Let’s explore the realm of research professionals as we introduce our highlighted alumni for this week!

Molly Reed: Project Manager at Schlesinger Group

What is Molly’s role on her team?

“I work in qualitative market research for a team that recruits participants for market research studies. My role as a project manager is to manage client relations and direct the team during the recruiting process.”

Abbie Joseph: Clinical Research Coordinator at US Foot & Ankle Specialists

How does Abbie describe her position to others?

“I work with the doctors to conduct the day-to-day activities of clinical trials on medical devices that are not yet on the market. I see each patient weekly to collect all the necessary data to enter into the study databases. I also help recruit new research patients through advertisements and visiting other clinics in the community who may have qualified patients.”

Nikki Hurless, PhD, NCC, LPC: Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at Tarleton State University

How did Nikki become a Visiting Assistant Professor?

“I started out in a clinical psychology doctoral program, but after 2 years I decided I wanted more training in counseling and therapeutic relationships, so I left with a master’s degree only. Then, I completed a doctoral program in counselor education and supervision where I learned the nuances of mental health and how to train new professional counselors. I taught at a master’s level counseling training program for 3 years before deciding I wanted to try teaching at the undergraduate level. Throughout this time I’ve also been a part-time counselor focusing on treating traumatic stress. My clinical work helps inform my teaching and I love having real-world examples to illustrate psychological concepts, diagnoses, and the counseling process. I also research topics including counselor development, the effects of self and external stigma, and queer-affirming strategies, among others. I wear many hats!”

Rebecca Ward, PhD: Scientific Writer at Massachusetts General Hospital

What are some of Rebecca’s duties as a Scientific Writer?

“I write and edit research documents (such as grants and manuscripts), manage regulatory protocols (IRB, biosafety, animal safety), and educate trainees on scientific communications. In addition to this, I am currently setting up a writing center within the Department of Medicine and lead the MGB Scientific Writing Group.”

Misha Digman Narducci: Senior Survey Programmer, Research Operations at inVibe, a division of THREAD

How did Misha enter the field of research psychology? 

“I obtained my first survey programming position with no professional work experience, I instead showcased my undergraduate projects on a portfolio website. The website showed that I knew the basics of the research process, including survey design and programming. From there, I was promoted to a senior position after gaining 2 years of professional experience.”

Yipeng (Shaw) Wang: Senior User Experience Researcher at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

What is Shaw’s favorite part of being a Senior User Experience Researcher?

“I still do my favorite research and talk with all kinds of people! All the parts I like about psychology and humans can be found in this job! What’s more, it gives me a lot of satisfaction to see the feedback from my research in a relatively short period of time. The impact of the findings on the product involves a large number of users, and it is very rewarding for me to be able to make people’s experience of the product more user-friendly and comfortable. Plus: the pay is high! Probably one of the highest in the psychology field.”

From project management and clinical research coordination to teaching and scientific writing, our alumni showcase some of the many opportunities within the field of research psychology. By sharing their experiences, these alumni hope to inspire the next generation of researchers to explore and pursue their passions. 

We also asked our alumni to reflect on the Roanoke courses or experiences that have been most relevant to their current careers.

In terms of influential classes, alumni named PSYC-202 Research Methods in Psychology, PSYC-204 Quantitative Methods in Psychology, and PSYC-410 Research Seminar: Psychology. Several alumni also mentioned the various credited research opportunities working in faculty member’s labs as being beneficial to their skill development, a few even completed Honors in the Major projects prior to graduating. Also noting the significance of her Neuroscience concentration courses, Rebecca Ward, PhD wrote, “The addition of the neuroscience concentration, coupled with the amount of writing required through the coursework at Roanoke, prepared me to think critically and better communicate science.”

Nikki Hurless, PhD, NCC, LPC included, “My research methods class was a foundational component of my academic career. I loved learning research design – my instructor instilled a scientific curiosity in me that motivated me to get involved in as many research-related experiences as possible. In general, the psych department’s strong focus on writing has also been very useful to me in publications and in communicating my ideas at professional conferences.” Similarly, Yipeng (Shaw) Wang reflected by saying, “I do literature reviews, write research plans, conduct research sessions like interviews, usability testing and field research. All these skills can be traced back to my courses at RC.” These alumni’s reflections underscore the invaluable role of strong foundational education and practical experiences in research, highlighting the enduring impact of their time at Roanoke College on their professional journeys.

