encouraging environment to be in. My least favorite part is the sheer amount of reading I have to do. I’m so thankful I got practice reading empirical articles while I was at Roanoke, because I feel like that’s all I do now!

Where do you hope this opportunity takes you in the future?

My hope is that during my time in this program, I’ll be able to make contributions to research on psychosis assessment, especially assessing thought disorder, and that I’ll be able to gain significant experience working with populations with psychotic disorders. From there, I hope I can find a job where I get to do assessments all the time and help train others to become experts in assessment as well.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

Hmm…I guess the only other thing I’d like to share is, look out for a chapter on psychosis that I’ll be co-authoring with my advisor in the 2nd edition of The Oxford Handbook of Personality and Psychopathology Assessment. I am psyched about getting to work with her on this project! We’re starting a lot of exciting work on assessing early symptoms of psychosis, and I’m focusing in on signs of thought disorder, like you often see in schizophrenia.

Congratulations on all of your accomplishments Noelle! We will be continuing to cheer you on from Roanoke College!




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© Roanoke College

In an interview with a student assistant, recent graduate Cody Dillon-Owens ’19 describes life after graduation, recalls on his favorite memories from Roanoke College, and shares about being Valedictorian for the class of 2019.

To start off, can you tell me a little about yourself? 

Well, I am of course a graduate of Roanoke College and this past August I started the first year of my PhD at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for Health Psychology with a Clinical Concentration. I was born and raised in Roanoke, VA so this is my first time permanently leaving the area. I have a love for mountains and the outdoors and enjoy playing bass and guitar in my spare time. 

© Roanoke College

Congratulations on being a Valedictorian! What was it like when you found this out?

This was actually interestingso, Ellen and a few professors, along with the registrar during my Senior check-out in the Fall, told and reminded me that I was in the running. I knew I had a 4.0, but I guess the question was: how many other people did, and could we all keep it up? When it was official, knowing I had achieved it was cool (I had certainly worked for it), but I think my main feelings centered around the privilege of addressing our graduating class. There are a lot of fiercely intelligent, insightful, caring, and hard-working people I had the honor of attending Roanoke with and, in some ways, I feel like the cards just lined up for me to keep that magic number. A lot of people had very transformative journeys through college, but just the lack of one A puts them out of the running. I wanted my speech to focus on the triumphs we achieved as people, not students. 


© Cody Dillon-Owens

What was graduating like? 

For me, it was kind of weird to suddenly just be done. Four years of the same people, working towards the same goal, and now you’ve done it. I felt proud for doing it, happy I’d have a break from homework, but mostly curious about the future. I made a lot of great friendships, including with my professors. It was sad to have to leave and watch everyone start doing their own thing. But it was also a joyous occasion having my whole family there and seeing all the people who supported me to get me to this point. 

How did it feel to finally step on the seal? 

Don’t tell Maxey, but I had probably accidentally stepped on it long ago haha. It does remind me of some of the fun and quirky traditions we had at ‘Noke. I am glad I got to attend a college with some character and live out some of its traditions. 

© Cody Dillon-Owens

What do you miss about Roanoke College? What is your favorite thing about having graduated? 

I definitely miss the people. Ellen and all the psych faculty are the bee’s knees. And having all my friends in the same place. All you can eat chicken tender and mac day is kind of noteworthy as well. My favorite thing about having graduated is that I’ve completed another milestone in life that’s gotten me closer to where I want to be. I get to take specialized courses in what I want to be doing and pursuing ideas that are uniquely mine. This is also the first time for me being totally on my own which I’ve enjoyed. 

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Photo of the UNCC Campus © Cody Dillon-Owens

What are you doing now after graduating? 

Currently, I am attending UNCC getting my PhD. Technically, the PhD is in health psychology which is a very interdisciplinary field. It looks at health as a unitary concept involving both brain and body, which are deeply interconnected. We apply psychological models, like the biopsychosocial model and the ecological model, to examine health (prevention, maintenance, outcomes) – it’s very broad. My concentration is in clinical psychology, although being APA accredited, I’m also technically getting the same required training as any accredited clinical degree. So, within that realm I’m also learning the components of assessment and treatment. I think the two fields complement one another very well. 

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Cody Dillon-Owens office setup for his first intellectual assessment

What does a typical day consist of in Graduate school? 

Haha, usually quite a bit depending on the day. Currently, I am in course overload, so I never run out of things to do. I have classes at 8am most days, and after class there will be a mixture of activities. I read many articles and chapters of textbooks for my classes basically every day. I may also have to work on writing 2-page application papers or contributing to a pre-class discussion board. I now have a couple of course papers I have somehow make time to start working on too. I also have two applied clinical courses, so I am conducting an interview or an intellectual assessment about once a week. I’m also a Research Assistant and Project Coordinator on a HRSA GPE grant so I have meetings and various tasks I carry out for that. And then I’ll be reading and generating research ideas for my own research projects as well. Of course, it’s some mixture of these each day, not all at once thankfully. It’s still quite busy though, so it’s essentially class and then work until the evening where I’ll leave myself about an hour and half or so for myself to do whatever. My cohort has also instituted tea-time on Thursdays where we’ll take a break from work, and every other week or so we’ll have a big outing like yoga at a brewery or bingo or hiking or something. It’s mostly work but not entirely ;). 

First program social

What has been your favorite part of graduate school so far? How about least favorite? 

The learning environment is so enriching. Getting to discuss concepts with students and professors of various backgrounds has really broadened my perspectives. I’ve learned so much in such a short time. It’s also really cool to start being trained with skills for the clinical profession. My least favorite part is 1000% the lack of time haha. 

Where do you hope this opportunity takes you in the future? 

That’s a good question. I’ve tried giving some more thought to it, but it may take me a few more classes and clinical experiences to know for sure. I’ve considered a professorship at a small college, or at least teaching some health psych courses. My main career path I’ve told people is working as a clinician in a healthcare center but doing a mix between practice, intervention research, and maybe program eval. Recently after working on this grant, it also popped in my mind to pursue a position as a director of integrated care and push and work for developing true integrated behavioral health care and a patient-centered approach. 

Is there anything else you would like to tell us? 

This app/site called Trello saved my life for that extra level of self-management I needed, especially when working with other people so check that out if you’re interested. My new email is, if anyone has more questions or would like student-level advice about graduate school or what the transition is like or anything, feel free to contact me! And remember that self-care is important, and no goal is worth sacrificing your happiness and well-being. 

Congratulations on all of your accomplishments Cody! We will be continuing to cheer you on from Roanoke College!




