Ashley Rininger

After graduation, Ashley will be completing a service year with AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). She is placed at Catholic Charities USA in Alexandria, VA, and she is working as a Capacity and Resource Development Associate with Immigration and Refugee Services. Part of Ashley’s role is to research and identify prospective funders, assist in the on-growing growth and development of programs, and engage in strategic planning.  After her service year, Ashley would like to begin a career in non-profits doing similar work. she would also like to return to school down the road and obtain a Masters degree in Quantitative Psychology or Nonprofit Management. 
Hannah Robinson
Hannah will be attending North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work. During her time at NC State, she will be a graduate assistant for a professor teaching an introductory course for social work. Hannah plans on using her degree to become a marriage and family counselor. She also has an internship with Lutheran Services Carolinas where she is assisting refugees who are new to the Raleigh area by teaching them about the American culture and helping them get set up in the community.
Christina Shulman
Christina will be attending graduate school in Fall 2018 at the University of Denver for a Masters in Social Work. She hopes to eventually work on a treatment team for individuals with severe mental illnesses in a psychiatric hospital or other in-patient facilities.
Alec Sliman
Right now Alec is working part time at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond as a “Behavioral Health Technician” and working part time as a “Sales Consultant” at an Oakley retail store. Between the two jobs, St. Mary’s job is of Alec’s premier interest in regards to the field. He spends at least two shifts a week working with nurses and patients directly in the psych ward of the hospital where the main mental illnesses observed are acute anxiety, depression, PTSD, and varying degrees of schizophrenia.

Beth Burleson

Beth was ready to enter the workforce after graduation!  She was interested in Industrial Organizational Psychology topics during undergrad.  As she was looking and applying for jobs, she really wanted to gain exposure to Human Resources and hopefully have a Training/ Facilitator role. After her move to Fort Worth, Texas, Beth was contacted through LinkedIn for the perfect opportunity.  After one quick week of assessments and interviews, she was hired!  She is currently working for Paycom, a leading provider of Human Capital Management software, as a “Transition Specialist Representative.”  Her job is to on-board and completely transition new clients from their previous providers to Paycom.  She gets to train clients on Paycom products and ensure a smooth transition into using Paycom.  Beth loves that her position is client-facing and functions across many industries.

Meredith Coplon

Meredith is currently taking a “year on” and participating in the Disney College Program. Through this program, students can live, take classes, and work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. She is enjoying taking some time off from school to make magic for others. In the near future, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She hopes to eventually become a certified Dance/Movement Therapist and help others solve problems, express themselves, and find joy through movement.

Jackie Given

After graduating in May 2017, Jackie decided to take a “year on” before starting her professional career. During this time Jackie was working for the Great American Restaurants chain in Northern Virginia as a server with plans to save money, then eventually, to travel. She is now working out her final preparations before she leaves to backpack throughout Southeast Asia for 4-5 months. Jackie had always dreamed about going to SE Asia during her undergrad, and is very excited that she finally gets to start her journey in February 2018.

Meredith Gallagher

After graduating in May 2017, Meredith has decided to take a “year on” to prepare for graduate school. She is currently applying to Occupational Therapy Masters programs, and is excited see where this journey will take her. In the meantime, Meredith has accepted a position with the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research in Blacksburg, VA. She will be acting as Executive Office Assistant, where her responsibilities will include communicating with research and community affiliates about various events, community outreach with the “SAFE: Supporting Autism Friendly Environments” program and general public relations, and assisting with arrangements and advertising for community events. Through this experience she will also be able to assist with IRB applications for select research projects, and have access to the center’s autism assessments and associated reports. Meredith has always been fascinated by Autism research, and is thrilled to now have the chance to observe it in action!

Olivia Kimmel

Olivia is spending the summer working at the Headfirst Summer Camps, in Bethesda, Maryland, as a Multi-Sport Counselor. At the end of the summer, Olivia will be moving to Gilford, New Hampshire to serve with the Patriot Resilient Leader Institute at Camp Resilience through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Their vision is “Camp Resilience, using the scenic beautify of the Lakes Region of New Hampshire as its backdrop and home base, provides sports, adventure activities, and life skills programs for wounded warriors.” Olivia will primarily be working on the business plan, advertising, recruiting and managing volunteers, as well as running the website and social media (thanks to being a part of the PPA Tech Team). During this year, Olivia will also be re-applying to graduate school for Sport and Performance Psychology.

Update (1 year post graduation): Olivia will be attending Boston University to pursue her Masters of Education in Counseling with a concentration in Sport Psychology. During her time at BU, Olivia will have practicums consulting with athletes and in clinical settings while working to become an Association of Applied Sport Psychology Certified Consultant and to be licensed as Licensed Mental Health Counselors.

Gabrielle Reimann

Since graduating in May 2017, Gabrielle started a postbaccalaureate fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. For the next year, she will be researching the psychosocial characteristics of women with a specific genetic disorder.  The job gives an opportunity to use her background in statistics, present data, and prepare a manuscript as a first author! In the future, Gabrielle hopes to go on to graduate school for in Clinical Psychology. Outside of work, she enjoys getting back to her hobbies like reading, cooking, hiking, and all the good things in life!