Molly Reed wrote, “Working in the position I do [Project Manager], I only handle the recruitment aspect, but because of all of the research experience I gained during my time at Roanoke I feel like I have a deeper understanding of the overall picture, which makes me more effective at my job.”

It’s great to see the diverse paths Roanoke College psychology alumni have taken in their careers! The emphasis on research and practical experiences in the Roanoke College Psychology Department curriculum clearly played a significant role in their professional development. We hope that current and prospective students will find their stories motivating as they pursue their own career paths throughout the field.

As Alumni Weekend approaches, we look forward to showcasing more alumni stories from different tracks in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for next week’s spotlight on another exciting career path!

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Prior to highlighting another group of Roanoke alumni, we want to share an exciting opportunity with you! At the Education Pathways Fair next Wed (3/27), you can explore various roles within the school system, from teaching to administration. In addition to licensed teaching positions, this fair will showcase roles in human resources, communication and marketing, information technology, and more — reflecting the diverse pathways available in the field of education.  Swing by the Colket Center next Wednesday, March 27th, sometime between 10am and 2pm to learn more! Attendees are encouraged  to register via Handshake here.

Once again, before jumping into our alumni’s stories for this week’s edition of the career tracks  series, we want to say thank you to our wonderful alumni who have generously shared with us reflections on their time at Roanoke College, as well as details about their professional roles. Their stories serve as a testament to the breadth of opportunities available in the field, and the positive influence that Roanoke College can have on your future. If, as an alum, you would like to share your story for inclusion in a future post, please reach out to Dr. Powell (

Let’s now delve into the world of education professionals as we introduce our featured alumni for this week!

What does Hannah enjoy most about her position?

“My favorite part about my position is that I am able to support children in a unique way! It’s already extremely difficult for parents to find opportunities for children with serious medical conditions and chronic illnesses, but when you add behavioral concerns and mental health challenges on top, it can feel impossible. If there is a concern, it’s my job to work with the parents/guardians to put a Camper Success Plan into place prior to their arrival on-site. We’re proactive on our end to ensure that their child can be successful with the appropriate accommodations and support – It’s like an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for summer camp!”

What is Allie’s role as a School Psychologist?

“As a school psychologist, my role is to support students’ needs and specifically their ability to learn. I complete comprehensive assessments on students looking at their cognitive, academic, social, emotional, and behavioral functioning and help guide a team to determine if a student qualifies for special education services. A school psychologist’s role is vast, in that we wear many hats. We also help to promote and support a positive school climate, we collaborate and consult with teachers, parents, and other school staff. Overall, I apply what I have learned through my training to help students succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.”

How does Vanessa explain her job duties to others?

“I have a couple different aspects to my job. The first is I work closely with families who may need different services throughout the school year, whether that is coordinating angel tree or recommending/coordinating grocery deliveries throughout the year. The second is I work with students who are tiered for behavior (RTI-B). I observe and work closely with students who are either on formal behavior plans or informal positive behavior plans in order to help them succeed throughout the day. The last piece of my job is helping improve our student attendance at our school by implementing a variety of attendance programs.”

How did Kiah end up in her position today?

“While in Roanoke, I found it to be incredibly impactful when I was able to volunteer both with the Toys Like Me group on campus, in a school with a special needs population (BRAAC – Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center), as well as working with and volunteering for a local Roanoke city non-profit for students (TAP – Total Action for Progress) helped me to see that there are so many ways to support children beyond the confines of an office and that I wanted to work with students who otherwise might not be able to access individualized counseling. Following Roanoke, I took these experiences and was able to attend a Master’s Program specifically for School Counseling, where I was able to intern at a local middle school. Working in public schools allows support and access to students who otherwise may be unable to attend counseling in a private therapy setting, and makes me feel like I’m positively contributing to a large population of children!”