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Congratulations to Dr. Osterman (Roanoke College) and recent graduate Theresa Hecmanczuk ‘19 on their recent publishing in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationshipstitled “Parasocial forgiveness: The roles of parasocial closeness and offense perceptions.” 

In this article Dr. Osterman and Theresa Hecmanczuk expand on research that investigates how predictors of interpersonal forgiveness, such as relationship closeness and offense severity, also predict forgiveness of a parasocial target. Using an interpersonal forgiveness measure to examine forgiveness of parasocial targets as a function of parasocial closeness and offense perceptions, they used two studies and found that pre-offense closeness was associated with greater forgiveness and current closeness, and that forgiveness significantly mediated the relationship between pre-offense and current closeness. They also found that perceptions of apology sincerity were associated with greater forgiveness and current parasocial closeness, and that a brief measure of parasocial closeness was comparable to the Parasocial Interaction Scale in its associations with forgiveness and related outcomes.    

For more information on the article, follow this link and once again congratulations to Dr. Osterman and Theresa Hecmanczuk for their publishing! 




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A Reunion in Copenhagen: Interview with Kaitlin Busse ’18

Our student assistant was recently able to catch up with recent graduate Kaitlin Busse about life after graduation and her favorite memories from Roanoke College! A Fulbright recipient, Busse is currently studying Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Denmark. 

Thank you so much for answering my questions! We’ll start with the basics first. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I graduated back in May of 2018, which is so hard to believe that it was six months ago! During my time at Roanoke, I majored in Psychology, minored in Sociology, and concentrated in Human Resource Management. I was the President of Psi Chi, Vice President of Chi Omega, and a member of the Honors Program. I also worked on campus as a Maroon Ambassador, a Psychology Student Assistant, and as a research assistant for the HR Department. I really liked research and was  extremely involved with projects in the Psychology Department, where I was part of Dr. Powell’s lab.

Over the course of my college career, I had three internships that have given me experience in learning and development, talent management, and counseling. One of my favorite experiences that Roanoke College provided me with was the opportunity to study abroad. I completed my May Term in Sri Lanka studying the landscape and culture and also spent a semester in the Netherlands.

Can you tell me more about where you interned?

My first internship was at a local outpatient counseling facility back home in NJ. During my time, I learned about what is was like to work as a counselor and gained some insight into how counseling sessions were run. While I enjoyed the internship, I found that after the experience my interests shifted more towards the organizational issues in the workplace. It was then I decided to take an Organizational Behavior class at Roanoke and completely fell in love with it!

That summer, I interned as a Talent Management intern at Digitas, an advertising agency in NYC. I gained so much experience there, which also reaffirmed [my interest in] the field of I/O. My favorite projects were analyzing company turnover rates and developing a national survey for interns and managers regarding job satisfaction and progress.

The next summer I interned at Wyndham Worldwide as a Learning and Development intern in their corporate office. While I was there, my favorite project involved researching ways that employees could develop the core values of the organization, which then led to the creation of a professional development website.

In both my internship programs, I participated in group case study projects where we worked together to create a strategy to solve a problem in the organization. This is where I became interested in a possible career as an organizational consultant.

What was your May Term and study abroad like?

During my May Term, I studied the landscape and culture in Sri Lanka. During the three weeks that we were there, we traveled all over the country, which was nice because we gained a well-rounded understanding of the culture. We visited different sites of worship where we gained an understanding the religious diversity of the country. We had the opportunity to interacts with the locals. My most memorable experience was volunteering at a school for a day where we taught English, did arts and crafts, and played sports with the kids. It was really interesting to visit the tea plantations and learn about its significance to the economy. My favorite part of the trip was learning about the wildlife, where we had the opportunity to go to safaris and a baby elephant orphanage!

I studied abroad in Tilburg, Netherlands in the fall semester of 2016. I chose the Netherlands because I wanted to study in a country that was known for their high quality of life and good working conditions. Tilburg University was the perfect school where I could take classes in the field of organizational studies through a psychological, sociological, and HR background (which combined all of my majors, minors, and concentrations)! I got to take a qualitative research class, an HRM class, and a class about the importance of building relationships within the workplace.

[…] I spent my weekends traveling throughout different European countries. Traveling to different places in Europe was so cheap and I got to experience so much history, culture, and beautiful architecture and landscapes.

During my time at Tilburg, the most meaningful memories I made were with the people I met. I was active in the international club, where I got the opportunity to interact with both Dutch people as well as different exchange students from all over the world. I lived in an international dorm where I also had the opportunity to learn about different cultures and build strong friendships with my roommates, who I still keep in touch with! (Fun fact: two of my friends that I studied abroad with actually live in Copenhagen and are students at CBS)!

What was graduating like? (Stepping on seal, the ceremony, etc.)

Graduation was such a special experience. Everyone was smiling and cheering each other on as they walked across the stage and got their diplomas. My whole family had driven all the way from New Jersey and Florida to share this moment with me which was so meaningful to me. At the end of the ceremony, it was a really special moment to walk past all of my professors who had supported me along this journey. Stepping on the  seal was definitely felt a little strange as I made sure I stayed away from it all four years.

What are you doing now after graduating?

After graduation, I took the summer off from working to do some traveling both within the States and internationally. Whenever I have free time, I love to explore new places and experience different parts of the world. It’s funny because I actually spent more time traveling than I did at home this summer. I traveled around the US with my best friend, who was also a recent graduate of RC! We went to Charleston, South Carolina, went all over California (San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Los Angeles), and Kennebunkport, Maine. It was funny because I live in NJ and my friend lived in Maine, and since we weren’t ready to say goodbye to each other just yet, we would book trips every few weeks so we could see each other fairly often! I got to visit family in Cocoa Beach, FL, where I have gone every single year since I was born. I also got to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a couple weeks to visit my boyfriend and quite a few of the friends that I studied abroad with.

I am now in Copenhagen, Denmark as I was awarded a Fulbright to studying and research at Copenhagen Business School for one year. It has truly been such amazing experience. I take classes within organizational studies and am researching workplace-related issues such as Nordic gender equality and sexual harassment in the workforce. During my time here, I have also started volunteering with an organization that focuses on students’ professional and personal development. I usually spend my weekends exploring new places throughout the city and country with friends. Although Denmark is such a small country, there is so many beautiful things to see and things to do. I’ve also taken up yoga in Denmark, which has been really cool to get into, especially in Denmark!

Where have you traveled to in Denmark?  