Lindsey Shackelford

Lindsey graduated JMU in May 2017 and has accepted a position working full-time for Young Life, a worldwide nonprofit Christian organization, where she will cultivate community through developing Young Life in southwest Virginia. Eventually Lindsey would like to return to school and earn a Masters in School Psychology.

Alyssa Skelly

Alyssa is postponing her interest in graduate education and will begin working as a backpacking trip leader at Camp Pinnacle following graduation. From here, Alyssa plans to fly to Peru in the end of November for a six-month excursion of the southern portions of South America. Here, she plans to solidify her graduate plans and fluency in Spanish, as well as explore Patagonia and Machu Picchu. Alyssa is interested in applying to Ph.D. programs related to Community and Clinical Psychology, with possible career plans including social advocacy and community-based mental health care.


Emily Davis

Emily is currently attending George Washington University in the 2 year Master’s program in Organizational Sciences. As of now, she is just taking the introductory classes which consist of quantitative classes- Economics and Statistics and a Group Dynamics class. After this semester she will move into more focused courses in things such as Change Management, Organizational Behavior and Conflict Resolution. Emily is working on her own independent research proposal which she hopes to get started on next semester. After these two years, she is planning to spend a year living in Haiti and applying what she has learned to the nonprofit she has been interning for, then eventually go into a government consulting role.


Nicole Fox

Nicole is currently finishing her final semester, planning on graduating in December 2016, as an undergraduate student at JMU. While Nicole does not currently know where she plans to attend Graduate School, she hopes to pursue I/O psychology.


Akyla Joseph

Akyla is currently in the MA clinical mental health counseling program at William James College in Newton, MA with a concentration in Military and Veterans Psychology. For her first year practicum she is an intern at UMASS Marlborough Hospital’s inpatient mental health ward. At her internship, she gets to do a variety of things such as assessment intakes, group therapy, community outreach, and working with families. Her internship, next year, will be at a site where she gets to work with veterans and their family members. Akyla will also will be starting a job as a part-time Instructor with Advances Learning Center where she will assist a board certified behavioral analyst in helping children with a variety of diagnoses improve their  functional behaviors.


Michael Keiter

Currently, Michael is finishing two degrees, Biology and Psychology, as well as his general education courses at JMU. Michael is involved in Virginia21, a nonpartisan political action group that is the voice for students across Virginia, as their Operations Director – meaning he supervises all of the individuals that work within the organization, develop team building exercises, and lead group discussions. Within the Psychology department Michael is continuing his independent study with Dr. Kethera Fogler – researching the perceptions of victims of sexual assault victims, a project that has been 3 years in the making. They are hoping that when the data comes together, that they will have publishable and presentable information. Michael is also working with Dr. Melanie Shoup-Knox in her Evolutionary Neuroscience animal lab. This semester they are more so focusing on the human research portion of the lab, so he is focusing on the Spring research project when they are able to get animals again. Furthermore, Michael is a Teaching Assistant and Activities Coordinator for Melanie for her PSYC 101: General Psychology course and the Lead Teaching Assistant for Professor DuVall’s  PSYC 160: Life Span Human Development course. In both positions he gives one lecture and substitute when needed. In PSYC 101 Michael gives a lecture on Cognitive Psychology and in PSYC 160 I give an lecture on intelligence, standardized testing, and the history of intelligence testing.

While Michael completes his undergraduate degree, he is applying to Post-Bac and possibly Ph.D. programs and works two jobs at JMU. The first is for the libraries. Michael is a Reference Specialist, meaning he assist students in fixing any low-grade technology problems, any general research questions/tips, answer phones, and chats. Michael is also a Madison Advising Peer for the Pre-Professional Health office where he continues to advise a different group of students on course selection, medical school paths, and general education.


Cathy Kim

Cathy is currently working as a Docketing Specialist at a patent law firm. Her friend suggested that she go in for an interview. She is doing something completely different from what she envisioned. Although Cathy didn’t see herself in this field as a career, she knows she will gain a lot from this new experience.


Meredith Kurtz

After a lot of contemplation Meredith decided to not go straight into grad school.  Instead she decided to hike the Appalachian trail for 5 months and then move out west to pursue my passion for wilderness therapy. Meredith is now working at a wilderness therapy program called Second Nature in Bend Oregon.  She works with adolescents using wilderness as a back drop for therapeutic techniques. She takes the participants on adventure expeditions to facilitate the organizations mission to provide whole-health treatment that targets a client’s emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well being.

She plans to apply to grad programs in mental health counseling after she explores the field of wilderness therapy for a year.  Meredith hopes to become a licensed counselor so that she can one day create her own nonprofit wilderness therapy program so that the incredible healing powers of wilderness therapy can be more accessible for all adolescents.