As an Associate Director of Admission, what does Extree do?

“I am currently overseeing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives for the Office of Admission at Denison University. This role manages various specialty programs, including our Fly-in program, ‘Dialogue with Denison’. I also participate in application review, helping to shape the class of our incoming Freshman each year.”

What does Alexandra value most about her position? 

“Community: My dad works here and my cousin goes to school here so I get to see them weekly for lunch. University Lifestyle & Work/Life Balance: I spent 18 years of my life on an academic calendar, I might as well keep living it. I have the ability to manage your life and your work in a university setting. Fitness Forward: I work in athletics, therefore it’s common to leave during the workday to work out; it’s great to have that as a part of our culture. Team Mentality/ Collaborative: I get to assist the athletes, working as a team with the other departments (sport psych, DEI, athletic counseling, academic advisors). It is more satisfying to help when you are a part of the team. Opportunities to try on different hats: Not only am I doing mental health counseling, leadership and sport psych work but I have an opportunity to try different things like event planning, or study abroad coordination.”

What is Camryn’s favorite part of her role as an Admission Counselor?

“I love working with our prospective students and traveling to meet them in their comfort zones. It really is an honor to be invited into these students’ lives, walk beside them during one of the scariest chapters of their lives, and be a champion for them.”

What does Claire’s position entail?

“In my current role, a large chunk of my time is spent working directly with students who seek support with issues and topics such as relationship struggles, family/home-life challenges, executive functioning skills, stress management and anxiety, and others of the like. I also design and implement social emotional learning curriculum and support the college & career planning program. I also give presentations and trainings to faculty and communicate regularly with faculty about ways to support students in the classroom. In addition, I respond to crises, conduct risk assessments, and collaborate with parents and medical professionals to support student needs. Even as I was writing these responses, I was called away to support a student experiencing a panic attack.”

These alumni showcase the fulfilling and varied career paths available in the field of education, and related to psychology. Each alum’s story showcases their impact in various roles within schools and communities, from supporting children with medical conditions to promoting positive school climates.

We also asked our alumni to reflect on the Roanoke courses or experiences that have been most relevant to their current careers.

In terms of influential classes, alumni named PSYC-101 Introduction to Psychology, PSYC-221 Developmental Psychology, PSYC-241 Cognitive Psychology, PSYC-321 Child Development, PSYC-322 Adolescent Development, PSYC-327 Interpersonal Relationships, PSYC-351 Personality, PSYC-354 Evolutionary Psychology, PSYC-381 Abnormal Psychology, PSYC-390 History of Psychology, PSYC-415 Tests and Measurements, and even MayTerm courses!

Exree Hipp also included that “The courses taught me a lot, but it’s the bigger picture that counts. The liberal arts education and fantastic faculty at Roanoke—that’s what really made the difference. I picked up more than just textbook knowledge. Critical thinking and managing my time became crucial, and I learned it’s okay to ask for help when you need it… Basically, it’s not just about getting a degree; it’s about all the extra skills and support you get along the way that really shape your journey.”

The Roanoke College community has served to build a wonderful environment that enables success for its students. Claire Kirchoff, MEd wrote, “…from the moment I became a psychology major my freshman year, I knew it [Roanoke] was the place for me. The collaborative and collegial atmosphere of the department supported me through so many challenging courses, and I was able to do so much more with my time than friends at other colleges were able to do, like working with Dr. Powell for research, having internships at Carilion Roanoke Memorial and Salem Montessori School, taking courses that were genuinely interesting.” Many alumni also expressed great gratitude to the professors who helped them along their way. Alexandra DiFelice had nothing but appreciation for Dr. Powell in saying that, “Dr. Powell’s support, and the opportunities she encouraged us to take positioned me to achieve things (like getting published in a journal) possible. She spent years with me after I graduated helping me apply to graduate schools, and helping me get published. She is the reason so many of us are successful in what we do.” In addition to Alex and Claire noting their time working in Dr. Powell’s lab, the support from Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand and Dr. Buchholz’s were also explicitly mentioned. It is not the specific courses alone that make Roanoke so special, rather it is the community that fosters curiosity and the desire to seize opportunities. Our featured alumni serve as wonderful examples attesting to just that. 