Since I’ve been in Copenhagen, I’ve been able to do some travelingboth domestically and internationally. The first few weeks I got here, I spent my time around the Copenhagen area getting to know the city a little better. My favorite things in Copenhagen are walking along the pretty painted houses of the Nyhavn, sitting on the dock at the beach in Amager Strand, exploring the different parks with all the fall foliage, and going to Tivoli at different times of the year (so far, I’ve got to experience the decorations for Summer, Halloween, Christmas). Outside of Copenhagen, I’ve done a road trip to Mons Klint, which are the cliffs in Denmark, which are absolutely stunning. I’ve also been to Odense to visit another Fulbrighter, which is an old town and also home to the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson, one of Denmark’s most popular authors (he wrote the Little Mermaid). Outside of Denmark, I’ve been to Oslo, Norway which was another beautiful Scandinavian city. I also had some time to explore Malmö, Sweden, which is a 30 minute train ride from Denmark (you can actually see from Copenhagen)! My favorite trip I’ve been on so far is to Switzerland to visit one of the friends I lived with when I studied abroad in the Netherlands. She is now an intern for the United Nations in Geneva and it was so nice to catch up with her, explore the city, and meet some of her friends. Switzerland is absolutely gorgeous with the mountains and the lakes!

What drew you to Denmark? Now that you have been there for a few months, what is living there like?

Living in Copenhagen is pretty awesome! The Danes are extremely kind and are also very chill. It is such a lovely place to live […]. There’s this concept in Danish called “hygge” which is really hard to describe, but it translates directly to cozy. It’s sort of this warm, cozy feeling of being relaxed and surrounded by people you care about and often involves food and drink. I think this is my favorite part about Denmark! Everyone rides their bikes pretty much everywhere, so it has been fun getting to know the city on bike. I live in international housing where I have my own room and share a kitchen with nine of master’s students from all over the world. It has been great to get to know everyone and learn about their cultures! Work-life balance is really emphasized in Denmark as well, which has been nice with balancing class, research, friends, volunteering, and leisure activities.

Copenhagen is a foodie city, so I have definitely made an effort to try lots of cool places to eat (Copenhagen street food and food markets are incredible)! The only downfall to Copenhagen is that it rains more than it does back in the States!

That sound amazing! What kind of food do they have there? 

Danish food is […] quite good! Rye bread is big here and so is seafood like small shrimp and salmon. Pork is also very popular (fun fact: there are more pigs than people in Denmark).

Although the Danes eat similar food that we do on a day-to-day basis, I’ve had the opportunity to try some of the more traditional dishes. Smørrebrød is probably my favorite dish. It’s a beautiful open face sandwich with all different kinds of meats, vegetables, and topping on it. Danish pastries are also SO GOOD! I’ve also tried roasted pork with crackling which has also been quite tasty as well! My favorite are the Danish version of cinnamon buns, which are incredible! While we have hot dogs in the US, the Danish hot dogs have a ton of topping on them like onions, pickles, and a bunch of different sauces. Aside from food, beer is also huge in Denmark and they have tons of local beers. Tuborg and Carlsberg are the two most popular and a couple of weeks ago, the beer companies released their Christmas beers which was an (un)official holiday in Denmark!

What do you miss about Roanoke College? What is your favorite thing about having graduated?

I love life after graduation, [though] I do miss Roanoke! I miss seeing my friends and professors every single day the most! I also miss how beautiful campus is and sitting outside of Commons on a nice day…

My favorite thing about having graduated is the newness of everything. In the past six months, I’ve moved to a completely new country and had the chance to experience many different things.While I still spend most of my day in a university setting, I am a part-time student so there is a bit less of a work-load in the evenings. With that being said, I have more free time to do things that interest me like spending time friends, reading leisurely, and enjoying different events in the city.

I saw that two of your friends came to visit you recently in Copenhagen and you took over RC Snapchat while they were there! That sounds like a lot of fun. Can you tell me more about it? What did you guys do?

It was so nice to have two of my friends visit me during their Fall Break at RC. It was so nice to catch up and show them around Copenhagen! We had a great time getting to explore the different parts of the city and trying good places to eat! My favorite place that we went to was Tivoli Gardens, which is a cute little amusement park in the middle of the city. Since it was October, the whole park was covered in Halloween decor which was so pretty! My Danish friend also came along and it was really nice for my two friends to meet some of my friends here in Copenhagen as well! I’m really grateful to have made such amazing friends at RC and miss them already!

What plans do you have for the future?

After I return back to the States from Denmark, I plan go to graduate school and get a degree in industrial/organizational psychology. I would like to work as an organizational consultant and focus on improving the work life of employees.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

I’ve been extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I had at Roanoke College, especially within the Psychology Department. I would not be who I am without the support and guidance from my professors and advisors. To current students reading this, take advantage of the opportunities that come your way… you never know what they will lead to!




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Undergraduate Research Published

Alumni Lauren Ratcliffe, Sabrina McAllister, Jacob Johnson, and Paige Dzindolet published their research seminar in neuroscience project from fall of 2016 in IMPULSE, an undergraduate neuroscience journal.

Their project, titled ‘During Ascending and Descending Limbs of the Blood Alcohol Concentration Curve’ uses a computerized trail making test in place of driving performance tests in order to better ascertain neurocognitive impairments associated with varying blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels.  Follow this link to go to the original article.

Students in Dr. Nichols’ research seminar in neuroscience have published their projects at a rate of one student publication per year.

Congratulations to our alumni on their recent publication!

Alumni Updates:

Lauren Ratcliffe

Graduating Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Psychology from Roanoke College in 2017, Ratcliffe obtained a B.S. in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience.  Ratcliffe is currently pursuing a Psy.D. at Mercer University in Clinical Medical Psychology with an emphasis on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ratcliffe also works as a research assistant at Mercer.

A Phi Beta Kappa member, McAllister obtained a B.S. in Psychology, a minor in Biology, and a concentration in Neuroscience from Roanoke College. McAllister graduated with ten semesters of psychology research experience in 2018. She is currently working as a psychometrist at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA, with a goal of pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Graduated in 2017 from Roanoke College with Honors in Psychology, a minor in Biology, and a concentration Neuroscience. He studied in Germany in the summer of 2016  and was recruited to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Johnson intends on pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to teach college-level courses and perform therapy.

Dzindolet graduated in 2017 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor Biology. In 2016, Dzindolet interned at Virginia Museum of Natural History where she worked with dinosaur bones and fossils, among other things. She is currently interested in obtaining a position involving Forensic Psychology and Criminology.




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An Interview with Recent Graduate, Maddie McCall ’18

In an interview with a student assistant, recent graduate Maddie McCall ’18 describes life after graduation and recalls her favorite memories from Roanoke College.


To start off, can you tell me a little about yourself? 