Meg Mischinski

Meg is currently continuing classes as a undergraduate student at JMU with hopes of graduating in December 2016. While she finishes her final semester, Meg is applying to grad programs for Clinical Psychology.

Update (1 year post graduation): Meg officially committed to pursue her Masters at Wake Forest University! She is very excited about her decision, as she will be focusing her studies on a very cool research project on post-traumatic growth with Dr. Eranda Jayawickreme (lab website: Meg has also been accepted for an assistantship position to help assess current global studies programs (website:


Mikala Morrow

Mikala is currently attending Villanova University in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She is taking four courses, clinical mental health orientation, ethics and professionalism, counseling theory and practice and lab in counseling skills. In her orientation class, she is learning all about the profession including the history, professional organizations and how it differs from other professions. She is also learning all the ways she can use her masters degree and license. In ethics, she is studying the code of ethics and that whole process. In theory, she is going through all of the counseling theories and finding our best fit like humanistic versus behavioral. In lab she is pairing up with people and performing live counseling sessions in front of the class. In this class she gets to apply her skills and practice. She is also a GA for two professors and splits her required 7 hours between them. One professor has her grade papers and tests and the other has Mikala involved in her research. They are interviewing pregnant women who have been through an early traumatic experience. They are researching maternal attachment to the fetus in first trimester, third trimester and post-partum. They want to see if their is an effect between trauma and lack of maternal attachment.

Mikala is also working at an upholstery shop nearby. She began talking to one of the women in her ethics class whose best friend just opened an upholstery shop. She said “I love you. You need to work for her, she needs help right now.” So Mikala is now the proud assistant of Rhoads Crossing in Wayne PA. She is also helping with the woman’s four daughters when needed.


Nora Murphy

Nora recently moved to Buffalo, NY to work for the United Way as an Americorps Vista member! She is busy navigating her way through the professional non-profit world one meeting at a time. Her official title is “Economic Opportunity Specialist” which means she works with local agencies to provide financial education for the populations of Buffalo who are experiencing extreme poverty. Nora works with all kinds of people, students, parents, refugees, to ensure that each individual is given as much opportunity to economically succeed as possible.

Nora knew she wanted to do something service oriented during her gap year to see if the Non-Profit world really was for her, and an Americorps Position was the perfect fit. It is technically a job, but is referred to as a “term of service” because you are only stationed at your site for a year and get paid through bi-weekly stipends. VISTA, a more specialized chapter of Americorps, partners with one agency for a year to do capacity building towards one common goal, eliminating poverty in the US. Nora would recommend a post-grad service program to everyone. It truly allows you to experience the post-college world on your own terms while working on something you truly care about. The United Way is a brilliant organization and she feels honored every day to walk into her office and make an positive impact on her community.


Allison Piotrowski

Allison is currently at the University of Virginia in the Counselor Education Program. It is a two-year Master’s program. This semester she is taking the foundational courses to learn the basics of the counseling profession! Next semester she will have the opportunity to work in a middle or high school for one day a week. The following year she will spend the whole year in an internship at an elementary school, which is the level where she eventually hopes to get a job as a school counselor! Allison is also working as a tutor in an elementary school and as a research assistant in her program, which is great because she gets to work with kids and do research which are two of her favorite things! Allison believes that JMU’s Psychology program prepared her for the rigor of this program and she really appreciates all the hands-on experience she was able to get as an undergrad which made the transition to grad school much easier. So far she loves it!


Jessica Scaliti

Jessica began the first year of a 2-year Master’s Program at JMU. The degree she is pursuing is a M.S. Education, Adult Education/Human Resource Development (AHRD for short). The AHRD program is designed for people in positions associated with learning in education, business, industry, government, and other public and private sector organizations. Needless to say it offers a lot of flexibility across many fields and avenues, which is an attractive quality to someone like me, who does not wish to be stuck in a narrow career path. Jessica plans to pursue a career in consulting. She has a Graduate Assistantship in the AHRD office. It’s a really unique opportunity to support the program in which she is participating.


Katie Tousley

Currently, Katie is working at HireStrategy as an Operations Associate. HireStrategy is a professional staffing firm located in DC that works to provide employers with candidates to hire for positions available. Some of the duties included in her job are resume reformatting, completing background checks, completing I9 forms, and helping candidates to get in contact with the correct recruiter. During this time, Katie is also applying to Masters of Social Work programs in Colorado for the Fall of 2017.


Amariah Vega

Amariah is currently taking a year off to prepare herself for graduate school. She is working as a residential instructor, direct support professional for Grafton Integrated Health Network – a residential psychiatric treatment center located in Berryville, VA. She is also working part time as a nanny for a wonderful family in Leesburg, VA. Amariah works in the younger boys unit. . She does things like play games with them inside, take them outside if they’ve been well behaved all day, and she takes them to the gym. Amariah also runs therapeutic sessions with them. Each client admitted to Grafton is required to have a minimum of 21 sessions a week, aside from their regular therapeutic sessions they receive from their therapists. These sessions include talking about bullying, talking about different ways we can control our behavior when someone tells us no, or by talking about personal space.


