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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