Just graduated in May of 2018, with a BA in Psychology and Honors in Sociology, with two concentrations, Human Development and Information Analysis. I was the VP of Psi Chi, a member of RCPA, wore all of the hats for the now inactive (RIP) chapter of Mu Beta Psi, was president of Lamba Alliance, and was active in a bunch of other clubs. I was also the Head Academic Coach, a Research Assistant to the wonderful Dr. Khoo, and was lucky enough to be the Head Student Assistant for the Psych Department (which I miss dearly).

What was graduating like? 

Graduation was such a fun time (even waiting in the basement of West before line up)! I was the first person in my family to go to college, so being able to walk across the stage, shake President Maxey’s hand, and get my diploma… it meant so much, both to me and my family. But being able to stand next to all of my friends, who have all worked so hard the last four years, made it even more special. Plus, finally getting to step on the seal was pretty cool 😉

Grey outfit = groutfit.

What are you doing now after graduating? 

After graduation I moved to Northern Virginia, where the people are diverse but all suck at driving. It sort of reminds me of Freshman year, where I’m starting fresh and finding my tribe. Apps like MeetUp have totally helped me branch out and meet new people! I’ve joined some board-game groups and have tried my hand at Bob Ross paint-alongs 😊 Oh! My roommate and I also adopted a gray cat named Groutfit (all gray outfit = groutfit, because of course).

I’m also working as a Survey Analyst at a market research company called Resonate.

Click on the image to go to Resonate’s official website.

How did you get your position? What do you do for them?

I honestly got this job mostly through my two seminar projects. Basically, what my job entails is creating hour long surveys on Qualtrics that then get sent out to thousands of people (a much bigger N than I was used to at Roanoke), monitoring and QA-ing the data, and delving deeper into and analyzing the “why” of human behavior. While at Roanoke, I used Qualtrics to create both my Soc and Psych senior seminar projects, which gave me a lot of experience at different features and logics Qualtrics has available. That, along with research experience on campus (which comes in handy when researching and writing the actual questions in a non-biased way) and just being open to learning new experiences was incredibly beneficial. (But, really, it was the fact that my now-boss asked me if I knew any jokes during my final interview… It’s like my whole life was leading up to that moment.)

(As a side-note, we currently have some computer science openings… we’re a really cool company!)

What do you miss about Roanoke College? What is your favorite thing about having graduated?

I think one of my favorite things about having graduated is that I’m now 3.5 hours closer to my family. I also have a lot more free-time on my hands with just working a 9-5. However, there’s a ton that I miss from Roanoke, but mostly the people. (There’s something special about going to Sheetz at 1 in the morning and seeing people from your 9:40 class.) I miss being able to walk across campus and seeing so many of my friends and professors, all of the different events constantly happening, and those mountains. Man, you can’t beat those mountain sunsets.

But mostly, I’m going to miss Ellen’s Christmas trail mix!

What plans do you have for the future?

While I enjoy the job I currently have (HR gave me a Nerf gun on my first day, we have Bagel Wednesday’s, Snacktastic Friday’s, our teams are named after comic book groups, and we have Mystery Events twice a year!), ultimately, I would love to go back to school – both to learn and to teach. I would love to one day be a psych professor of my own. 😊

Do you still have an opportunity to utilize your knowledge of memes?

… I’ve begun to incorporate memes into my team’s group chat at work, so…

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone and experience new things (both academically and otherwise – you have no idea how they might benefit you when applying for jobs/grad school).
  • Stay on top of your LinkedIn profile.
  • Take it all in

And of course, because I’m me and I’m incapable of ending anything without a pun:

What do you call two monkeys who share an Amazon account?

Prime mates (because, let’s face it, those Prime rates are bananas)

We miss you, Maddie,  but are glad that you are doing well! Thank you for taking your time to talk with us about life after graduation! (And for the cute cat pictures and fabulous memes/puns.)

If you have any questions about Qualtrics and/or job searching, feel free to email Maddie at  She will be happy to help you!




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Alumni Recognition

Kevin Clarke, Roanoke College graduate of ’02, pictured in the center.

Kevin Clarke, a 2002 Roanoke College alum, recently succeeded in defending his dissertation!

Dr. Clarke completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Roanoke College. After graduation, he not only went on to pursue a doctorate in theology from Ave Maria University, but also edited the inaugural volume of a new series published by the Catholic University of America Press this past May, titled The Seven Deadly Sins: Sayings of the Fathers of the Church.

Congratulations to Dr. Clarke!


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Alumni Career Fair!

Are you looking for internships? Job opportunities? Then consider attending to Alumni Career Fair! The event will be held on Thursday, April 12th, from 5-7 pm on the main level of Colket.

Why should you attend? According to Director McLawhorn of Career Services, alumni from around 30 companies/organizations/career fields of various industries and geographic locations will be there to share about their career fields, as well as provide information about internships and/or job opportunities that may be available at their respective places of employment.

Some company recruiters will be there as well.

Things you should know before you go: 

  • Neat, but casual clothing is fine.
  • It’s highly suggested that students bring resumes, but they are not required. (Students can contact Career Services for assistance with resumes prior to April 12.)
  • There will be door prizes.

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Student Publication & Updates

Last semester, students from Dr. Nichols lab published a paper titled “Exploration of Methodological and Participant-Related Influences on the Number of Artifacts in ERP Data.”

Under the direction of Dr. Nichols, Ms. Stephanie M. Shields and Ms. Caitlin E. Morse conducted a study in order to see how the number of trials needed to collect enough data for Event-related Potential (ERP) could be minimized through the reduction of artifacts.

Typically, this type of research requires a number of trials in order to collect enough data. Oftentimes, several of these trials have to be discarded as a result of artifacts, or errors.

Shields, Morse, and Nichols focused specifically on the connections between “the number of trials that have to be eliminated due to artifacts and a set of methodological variables, physical considerations, and individual differences.”

To read more about what they found as a result of their research, follow this link to the original article.

Related: Ms. Shields was awarded a Fulbright grant to return to Germany to study bat vocalizations and vocal learning in Munich, Germany from September 2017-July 2018. Prior to this, she spent a summer in Hamburg, Germany through the German Academic Exchange Service Research Internship in Science and Engineering. While there, she completed a research project with Ph.D. student Signe Luisa Schneider on electroencephalography (EEG), learning, and memory. (To find out more about this latter project, follow this link.) Shields also completed over three years of research in the psychology department and had other articles published as well. She graduated with a major in psychology, a concentration in neuroscience, and a minor in German. She plans on earning a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.