Lindsey Boggess

During the summer, Lindsey had an internship with Summer Discovery and Discovery Internships working with high schoolers in preparation for college. She was a resident counselor for the Emerson College program in Boston, MA. Lindsey plans to apply to graduate school in the fall for higher education or educational psychology/leadership. She is also still currently applying for jobs! Her most recent application was for a recruiter position at Mary Washington University.  

Update (2 years post graduation): Lindsey is a first year graduate student at the University of South Carolina, where she is receiving my Master’s of Education degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration, with a concentration in Student Affairs Administration. Lindsey works at USC’s Career Center for the College of Arts and Sciences as a graduate assistant.    


Shane Bryant

This summer, Shane interned with Dr. Hutchinson, a sleep psychologist/therapist. In this position he worked analyzing data, comparing therapies to the use of drugs for people with insomnia, and helping Dr. Hutchinson employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI) techniques with patients. He is also working on a presentation to the Carilion Board of Directors on Ethics in Medicine and Psychology.

Shane also accepted a paid position as a Psychiatric Technician at St. Albans Hospital, which is the inpatiant psych ward within Carilion Clinic. His duties here include check-ins on all patients, taking vitals, collecting specimens for lab testing, and other CNA roles.


Brittany Cairns

Currently, Brittany is working as a waitress, while also in the process of getting a temporary job as a Therapeutic Support Staff (TSS) with the Philadelphia School district. In this position she will be working with kids that have learning disabilities, behavioral problems, etc. and performing behavioral interventions that a Behavioral therapist has created. She will also be coaching field hockey to the 7th and 8th graders that will be going to a local high school for the fall of 2015. 

Update (2 years post graduation): Brittany is starting school at Rowan University. She will be a full time night student and then during the day she will be a full time instructional aid for 6th to 8th graders at a middle school as well as still coaching field hockey in the fall.


Ashley Ernst

This summer Ashley worked under Dr. Mary Carskadon at the E.P. Bradley Sleep and Chronobiology research lab in Providence, RI. She earned the role of Supervising Technologist for the Summer 2015 Dement Fellowship, which she credits to her many valuable experiences while in Psychology Peer Advising.  In the lab, she learned about sleep and circadian rhythms, as well as how to individually apply scalp & face electrodes, how to run a sleep research protocol, and how to read polysomnographic recordings. Interestingly enough, many of the techs there for the summer are Psychology majors- speaking to the overarching and essential nature of our major to the behavior and health sciences. In addition, she was able to go to the APSS sleep conference in Seattle, WA, and listen many of the major researchers speak about their research within this small, but highly versatile field. 

Ashley just recently accepted a position at Brown University to become a full-time research assistant to Dr. Carskadon. Since the job is a 2 year commitment, she will be working but also studying and applying for medical school in the mean time. Her position at the lab has led Ashley to shift her focus to dual degree programs where she can get an MD/PhD in about 8 years. She hopes to fuse her interest in clinical primary care with her newfound interest in sleep research through these programs.

Kerry Gaffney

Following graduation Kerry took a year off to work as a waitress as she applied to school.

Update (2 years post graduation): Starting in August 2016 she started in Stony Brook School of Medicine. Kerry is currently working through the basic science curriculum, which is accelerated so she will be on clinical rounds starting January 2018. On certain Sundays, Kerry volunteers at the student-run clinic as a phlebotomist. In addition she joined a group that strongly reminds her of PPA in certain way. It is a mentor program for undergraduates and high school students to expose them to the medical culture by teaching them basics of the physical exam, pathology, interview skills and the value of diversity. PPA has continued to help her more than she ever imagined, Kerry gave a presentation on diversity recently that was very nostalgic for her, since she chose that exact topic for the PPA senior class presentations. If it were not for her experience as a peer advisor with Professor D she does not think she would have found her confidence and ability to be where she is today.

Sarah Killian

Sarah spent her first year out of college serving as a Corps Member for City Year Philadelphia. While in her service year, she tutored and mentored students in a 6th grade classroom regarding the fundamentals of core math and reading skills. Her team at James G. Blaine Elementary School also hosted an after school program to keep their students positively involved in activities beyond the classroom.

Update (2 years post graduation): Sarah has since moved to Orlando, Florida where she is working as a full time crew member at Trader Joe’s and hopes to soon move up to an assistant manager position.  She is thankful for her time as a Peer Advisor because of the essential transferable skills learned during her time in the psychology major. These include; teamwork, communication, reliability, accountability and a consistent positive attitude.

Jackie Lamson

Since graduating, Jackie has been finishing up her pre-med course requirements in her home state, North Carolina. She finished a 1-year sequence of physics over the summer at UNC-Chapel Hill as a non degree student and just started taking biochemistry at NC State as a non degree fall term student. She is also preparing to take the MCAT this September! Since she’s been so busy this summer, she is currently unemployed but plans to start looking for a job and a volunteer healthcare position after she takes the MCAT. Jackie is also currently applying to both MD and DO medical schools.