Many alumni also emphasized the significance of their internship experiences. For instance, one alumni interned at a summer camp, which eventually led to a full-time position following their graduation! Others interned at various organizations, including Salem High School, the Philadelphia Union Soccer Academy, and the University of Pennsylvania, all gaining valuable experiences that have contributed to their current roles. Each experience underscored the pivotal role internships play in shaping career paths.

We are excited to share more alumni stories from other tracks in the weeks leading up to Alumni Weekend. Stay tuned for next week’s spotlight on another exciting career track!

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Alumni Highlights: Clinical and Counseling Professionals

The paths taken by our alumni offer valuable insights and inspiration for current Roanoke students as they contemplate their post-graduation plans. We are thrilled to showcase the diverse and impactful careers of a subset of students who graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in Psychology! Each week, until the ever-famous Alumni Weekend (April 19-21), we will be highlighting professionals within a specific career track. The graphic below displays the specific tracks that we will feature!

Before we jump into our alumni’s stories, we want to say thank you, again, to our wonderful alumni who have generously shared with us reflections on their time at Roanoke College, as well as details about their professional roles. Their stories serve as a testament to the breadth of opportunities available in the field, and the positive influence that Roanoke College can have on your future. If, as an alum, you would like to share your story for inclusion in a future post, please reach out to Dr. Powell (

How would Taylor describe her position to others?

“I am a clinical therapist who works with adolescents, adults, and couples with varying mental health concerns… My approach is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused therapy with person-centered care… As the company’s Culture and Communications Coordinator, I am in charge of creating a fun and positive culture at the company by organizing activities for team bonding. In my communications role I go out into the community and give talks to schools about various mental health topics, as well as promote the company at primary care offices for referral purposes. I am also on the marketing team for L&B and you can find many videos of me promoting mental health topics on our social media.”

What is Kira’s favorite part about her job?

“When a child shows progress in communicating, or when they meet other goals such as joint attention or functional play. It always brings me joy when it seems that something finally clicks!”

What did Kelsey’s path look like, following her time at Roanoke College?

“I received my MSW and went on to get my Clinical Social Worker License. While at Roanoke, I had an internship with the VA working with older adults in an at-home care program. After graduate school, I coordinated care for older adults in living HUD-subsidized affordable housing. My current full-time position is with a non-profit senior living agency.”

What is Morgan’s favorite part about her job?

“My favorite part of my position is being able to connect with people. Humans are interesting and unique, so I never have a uniform day at the office. I am rarely certain about what my clients may bring week to week, which challenges me to continue learning on the job. I especially love working with couples and families because they are so dynamic. I often witness special moments in real time, which is a part of what makes this work so fulfilling. Additionally, it is always a gift to walk the journey of life alongside others, supporting, caring for, and hopefully ushering them to health and happiness.”

What path did Cedric take to end up in his current role?

“In addition to obtaining my Bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College my educational journey includes obtaining my Master’s degree in professional counseling, licensure from the VA state board and now several others. Formational moments within my work experience included my residency at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, an Acting Director position at Shenandoah University’s Student Counseling Center which finally inspired me to open my own mental health counseling practice.”

How would Cody describe his day-to-day duties?

“Primary Care Mental Health Integration at the VA (PCMHI for short) provides brief mental health services to Veterans and conducts the initial assessment and referral process for more intensive care. As a psych tech (and a newly added position to the team) I have my hands in a lot. I am on-call to see folks same-day in primary care to conduct assessments and referrals, I help conduct group therapies, I complete referral management to administer screeners and ensure Veterans attend their initial therapy intakes, I conduct brief alcohol interventions and follow-up tobacco cessation appointments, and I do some light data tracking for our clinic. This is besides the other random responsibilities and tasks that come up weekly!”

What is Sophie’s favorite part about her internship?

“I love this work so much, and I think a big part of the reason is that I get to use both my creative and investigative sides. Young children can’t always tell you how they feel, but by using expressing arts techniques, I can help them show me.”