Related: Ms. Morse currently works as a Licensed Nursing Assistant at Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire. Graduating from Roanoke College with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science in 2017, she followed this by attending the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences where she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in order to become a registered nurse. While at Roanoke College, she worked as a research assistant in the psychology department for around three and a half years, starting in 2013. She has also participated in two other published articles through Dr. Nichols lab, alongside Ms. Shields and other students. Her Linked In account can be found here.

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Psychology Graduate Alexandra Ekirch Recognized by the Kiwanis Club

Alexandra Ekirch, an Officer with the Roanoke City Police Department, was recognized by the Kiwanis Club, along with her partner, for their service to the community. Officer Ekirch graduated in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Roanoke College.

Alumni Reception – April 8th, 2017

The Psychology Department will be hosting an alumni reception during Alumni Weekend (Saturday, April 8th) in Lucas Library (215) and on the adjacent outdoor balcony from 4:00 to 5:30pm. We are excited to see our returning alumni at this event.

Please stop by for some drinks, snacks, and fun activities with the Psychology Department!

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JOB: Community-Based Mental Health Counselor


The Community Counseling at Family Service of Roanoke Valley has at least two openings for a Community-Based Mental Health Counselor (working primarily with youth) in the Roanoke area.

Community Counseling Programs – Family Service of Roanoke Valley is seeking part-time professional to work with youth and families in Medicaid Licensed Programs as well as grant funded programs. The services will be provided in a variety of community settings included homes, after school settings and school based groups. A Bachelor’s degree in an applicable social science is required as is experience working with youth (must be Qualified Mental Health Professional-Children, QMHP-C). Each applicant must hold a valid Virginia Driver’s License and have an insured vehicle to transport youth. Bi-lingual applicants are encouraged to apply.

Applicants can email or call Emily DeCarlo, the Program Manager, if they have any questions., Phone: (540)563-5316 ext. 3007.

Please see for more information on Community Counseling at Family Service of Roanoke Valley.

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Radford University, I.O. Masters Program


Haley Goodes ’15 is currently attending Radford University’s  Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master’s Program! We reached out to her answer some questions about graduate school. Feel free to reach out to Haley if you have any questions (see end of article for contact info).


  1. What’s your program like?

The Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master’s Program at Radford University is a two-year program that is project-oriented. In comparison to other programs, we work directly with clients in the majority of our classes to assess their needs and present them with materials to help resolve these organizational needs. It is also required of every student to have an internship, which is extremely helpful in getting experience in the field outside the classroom setting. In our program, our culture involves teamwork and communication. The professors are very helpful and strive to teach us to be the best evidence-based practitioners that we can be. In general, this degree supports those who are looking to go into consulting (internal, external) or human resources fields.

  1. What type of classes and assignments intrigue you the most in your program?

Every class is designed to teach us best practices for different topics; however, the materials and best practices somewhat overlap in an organized way to provide us with a better overall understanding of I/O Psychology. Classes such as Organizational Psychology, Employee Selection, Psychometric Theory, and Performance Appraisal have been the most interesting to me since these classes provide a framework for how to perform most of our practices in the most effective ways.

  1. Any advice for current students?

If students are looking to further their education in Psychology, Industrial-Organizational Psychology differs since it focuses on specific issues in business settings. The analysis and comprehension of data is a strong component in I/O Psychology so that we can provide the most useful information to organizations with the support of evidence. Be passionate about what you think you would like to do in a career path and be very prepared with research, etc. before applying to any program. Asking advice from your professors about how to apply to graduate school and how to present yourself to each school is important. Also, the online information source to explore professions, O*NET, is a very helpful tool to see various aspects of different jobs.

  1. What do you think prepared you the most for grad school?

At Roanoke College, my Human Resource Management concentration and psychology courses, such as Research Methods, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, etc. prepared me for the content of the courses and how to study and present myself to clients. I believe my involvement in many different groups around campus helped me understand how to better communicate and lead others. I also had an internship in a human resources department before graduating from Roanoke College, which helped me get experience and interact with professionals in a human resources setting.

  1. Would you be willing to list your contact info on the post so students can reach out to you?

Yes. My email is The Radford University link to the I/O Psychology Program is

Alumni Weekend Reception


On Saturday, April 9th, Alumni of the Psychology department came together to share stories and partake in fun activities. This year, more alumni showed up than ever! Alumni entered into contests and trivia games as well. Peter Hill ’65 was the alumni who graduated the longest time ago, Kelly Paton ’12 traveled over 1000 miles, and Lauren Kennedy ’14 won our trivia games!

Thank you to all the alumni who came out!

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Undergraduate Publication


Congratulations to Alex Grant, alumni Rachael Benons, Ashley Johns, Melissa Hobson, and Dr. Nichols for their recent publication in Impulse! Impulse is a premier undergraduate journal dedicated to neuroscience.

Please see the link to read their article on Foreign Accent Perception and Processing with EEG:

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Alumni Weekend Departmental Reception

The Psychology Department will be having an alumni reception over Alumni Weekend (Saturday, April 9th) on the outdoor balcony of Lucas Hall (2nd floor) from 4:00 to 5:30pm. (Rain Location: Lucas 215)

Please stop by for some drinks, snacks, and fun activities with the Psychology Department!  1-DSC_1732Contact Chris Buchholz (, 540-375-4904) for more information.

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Alumni Update!

CJ and Mrs. Carter_Oct 2014
Dr. Christine Johnston Jensen majored in Psychology and graduated from Roanoke College in 1992. She fondly remembers Dr. Jan Lynch’s Developmental classes (Dr. Lynch retired last year), saying “I found my real calling with her adult development and aging course.”
Inspired by Dr. Lynch and others, Dr. Jensen went on to complete a Ph.D. in Human Development/Adult Development and Aging at the University of Delaware. She now serves as the Director of Health Services Research at the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health in Williamsburg, VA. In this role she oversees a number of federal and state funded grant projects that focus on working with older adults and their caregivers. Dr. Jensen also teaches courses in the Gerontology Masters program at VCU and is a Master Trainer with the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving.

Clinician Therapist Position Available

A position for a Clinician Therapist serving community homes in Roanoke has become available by Intercept Youth Services!

If you are seeking a full-time position, please see below for the job description. They would to have the chance to see your resume and  interview you!

Provided is the Link to Intercept:

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.13.36 PM

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Alum Update: Charis Flamburis Current Work and Future Plans

“I am currently serving with AmeriCorps State through the Advancement Foundation. I am working for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Roanoke. I chose to serve with AmeriCorps because I liked the organizations they worked with and thought that it would be great experience. I love working with Big Brother Big Sister because I work with troubled children and youths. I would like to pursue a Masters in Counseling to counsel troubled children and youths, so it fits perfectly.”

Charis, we know a Masters in your future and that you will be a great counselor! We are proud that you are changing the world one life at a time. Your work matters.