Update (2 years post graduation): Jackie is currently a first year student at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) — and loving it! She began the school year with foundation courses in biology, biochemistry, and pharmacology. She is now going through each of of the body systems, starting with musculoskeletal. Intertwined with coursework Jackie has clinical skills labs designed to prepare her for a career in medicine.  Every few weeks she has an interaction with a standardized patient (who is an actor from the area) where she goes in and takes a patient history. She is starting to work up to taking a physical exam. Jackie will actually spend her first day with real patients in the clinic on Halloween! 

Jackie was torn between pursuing clinical psychology and psychiatry. She is truly loving that she chose to pursue medicine because she is able to use a lot of what she learned at JMU.


Naina Mangalmurti

Naina is still at JMU! She is staying for one extra semester to take a few more upper level biology classes before taking the MCAT in the spring and beginning the long journey towards Med School. While she’s finishing up at JMU, Naina is working as a Scribe at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in the ER. 


Elli Mirenda

Since graduating, Elli has been taking classes for prerequisites for Physician Assistant school (graduate program). She plans to apply for PA school in 2017, and will work on acquiring acquiring enough patient care hours in the meantime. She is also currently training to be an EMT so she can join the Virginia Beach volunteer rescue squad in the winter time! She’s also working as a server part time to pay the bills.

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Alexis Morse

Currently, Alexis is in graduate school at JMU for School Psychology. It is a 3 year program that will eventually give her both her Masters and her Education Specialist degree to become a School Psychologist in a public school system. The first two years are made up of classes and practicums in the Harrisonburg area and the third year is a paid internship. School Psychologists are mandated by law to be in public school systems to work with students in a variety of areas; from counseling services to IQ and behavioral assessment and forming IEPs (individual education programs) in order for students to be given certain accommodations they may need in the classroom. School Psychologists work closely with other school professionals such as school counselors, special education teachers, administration, school speech therapists, and school social workers to achieve the most conducive learning environment for each student.

Update (2 years post graduation): Alexis got her Masters degree over Summer 2016 from James Madison University.  She is now working towards her Education Specialist degree which she should get in 2018.  


Julia Ricotta

Julia is currently working for Teach For America in North Carolina. She is working in a middle school in Roanoke Rapids as a special education teacher. She spent the summer in Mississippi completing training for Teach For America, which involved teaching at a summer school. Julia applied for the job after learning about Teach For America at the JMU job fair.


Amanda Schultz

Amanda interned this past summer for Maguire Associates, a market research and educational consulting firm in Concord MA. In this position she conducted data analysis, web-based research, and financial aid modeling all in the field of higher education. She found this position on This fall, Amanda is attending the University of Texas at Austin to study quantitative methods in educational psychology. This is a master’s program and she plans on pursuing a PhD shortly after she finishes. While attending school, she also works as a GRA in the office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness for the University.

Update (2 years post graduation): Amanda received a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Quantitative Methods from the University of Texas at Austin. She is now working as a Data Analyst in the Department of Research and Evaluation for the Round Rock Independent School District. Her work includes researching, analyzing, and reporting on student and school performance data and designing evaluations and collecting data through various methods for stakeholders across the district.

Since graduating from JMU, Amanda has also adopted a cat, taken up Crossfit, learned to play the keyboard (somewhat), and started dancing in professional shows all across the Austin area!


Devan Weismiller

Devan is currently working in Mclean, VA as a Jr. HR Administrator at a company called TWD- which provides IT management services to government partners and organizations. She is enjoying it so far, it is a smaller company so she is able to learn a lot more about the human resources field, more so than if she was at a larger company. She is able to see (and do) all aspects of HR such as recruiting and employment, compensation, benefits, record keeping, etc. Devan applied for this position through LinkedIn, had a phone interview, an interview with the HR manager and then a final interview with the CEO of the company.

Update (2 years post graduation): Devan is a Loan Officer Assistant at MVB Mortgage, supporting a team of Loan Officers.  She got this opportunity from a family friend (who works at the company).


Rachel Browne

Rachel is currently working as a Training and Development Associate at The Advisory Board Company. This company is a global research, technology, and consulting firm dedicated to improving health care and higher education in Washington D.C. Her role is in Career Management in internal facing, or supporting the employees. She helps run New Hire Orientation, all of the training and development courses, and other firm developmental needs. She found this job online, and was always looking because she knew her interests were in Training and Development of HR.

Alex Bureau

Update (3 years post graduation): Following graduation from JMU, Alex worked as a tutor/teacher for high school and elementary scholl students. After a year of working, he decided to go back to school. From 2015-2017, Alex attended Ball State University in Muncie Indiana. His masters program was in sport and exercise psychology. He will be graduating with a master of science in July 2017. Following graduation, Alex will be looking for a job back home in northern Virginia. He is currently exploring work with the Army. The Army hires a large number of sport and exercise psychology graduates to work with soldiers and officers on various mental skills. Alex is also exploring teaching and research jobs. 


