Alumni Highlights: Human Services, Medical, and Peace & Justice Professionals! 

Welcome to this week’s Alumni Highlights, where we will feature not one, but three incredible career tracks in psychology: Human Services, Medical, and Peace & Justice. Following your read of this post, please feel free to explore the Roanoke Psychology Department’s Instagram and Facebook accounts as well. You will notice that we offer a more individualized highlight of each of our alumni on those platforms weekly! 

Before jumping into our alumni’s stories for this week, we again want to thank our wonderful alumni who have generously shared reflections on their time at Roanoke College, as well as details about their professional roles today. 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 (

Get ready to meet some outstanding alumni in Human Services, Medical, and Peace & Justice fields in this week’s spotlight!

What does Victoria do as a Utilization Management Specialist?

“It’s a mix of quality control and coordinating treatment plans for children in and out of the community. I review the treatment level of every foster child in a private foster care placement and assess if the treatment level is appropriate to their current level of need. Every level of treatment is a different daily cost rate, so part of the big picture of what I call quality control is ensuring public tax dollars are being used appropriately. CSA funds are public funds that are then reimbursed by the state at a varying percentage of a match rate. Additionally, I monitor the placement and treatment of every child placed in a residential treatment facility, whether they’re a child in foster care or a just child from our community where their parents still retain custody.”

How did Allison earn her role as an APS Family Services Specialist?

“Upon graduating from Roanoke College in December of 2021, I immediately began working as an Adult Mental Health Case Manager at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare. This position helped me to foster important skills in the field including case management, rapport building, communication, and time management. This experience led to my current opportunity in APS.”

What is Stephanie’s favorite part of her work?

“My favorite part of my position is having the opportunity to work with kiddos and families. When we go into work with a family, often they are in serious need of support. It is immensely rewarding being able to make a difference in their lives by increasing their kiddo’s communication skills, social skills, and independence.”

How would Alex describe her position to others?

“The unit I work on is called the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center/Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center (PRC/CRC) and is one of only 5 in the country. The PRC/CRC is a 18-24 bed acute inpatient rehabilitation unit for Veterans or Active Duty Service members who very recently sustained a brain injury (traumatic brain injury, stroke, brain tumors, anoxia/hypoxia, encephalitis, etc.) as well as some who are receiving rehabilitation for more orthopedic injuries. My role is to provide neuropsychological and psychological support. I work with my patients on assessing their cognition, tracking their cognitive recovery throughout their stay, and providing psychoeducation about recovery trajectory and expectations. Simultaneously I provide support for these patients as they adjust to their new circumstances and cope with what is often one of the most difficult life experiences so far for these individuals. I also work on an interdisciplinary team with occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, vision rehabilitation therapists, recreation therapy, social work, nursing, and physician/physiatrist. I am also a clinical supervisor and supervise interns and post doctoral fellows.”

What did Sydney’s path of professional development consist of?

I shaped my professional career around my passion to encourage healthy and safe relationships. I placed being an advocate for those experiencing sexual and/or gender-based violence at the forefront of my career. During my time at Roanoke College, I served as a student liaison for the Roanoke Rescue Mission, a local homeless shelter, while also working remotely as a legal intern for a family law firm. Then I worked for an immigration attorney whose primary practice involved those obtaining U-Visas as individuals who experienced sexual violence crimes while in the United States. Which led me to attend Delaware Law School, Widener University serving as a domestic violence and child abuse advocate and obtain my Juris Doctor degree. My professional career focused on sexual and gender-based misconduct which ultimately led me to my current position where I get to encourage those relationships but also provide everyone the equal opportunity to access their education without sexual and/or gender-based misconduct.”

What does Patrick enjoy most about his job?

“My favorite part of the position is getting to conduct research in the field. Whether it be a clerk’s office, prison, or school – I like getting to speak with the people who are most impacted by my work… In my research I use Virtual Reality technology to better understand criminal behavior. Most recently, I spent six months traveling across prisons in the state of Pennsylvania, having individuals with a criminal history of burglary scout a virtual neighborhood for burglary targets. Through this project we better understand how burglars determine if a house is a good house to break into or not.”

What does Naomi do in her role as a Graduate Teaching Assistant?

In this position, I am helping instructors with grading assignments, providing feedback to students regarding their progress throughout the course. I enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at how many classes are structured and maintained throughout the semester.”

The diverse and inspiring stories of our alumni in the Human Services, Medical, and Peace & Justice fields highlight the vast opportunities available across the field of psychology. From earning master’s degrees to becoming specialists and neuropsychologists, our alumni are finding great success following their time at Roanoke! Their journeys underscore the transformative impact of a Roanoke College education and serve as a testament to the countless ways one can make a meaningful difference in the world through the field of psychology.

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-231 Biological Psychology, PSYC-251 Social Psychology, PSYC-321 Child Development, PSYC-322 Adolescent Development, PSYC-327 Interpersonal Relationships, PSYC-332 Drugs & Behavior, PSYC-381 Abnormal Psychology, and even statistics courses! Patrick McClanahan, PhD also included “Dr. Buchholz’s Social Psychology was one of the most influential classes I took. It really ignited my passion for research and wanting to understand how society and the individual interact, leading to different behaviors. Dr. Buccholz was always more than happy to sit with me and hear my questions and ideas.” Additional alumni also noted how impactful their concentrations have been throughout their careers, specifically the Human Development and Neuroscience concentrations. Concentrations are a great way to integrate a more specific area of study into your educational background!

Other beneficial experiences that were said to make our alumni stand out in their graduate school applications and job interviews included research experiences, attending conferences, fellowships, and building relationships with their professors. Naomi H. Painter shared that her participation in a research fellowship program at Roanoke College enabled her to develop the skills, experience, and awareness that ultimately led her to her current role as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Also, Sydney Quantock, J.D. expressed her gratitude for being able to build such wonderful connections with faculty in the department. She wrote, “I cannot thank Dr. Darcey Powell enough for her support and encouragement throughout my time at Roanoke College – your professors and advisors are amongst your biggest supporters, engage with them!” Professors and advisors can serve as wonderful role models and mentors. The Psychology faculty at Roanoke have a strong reputation for the high quality mentoring and advising they provide to help students achieve their career goals. Be sure to capitalize on their willingness to support you in your journey during and after Roanoke College!

We look forward to sharing more alumni stories from the additional tracks in the coming weeks before Alumni Weekend. We hope you enjoyed this exciting three-track edition, and be sure to stay tuned for next week’s spotlight on another exciting career track!

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