Alum Update: Cindy Cook Talks About The Path To Finding Her Passion

“May 2013 graduation feels like a lifetime ago.  Life has been a whirlwind since then.  I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.  I have been working as a Certified Pharmacy Tech, starting out in retail and recently making the transition to long term care.  I believe I have found my passions to lie as a mix between psychology and pharmacy and am looking deeply into becoming a Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner.  Still not set in stone, so we shall see where life takes me!”

Thanks for the update, Cindy. Many of us take a winding path to find our place. Please keep us in the loop!



Alumni Update: Sebastian Pena


“Since graduation, I have been working at different research positions at Georgetown University and the Johns Hopkins University. At Georgetown I am currently working in two positions. I am the lab manager for the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition in the Department of Neuroscience. In this lab I am involved in facilitating and conducting studies involving tinnitus, neuroplasticity, music, and neuroimaging (fMRI). I am also a research assistant in a lab that studies opioid addiction in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. My work in this lab includes recruitment, administering questionnaires to patients, and supporting the effort of our clinical trial.

At Johns Hopkins I am a research program coordinator in the School of Medicine working for two doctors that study HIV and substance use disorders. I conduct interviews with patients in the hospital for a research study that is investigating how to incorporate a computerized survey as part of the regular care of our medical staff’s substance use consultation visits. I am also assisting with writing a paper about HIV medication adherence that we hope to submit for publication soon. In the next couple of months I will begin to interview patients and staff at our HIV clinic as part of a research study investigating retention.

I plan to use all these experiences to pursue a Ph.D in neuroscience and/or to apply to medical school. Hopefully I’ll soon figure out exactly what I want my next step to be!”

  • Sebastian Pena

Congratulations Sebastian and keep up the good work!

Update from Alum and Psych Minor, Jordan May


In her own words:

Jordan May Roanoke College, 2013

B.S. Health and Exercise Science

Minor: Psychology

Soccer. Travel. More soccer. More travel.

Since graduating from Roanoke in 2013, the past 2 plus years have been a whirlwind. The summer after graduation I relocated to Lewiston, Maine to start my position as an Assistant Women’s Soccer coach at NCAA Division III institution, Bates College. My day-to-day tasks consist of helping our head coach, Kelsy Ross (Roanoke College ’05), with practice planning, facilitating team communication, coordinating community events and community service, coaching in training sessions, recruiting, scouting opponents, and taking care of travel arrangements, as well as game-day responsibilities. In addition to my duties at Bates, in our collegiate off-season, I help out at a local club, Seacoast United Maine, in various aspects of trainings with kids as young as 7 up to 18. To say I had no idea how much thought, time, and energy it takes to help run a collegiate athletics program (or even just a 2 hour training session), is an understatement. To be on the other side of the lines is truly an eye opening, humbling experience. My four years at Roanoke as a student-athlete was is a time that I reflect upon on a daily basis. My writing and critical thinking skills were really formed during that time and help to analyze and dissect the good and the bad of our squad, routinely. Being a coach isn’t just about teaching the X’s and O’s and developing players in practice, but also about forming bonds and relationships with your them to understand what makes them tick. Figuring out that what works best for one player, might not be the same for another, and so on, is a real challenge!

In the future, I hope to go back to school to obtain a masters degree in the field of Sports Management or Sports Psychology while also continuing to coach.

Jordan, we are proud of what you have achieved and are pleased your degree is serving you well. Keep us updated! We know you’ll be successful obtaining your Masters.


Alum Johnzelle Anderson Thanks Profs and Gives Update on Counseling Masters

Check out his recent blog post:

Johnzelle is well on his way, starting his internship soon! Shortly thereafter, he will have his Masters in hand. Way to go, Johnzelle! We are incredibly proud of your accomplishments. Keep us updated! And, thanks for the shout out. We are glad we were / are able to help you be successful.


Coleen Weber Briggs in a School Counseling program

ColeenColeen (Weber) Briggs B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience, class of 2013, has started graduate work in a Masters of School Counseling program at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC. Coleen aspires to complete her program in May 2017 with a 4.0 GPA average with the goal of eventually completing a Ph.D in either Developmental Psychology or Neuroscience.
“I enjoy psychology both from a scientific and social standpoint, primarily because it has allowed me to understand my own personal needs and the needs of those around me with greater clarity. Further, my studies in both psychology and neuroscience have given me the tools necessary to handle crises and to better work with the public. It is my hope that I can utilize my skills first in a school setting as a counselor, then in the future as a school psychologist or a neurological specialist. I encourage any students who view the psychology field from a scientific perspective to take advantage of the neuroscience program.”
Coleen took advantage of a couple of years off to explore her interests and talents, and it paid off. Not everyone has to go to graduate school right out of undergraduate.

Good work Coleen!  We are proud of you.

Spencer Munro set to finish summer-long Journey of Hope ride.

11063844_10154081984813989_3052889282999895110_nWe’ll let Spencer,BA in Psychology class of 2014, describe it himself: “Journey of Hope is a cross country cycling trip across three different routes that raise money and awareness for people with disabilities. This event is one of many hosted by Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy, The Ability Experience. I worked as the Logistics Coordinator for the South Route of Journey of Hope where I was in charge of organizing the entirety of the trip and overseeing the safety of the team of thirty-six. Daily, we would meet with organizations that worked with people with different ability backgrounds. These “friendship visits” would serve as not only our inspiration to continue on the trip after hard days but as opportunities for us to create amazing memories with equally amazing individuals.
My educational pursuit was fueled by my passion to find a career where I can serve others. My time at Roanoke College benefited me greatly with my post graduate internship with The Ability Experience. Firstly, my research skills that I got from seminar allowed me to research and recruit several new organizational sponsors allowing for dozens of new first time visits. Secondly, my understanding of physical and developmental disorders allowed me to educate the cyclists so we could gain a stronger empathy to the many individuals we met.
I wish I could explain just how exactly incredible this summer has been. Every day on this trip was filled with memories I’ll cherish forever. Seeing the smiles on the client’s faces during baseball games, karaoke sessions, pool parties and all of the other events made every hardship seem so insignificant. I’m forever grateful for this opportunity that was available to me because of my time at Roanoke College.”

We are proud of you, Spencer!

Hazel Smitson completes Master’s degree

Hazel Smitson and Devin DobynsHazel Smitson (B.S in Psychology with concentration in Neuroscience, 2013 cum laude) completed her master’s degree at the University of Indianapolis this July. Her degree is in Clinical Psychology with a track in mental health counseling. She will be working as an outpatient therapist at Meridian Health Services in Muncie, Indiana. Hazel looks forward to (finally) working with people as a therapist. We are very happy for her!