Meredith Cowan

Meredith is currently working as an Executive Team Leader of Assets Protection (ETL AP) at Target. In her position, she is the head of security and oversees the Target Protection Specialists (uniformed security officers) and Assets Protection Specialists (undercover security officers). Her duties also include arresting shoplifters, interacting with “boosters” that are high (boosters are individuals who shoplift excessive/expensive items), and investigate internal and external theft. She got her job because she worked at Target during the summer and winter breaks while attending JMU, so when she graduated she was appointed a Target Protection Specialist and eventually was promoted to ETL AP.


Claire Eckenrode

Claire is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs at the University of Southern California. She also has a graduate assistantship in the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. Claire works part time as an advisor, primarily helping students who are interested in pursuing a minor. She says the skills she gained as a PPA have been very transferable to her position. She also says that it has been very rewarding using everything she learned in PPA to serve the students at USC.

Update (3 years post graduation): Claire graduated in May 2016 with her Masters in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California. Also in May 2016 she landed her current job as the Assistant Director for Orientation in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions & Orientation at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). She has been there for just over a year know and loves it! A main part of her job is supervising and mentoring all of our Orientation Peer Advisors. Claire uses her advising skills all the time when working with the OPAs and she passes these skills onto them to use with the incoming students.


Loni Herman

Loni is currently a City Year corps member in Boston where she serves in a fifth grade classroom. City Year is an education-based AmeriCorps program that aims to keep kids in school and on track to graduate. She is partnered with a fifth grade teacher and her role is to support the teacher in the classroom in various ways. Throughout the school day, she works with students one-on-one or in small groups in reading and math. Loni also monitors attendance and uses incentive programs in order to increase daily attendance and decrease tardiness. In addition, she mentors three students and meets with them weekly during lunch to help them improve their social-emotional skills. In the afternoon, Loni co-leads an afterschool program, which consists of a homework block and an enrichment period. Throughout this year, she has enjoyed building personal relationships with her students. Many of the skills that she has learned in PPA such as teamwork, leadership and collaboration have been extremely relevant and useful to her during the journey with City Year.


Emma Hoskins

Emma is currently a Psychiatric Technician for Dominion Hospital’s Reflections Unit. This is a 100-bed psychiatric hospital in Falls Church, VA that serves children, adolescents, and adults. Emma’s duties include providing direct services to adults struggling with eating disorders such as: meal prepping charting taking vitals, and running groups. She also has the opportunity to take shifts working with children and adolescents groups. She says that her field placement at Western State Hospital helped her to transition to her new job and she is really enjoying working at Dominion Hospital.

Update (3 years post graduation): Now, Emma is studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling at JMU. She is a GA for Kenn Barron for PSYC 212/213 and the Psychology Learning Community. She also employed part time at Arbor House which is located at Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Service Board. It’s a crisis stabilization unit for people who don’t meet criteria for hospitalization, but still shouldn’t be treated on an outpatient basis. Emma is enjoying everything she is doing!

Erin O’Toole

Erin is currently getting a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Rochester. She is really enjoying grad school, and loves being surrounded by people who all have the same passion as her for wanting to make a difference in people’s lives.

Update (3 years post graduation): After pursuing my masters degree in mental health counseling and graduating from the University of Rochester in 2016, Erin accepted a position as an Adolescent Chemical Dependency Counselor with Rochester Regional Health. She works with teens as young as 14 who struggle with substance use issues as well as mental health issues. She was lucky to intern during my masters program at a residential rehabilitation clinic, which opened doors for her once she graduated, enabling her to move within the system and get the job she has now! 

Caitlin Powell

Caitlin is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at JMU. She also works in the Office of Disability Services as a Learning Strategies Instruction (LSI) Graduate Assistant. As an LSI instructor, she assists current JMU students in developing skills for time management, reading, note-taking, test-taking, and organization. She says that PPA has helped her to not only work one-on-one with students, but to be a better leader and take on responsibilities that are important in the success of an important program. She also says she is enjoying everything, from her job at disability services to counseling classes, and that PPA has prepared her very well for the challenges she is facing.

Update (3 years post-graduation): Caitlin is in her third and final year of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree Program at JMU. She is expecting to graduate this May with my M.A and Ed.S (Education Specialist) degrees. Recently, She began my internship with the JMU Counseling Center and am working one on one with students who are in their freshman year and beyond. Caitlin also co-facilitates group counseling programs and present at various outreach events for the Counseling Center. Caitlin is loving every minute of it and is also looking forward to graduating and moving on to her residency, which could be anywhere!


Lauren Talbot

Lauren is working in DC as a Campus Recruiting Coordinator for FTI Consulting. She had planned to go to Marymount University for Clinical Mental Health Counseling, but decided she wanted to work for a while before going to grad school. She says she realized that CMHC was not exactly what she wanted to do, and decided to postpone grad school for a little while to get some real world work experience. She hopes to go back to school in the future to get a master’s in Higher Ed. Administration with the goal of becoming an admissions counselor on a college campus. She found her current job online, via In her current position, she is responsible for communicating with potential candidates, relaying first day information to new hires, shipping materials for career fairs/information session, coordinating hotel reservations, running weekly candidate status reports, and planning office interviews.