What does Kelsey do as a Recovery Support Specialist?

“I work at an outpatient detox center for opiates, alcohol and benzodiazepines. I help guide patients into their first steps in recovery after completing their detox by providing talk therapy, resources in their community (therapists, psychiatrists, and/or substance use programs) and by facilitating weekly support groups.”

What is Lauren’s favorite aspect of her work?

“It’s inspirational; watching someone come from horrible circumstances like jail, homelessness, addiction, poverty, trauma, etc., and seeing them grow into productive members of society is amazing… You develop amazing relationships with people, and you learn something from them every day, just as they learn things from you. That doesn’t mean that working as a therapist (especially in substance use) is easy, because it’s not – but it really is so rewarding when someone who has been using substances for 10+ years shows you their 30 day NA key tag. Even on the hard days I love my job because I know that I’m making a difference, and in this field, sometimes you are literally the difference between life and death for someone.”

How would Amy describe what her duties are?

“I provide therapeutic services to first responders in Western North Carolina with a primary focus on Asheville’s fire and police departments. However, my job is not typical for a therapist. The embedded component of my job means that I work intertwined with the firefighters and officers on a daily basis. I spend time in each of the stations and get to ride along regularly to help create greater connection and decrease the stigma of mental health within the first responder community.

How did Megan reach her current position; what did the timeline look like for her?

“After graduating from Roanoke, I worked for a nursing home as part of the social services team. I then went to Virginia Commonwealth University for my Masters of Social Work with a clinical concentration which included two years of internship experience. After I graduated, I worked in outpatient therapy settings and participated in licensure supervision to gain the hours of practice to qualify for licensure examination to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.”

What does Kaillee value as her favorite parts of each of her positions?

Adjunct professor: “Seeing my student’s reactions to new and interesting topics. Most of my students have an interest in forensic psychology which I studied in my Master’s program, so bringing in elements of forensic psychology and tying it back to our development has been insightful to my students and it is exciting to see them become so engaged in these new topics.”

Trauma-informed counselor: “Seeing clients learn and take skills from sessions, apply them to their routine, and experience improvement in their mood and well-being. As I work with a lot of survivors of crime, getting back into a daily routine can be challenging but when small signs of progress are made and noticed, it goes a long way in treatment.”

These alumni stories exemplify the diverse and rewarding career paths available in clinical and counseling psychology. From working with individuals, couples, and families to providing support in community settings, each alum’s reflection demonstrates the impact they are having in their work with others.

We also asked our alumni to share what Roanoke courses or experiences have served to be most relevant to their current career. 

In terms of classes, alumni named PSYC-101 Introduction to Psychology, PSYC-251 Social Psychology, PSYC-332 Drugs & Behavior, PSYC-381 Abnormal Psychology, PSYC-221 Developmental Psychology, and many noted their courses for the Human Development concentration. Taylor Kracht, LCMHC also included that “Roanoke’s class difficulty levels made it so that I was well beyond prepared for the requirements of a counseling graduate program”. So, while you may feel overwhelmed at times, know that your professors are serving you well and helping you prepare for life after college.

Other beneficial experiences that were said to make our alumni stand out in their graduate school applications and job interviews included research experiences, having their research published, and completing relevant internships. Many alumni also expressed great gratitude to the professors who helped them along their way; Dr. Allen, Dr. Powell, and Dr. Buchholz were specifically named!

Amy Conner, MS, LCMHC says “I credit a lot of where I am today to my experience at Roanoke”. Similarly, Kaillee Philleo, MA, MHC-LP shared, “I truly mean it when I say Roanoke College gave me all the foundational skills and experiences I needed to be successful in grad school and my career as a counselor and professor. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and support I was able to experience from the Psychology Department at Roanoke”. The department is so grateful to have received such positive responses from our alumni, and are appreciative of their willingness to share their inspiring journeys with us all! 

We look forward to sharing more alumni stories from the additional tracks in the coming weeks before Alumni Weekend. Stay tuned for next week’s spotlight on another exciting career track!

Get Connected!

Linked In:

Instagram: rcpsychology