Featured Alum: Yuki Yamazaki

Alumna Yuki Yamazaki (’13) recently graduated from Columbia University Teachers College after earning her Ed.M. & M.A. in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health Counseling.

Since graduation, Yuki has started working as a Field Researcher for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development in their Housing and Neighborhood Study which looks at how housing, communities, and neighborhoods impact individual New Yorkers health- physical, mental, and emotional- as well as overall wellbeing.

Yuki would like to also thank the Roanoke Psychology Dept for their unwavering support, listening ear, and unnerving dance abilities through all of the milestones she’s completed so far.



Living & Working Abroad Post-Graduation

katy antigua

Katy Hurst (B.S., Psychology, 2013) spent the past two years living in Antigua, Guatemala where she worked at the newly established Antigua International School (AIS). AIS is a college preparatory K-12 school that serves nearly 200 students from diverse cultural, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds. It is the first school of its kind in Guatemala, combining a world-class, internationally accredited education with an unprecedented financial aid program and curriculum centered around service. Katy’s role in the school was as both an Admissions and Development Officer. As part of the development team, Katy worked to procure the funds for the scholarship program that served 50% of the student population including many students from rural villages. She also helped to establish the school’s admissions process and policies and especially enjoyed using her psychology background to assess social, emotional, and academic readiness to ensure that each student was placed in an environment in which he or she could thrive. Katy loved watching students develop a new language and experience learning on deeper levels than ever before. She will most certainly draw on this experience as she begins work on her Master of Education degree in Human Development Counseling at Vanderbilt University next fall.

Katy Hurst to Attend Vanderbilt University



Upon completion of her Bachelor’s of Science in 2013, Roanoke alumna Katy Hurst spent two years living and working in Antigua, Guatemala. During her time abroad, she reflected on her studies at Roanoke and the academic opportunities that lay ahead. After completing her graduate school application and interview process from abroad, Katy decided to pursue a M.Ed. in Human Development Counseling (School Counseling track) at Vanderbilt University. The program is unique in its focus on mental health, college, and job access counseling through the lens of human development.

Katy’s interest in education, human development, and counseling was honed in her undergraduate years, especially through Roanoke’s child and adolescent development courses and the “Counseling and Psychotherapy” Mayterm. Katy will also draw from her undergraduate research experience as she works as a research assistant in Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education. Additionally, she was selected to receive the Dean’s Tuition Scholarship award and has accepted an assistantship where she will be working on a special education project. She is looking forward to taking advantage of all this next step has to offer.

Congratulations Dr. Early on your coming retirement!

chuck and pie


Congratulations Dr. Early on your retirement! We will all miss you greatly!

The following is the resolution read at the last faculty meeting for Dr. Charles Early:

We the members of the faculty, staff and Trustees of Roanoke College rise to give tribute to and offer the following resolution honoring Dr. Charles Edgar Early, Professor of Psychology, for his long and distinguished service of 27 years to the Department of Psychology, to thousands of his students and to the entire Roanoke
College community.

Whereas, seeing little usefulness in dropping nuclear weapons on our foes, Chuck wisely decided that using psychology to communicate with the enemy and feeling their pain would be a better approach. Thus, he resigned from the Air Force and
began to pursue graduate studies in psychology. It is wise to remember he served as a Major in the U.S. Air Force as a ground traffic controller of fighter jets and also maintained nuclear targeting dossiers on the locations of various Soviet Generals,
and he earned his black belt in Tae Kwan Do style karate in Korea therefore it may be best we not get on the black-list he might still maintain.

Whereas, Chuck earned many academic degrees culminating in a Ph.D. from Penn State and attended the Air Command Intelligence School twice, we can be certain that he is indeed, by Air force and any other standard, intelligent.

Whereas, after Chuck relinquished his position as chair after years of distinguished service, his successor Dr. Ronda Carpenter referred to him as her first officer in the administration of the department. He has maintained this capacity as a fountain of administrative wisdom to all subsequent chairs of our department. His wise counsel
will be missed.

Whereas, Chuck’ history of psychology course has been recognized as a tough rite of passage for majors, it has spurred students to nominate him for the College-wide teaching award. He has led many students to succeed because he believed in them.  His advising success is a model for others in the department. Chuck is clearly well loved by his students who gave him an A+ rating on They also awarded him a hubba-hubba chili pepper and likened him to Richard Gere.

Whereas, Chuck has been a life-long aficionado of the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs, we hope that he can make use of a portion of his retirement to explore the curious psychology of the feral child Earl John Clayton Greystoke, AKA “Tarzan.” Another interest of Chuck’s is amateur astronomy, and he has attended several
annual Texas Star Parties near Fort Davis, Texas, in the fantastically dark skies where the light from the Milky Way casts your shadow on the ground. We wish him many dark and clear skies in future Texas Star Party events.

Whereas, Chuck still works out even now at retirement age, can do chin-ups and out bench press weights not achievable by the majority of RC campus’ student body, faculty and staff. We wish him continued good health and physical strength to endure the rigors of retirement. We also hope he will send us “selfies”.

Whereas, Chuck is legendary as the person who never skipped desserts, it is known that his very favorite pie flavor of all time is Apple, Peach, Cherry, Pumpkin and Blueberry. Peanut butter pie need not apply. He and a former colleague, coined the term “piece-let” to refer to small slices of pie or cake that would reasonably be
conjoined into a “piece” of dessert. In fact, Chuck has used his conditioning techniques, taught in learning, to ensure that any department member who attends Commons lunch uses their carryout item as a dessert for Chuck when we are not
graced with his lunchtime presence.

Whereas, he retains his classic comic book collection, we hope that these increase in value over the years comparably to the original Superman comic book was recently auctioned at eBay for 3.2 million dollars. These can accompany his collection of over 3000 significant books in his hand-made beautiful bookcases in his living room and office.

Whereas, Chuck is the model of a Renaissance man who has taught 20 different courses, written a book, published 22 papers, 16 reviews of chapters or books, and made 49 significant presentations and co-editing of a massive “Pictorial history of Psychology.” Now that Chuck plans to move to the Savannah, GA area to be nearer
his daughter, a successful Roanoke College alumna, we reveal that one unit of the bookcases in his home office swings aside to reveal a secret room. Dr. Pranzarone has been sworn not to reveal what Chuck kept in this formerly secret room, so it is incumbent upon friends of Chuck to communicate with him frequently if they hope
that this information be divulged. We suspect superhero powers are at play.