Sean Ward

Sean is currently attending Marymount University for Clinical and Mental Health Counseling and has accepted a position to be a part time behavioral therapist working with children with autism and related disorders. He found his part-time position on where is submitted his resume and started the application process.


Lucas Ace

Lucas is currently going to the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.  He has been hired to work at the school for various events, such as leading recreational classes and even presenting modern dishes using molecular gastronomy.  At the conclusion of the program he has to conduct an externship where he works in a restaurant for several weeks and will either continue to work there or find other locations.  He basically wants to build experience in the kitchen but hopes to work in a managerial position and eventually own and operate his own establishment.  He has always had a great appreciation for the culinary art, and believes it is a skill that lasts a lifetime. The program ends in March but he has already learned so much and has networked with people that will propel him into the industry.


Doug Cohrs

Before Doug graduated he lined up a job at a Medical and Post Surgical unit for INOVA hospital systems working as a Clinical Technician. Currently, he works on an inpatient unit serving as an extension of the nursing staff . He has been working there since July as he applied to graduate schools in Physician Assisting.  Doug decided to head down the medicine route because it is something that has always fascinated him. He loves his job and the people he works with, and it has confirmed his interest in medicine. It has also motivated him and made him excited to attend grad school.  Doug was accepted in to JMU’s Physicians Assistant program and will be returning in the fall of 2014!

Update (4 years post graduation): Doug is currently finishing JMU’s Physicians Assistant program, graduating in December 2016, in order to become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. He is also currently searching for a job for after graduation. He is primarily using for his job search.


Megan Dudley

Megan chose to pursue a career post graduation from JMU.  She is currently working as an instructor at the Virginia Institute of Autism in Charlottesville, VA.  Megan works one on one with about 8 different students ranging from 5-8 years old though their school accepts 2-22 and has an adult program for those who are older than 22. They have around 45 students in their day school and even more in their adult and outreach programs (outreach works with children with autism and their families in their homes, which she is currently applying for to do part time). In her position she runs programs to implement the students IEP goals, implement behavior support plans, and make materials and programs as well as troubleshoot those that aren’t effective. She also takes a student to inclusion at a typical elementary school twice a week. Her job is something that she would be interested in pursuing long term, however to do so she will need to further her education in order to make more money, but right now its an amazing job which she would absolutely recommend to anyone. She was interested in this career field because in college she led a bunch of summer camps for children with autism and their aids came with them and were using ABA (which they use at VIA) and she fell in love with it then!

Allie Holt

Allie graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Biology. She thought about going to graduate school, however she wasn’t passionate/certain about an area of Psychology. She decided to take a year off, work, apply to some schools, and figure out what she want to do with the rest of her life. She applied for lots of jobs, different things, sales, management, PR, nonprofit, ect. A week after Allie graduated, she received a phone call offering a Retail/Business Management Internship with Corporate Nordstrom in Seattle, Washington. After completing the internship, Allie worked in the store for a little bit subbing in for Department Managers when they were out. She applied for a bunch of manager positions that people in high roles told her she would be good for. She ended up transferring laterally to a different position. Five months later, the head the Service Experience Department reached out to Allie, and said a position had just opened up. She accepted the position with enthusiasm, and started what she thinks of as the starting point of her career.

As a Service Experience Specialist/Trainer, Allie worked with all colleagues that worked in the Nordstrom stores. She performed trainings to new hires and continued trainings for sales associates. Allie worked heavily in compliance and with Nordstrom’s bank where she analyzed data, fraud, and created new trainings to steer the employees away from potential fraudulent interactions. It was fun, interesting, and exhausting. As fun of a working environment it was, and how much she enjoyed what she was doing, it had its down falls. The company put more value on seniority than talent and work ethic, and it wasn’t what she wanted to do with her life.

Update (4-years post graduation): Allie ended up making the personal decision to move to Chicago, IL. Which is where she currently resides. Allie worked for Nordstrom remotely for three months before she got offered a new role. Allie’s new position began an Admissions Advisory for a Nursing School. This one pretty much speaks for itself, except for the sales aspect. Allie continued to work for admissions for a year, until the office downtown Chicago closed. At first this news was unsettling but it ended up becoming one of the largest blessings. When Allie looks back, she was complacent in that job and if she spent more than a year in it, she would have been disappointed. It wasn’t challenging, or fulfilling.

After a while of searching and applying, Allie got offered a position with her current company Jones Lang LaSalle as a project coordinator. JLL is very large Global Commercial Real Estate company. Allie works specially on the Capital One account. What does JLL do for Capital One? They survey, consult, construct, and manage all their properties! This means offices, banks, daycares, health centers, any piece of property they own or lease, JLL has probably constructed, renovated, designed, and managed it for them. As a Project Coordinator Allie’s job was to manage all of the data of the project (dates, milestones, budget), legal documents, and ensure they are doing the best job possible for the client. It wasn’t until 6 month into this job where Allie had a full circle moment. She was offered an opportunity to be an interim Analyst for the account, while a woman was on maternity leave. It was then that Allie realized how important psychology was to this whole commercial real estate process.