Whereas, it is noted that while Charles is retiring, suspiciously coincident with the retirement of his colleague Dr. Jan H Lynch, we will no longer see that they quite frequently departed the department at the same time arm-in-arm. Rumors will now
cease as they are separated to divergent parts of the United States.
Whereas, Chuck is often looked to for guidance, wisdom, and calm; we will use key quotes of his to keep his spirit alive in the department: “Students are our motivation.” and “We are first and foremost a teaching college; let us not forget.”

Whereas, we all here as part of the Roanoke College family have greatly benefited from the friendship, warmth, sincerity, gentle good humor of this tall fellow, be it then resolved that we all wish him health, clear skies and fair weather in his retirement from professorship at Roanoke College; that he be granted long life and
prosperity and that his curiosity and drive for life-long learning never be diminished.

Therefore, it so resolved that these comments be then entered into the official minutes of the Meeting of the Faculty of Roanoke College in gratitude and celebration of the life and career of Dr. Charles Edgar Early.



Allyson Brothers ’03, Featured Alum

Allyson Brothers 2003

“I am in my 4th year of the Applied Developmental Science (ADS) PhD program. ADS is a unique degree program that trains students in Human Development (also sometimes referred to as Developmental Psychology), with a rigorous training in both basic and applied research methodology. Although I am trained in research across the human life span, my primary area of focus is on adult development, including middle-age and later life. I study attitudes and stereotypes about aging, and their effects on health and well-being in later life. I am so passionate about this research because it turns out that seemingly simple and harmless jokes and negative perceptions about “old people” are actually robustly predictive of so many negative outcomes – including worse cognitive function, poorer walking and balance, lower life satisfaction, and even shorter life span by an average of 7.5 years! Plus, many stereotypes about aging are very inaccurate, and are contradicted by a growing body of research. Therefore, during my work here at CSU, I have collaborated with my advisor to design an intervention program that aims to help adults re-think the aging process. We hope to find out whether changing people’s attitudes about aging can result in meaningful behavioral changes, especially health promotion through increased physical activity.

The PhD program has been intense and lots of hard work – but has offered so many gratifying experiences. I have been part of an international research collaboration, and attended a conference in Heidelberg, Germany. I have had the opportunity to learn advanced statistical methods, to present work at national and international conferences, to gain teaching experience, and to mentor undergraduate students in our research lab. I plan to graduate in the next year, and am currently looking for post-doctoral and job opportunities that will allow me to use the research and teaching skills I have gained during the past several years.”

Allyson is also volunteering as a contact for our psych majors considering graduate school, so if you have any questions about graduate school, she would love to chat with you! ( )

Also check out her feature on the Psych Department’s Roanoke Alumni page! (

Get Ready for Alumni Weekend!

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The Psychology Department will be having an alumni reception over Alumni Weekend (Saturday April 11th) on the outdoor balcony of Lucas Hall (2nd floor) from 4:00 to 5:30pm. (Rain Location: Lucas 215)

Please stop by for some drinks, snacks, and fun activities with the Psychology Department! This year we will also be honoring the years of dedicated service from Dr. Jan Lynch and Dr. Chuck Early, who will both retire at the end of this year. Contact Chris Buchholz (, 540-375-4904) for more information.

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Alumni Update

20130422-H5596-DBHSince graduating from Roanoke College in 2014 magna cum laude with a major of Psychology, minor in Creative Writing, and concentration in Neuroscience, Lauren Kennedy is in the midst of completing her first year in the new Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health PhD program at Virginia Tech.

Congratulations Lauren!

Dr. Vernon Mountcastle Passes On


Dr. Vernon Mountcastle, the “father of neuroscience,” died Sunday, January 11th  at the age of 96. He is a Roanoke alumnus who graduated in 1938. Throughout his life he made many important discoveries in neuroscience. You can learn more about him and his discoveries here:

To read The Roanoke Times report, which President Maxey and Dr. David Nichols both feature in to talk of Dr. Mountcastle’s discoveries, go here:

Alyssa Bostrom’s Post-Undergrad Activities

Alyssa Bostrom Rebuilding Together

Alyssa Bostrom, a 2013 Roanoke graduate, has been up to quite a bit since she embarked on her life after Roanoke! The following is her description of these numerous activities:

“I completed 2 AmeriCorps terms with Rebuilding Together Roanoke as a Project Specialist. Rebuilding Together is a national non-profit that provides critical home repairs to low-income homeowners for free. This past year I received the AmeriCorps Member of the Year award from Rebuilding Together for the the 2 terms of service I completed during 2013 and 2014. As of January 2015 I moved to the Denver area in order to pursue a Masters in Christian Leadership with a concentration in the Outdoor at the Denver Seminary. My career goal is to stay in non-profit management and ideally work for an organization that promotes Youth Development and Leadership Development through hands on and service learning. While going to school I am working at OpenWorld Learning a non-profit in Denver that partners with Denver Public Schools and provides an after school program for at risk/low-income elementary and middle school kids.The focus is computer and technology skills. This program along with most of the partnering schools have a bi-lingual English/Spanish curriculum so I am using my BA in Spanish in order to aid in the facilitation of the program and support children who do not speak English as their first language.”


The Psychology Department Mourns The Passing of Alum, Courtney King

“Courtney was a ray of sunshine, but don’t let that fool you, she had a feisty side! Her bright smile, beautiful personality, and kind heart will forever remain in our hearts. Courtney fought some hard battles during her short time on this earth, but she was not a complainer. If anything, she took care of others! After finishing her BA in Psych at RC, she completed her Masters at Liberty. Courtney loved her friends, her sorority sisters,  and of course, her family. To know her was to love her. We are thankful that we had the opportunity to interact with such a wonderful person. May we all take inspiration from Courtney.” ~Dr. Denise Friedman, Department Chair


Courtney (right) pictured with one of her sorority sisters, Molly (left).

Alum Breanna Wright Accepted to PhD Program at Stony Brook University



Breanna Wright received a full assistantship and summer compensation to attend Stony Brook University where she will pursue a PhD in Political Science. Breanna is specifically interested in political psychology which she was the focus of her honors in the major project. Dr. Friedman and Breanna are preparing her honors paper for publication now.

Psychology Department Gets a New Chairperson!

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Denise Friedman has become the new chairperson for the Department of Psychology.  

Dr. Friedman joined the department in 2007. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Averett University with a B.S. in Psychology. She earned a M.S. (2004) and Ph.D. (2006) from Virginia Tech where she specialized in Developmental and Biological Psychology. She is a member of Alpha Chi and Phi Kappa Phi. Her research interests include cognitive and frontal lobe development from infancy through early adulthood. Her current research program examines the impact of technology on cognitive and social skills.