As an Analyst, Allie evaluates processes of employees, human needs in the work place, where people usually sit in the office, how often do people use their desk, do all individuals at certain levels really need offices? Or are they collaborating with others most the day and work better at desks? They are evaluating human behavior in the office, and determining based off of behaviors what should their environment look like. They are also evaluating the organizational build, do positions need to be changed, does the structure need changed, and how will these improve the processes! This reminded Allie of when she took Tracy Zinn’s I/O Psych course, one of her favorite classes she took while at JMU. If Allie were ever going to go back to school, she would get her masters in I/O.

Recently, Allie got promoted to the Project Management Offices Senior Analyst. The women Allie was an interim for, got promoted and she filled her position. This was a very big jump for a Project Coordinator to make, and especially only being with the company for one and a half years. One thing Allie has heard from most of her employers is about her work ethic. Even in the positions she didn’t love, she never worked like she didn’t love them! And that is important to succeed!


Sarah Taylor

Sarah is currently working as a Psychometrist for 4 neuropsychologists at a county hospital in Minneapolis, MN.  She administers and scores a variety of psychological and neuropsychological tests to children, adolescents, younger and older adults.  The tests she administers include, but are not limited to, tests measuring various domains of intelligence, memory, processing speed, effort, psychomotor processes, attention, working memory, planning, and problem solving. Although the administration of the tests is really important and a large part of her job, the other big thing (and her favorite part) is the interpersonal interactions with the patients she works with.  She hopes to continue working in the field sof Psychometry for a few years but eventually plans on going back to graduate school, although she is still unsure of what graduate school program would be the best fit for her.

After working in the Cognitive Development Lab, she realized how much she liked the research process, particularly working with the participants.  She also enjoyed the process of assessment and how applicable it was to a variety of different areas of psychology, including cognitive psych, biopsych, personality, sensation and perception, and developmental psychology.  After taking Test’s and Measurement and learning about how psychometry combines all the different areas of psychology that she liked and also gives you the opportunity to interact with patients in a psychological setting with only a bachelor’s degree, she decided psychometry may be a good career path for her, at least for the time being.

Update (4 years post graduation): After working as a psychometrist for about 2 years, Sarah attained her certification as a Specialist in Psychometry.  Her experiences in neuropsychology through her position as a psychometrist in the Neuropsychology Department at a large metropolitan hospital lead her to apply to several graduate programs in both school psychology and clinical psychology.  She accepted an offer into the University of South Alabama Combined-Integrated Clinical and Counseling Psychology PhD program to study under a Neuropsychologist.  She is currently a first year in the program pursuing research in psychometrics and neuropsychology.  In the future, Sarah hopes to work in a Veteran’s Affairs hospital as a Clinical Neuropsychologist.

Lindsey Umstead

After graduating from JMU, Lindsey began graduate school (full-time) at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) to pursue a Master of Science degree in Counseling. Specifically, Lindsey was specializing in College Counseling and Student Development in the hopes of becoming either a student affairs professional or counselor in a college setting (she wasn’t sure which one!). During her first year in the program, Lindsey gained some clinical experience in her program’s training clinic, where she served as a counselor-in-training to provide services to undergraduate and graduate students seeking support for mental health, developmental, and academic concerns. In the upcoming second year of her master’s program, Lindsey will spend one semester serving as an intern in Academic Affairs at UNCG and the other semester serving as a counseling intern at High Point University in the Office of Counseling Services. Lindsey also has continued gaining research experience by helping a doctoral student with his dissertation as well as her faculty advisor with a longitudinal research project of college access for children of Hispanic immigrants.

Update (4-years post graduation): After graduating from her masters program, Lindsey continued graduate school to pursue a PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education at UNCG. Lindsey’s decision to do this was influenced by her interest in becoming a Counselor Educator in order to teach and train future counselors in addition to contributing to the advancement of the field through research. During her first year as a doctoral student, Lindsey worked in an integrated care setting providing group and individual counseling for adults with substance use and other mental health disorders. Lindsey is particularly passionate about research and her interests include improving research training in master’s-level counseling programs, master’s-level counselors’ use of research in practice, and imposter syndrome in women Counselor Educators. Lindsey has also begun working part-time at an eating disorder hospital based in Durham, NC, where she is working with adolescents to help them learn and practice skills (based in Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that assist them in their recovery. Lindsey is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) in North Carolina as well as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).

Since graduating from JMU, the most important thing Lindsey has learned is that work/life balance really matters! Her hope for all past and future graduates is that in their quests to make a difference in the world, they also make time for themselves to practice self-care and work towards wellness. Lindsey is grateful for PPA and Professor D for inspiring students to pursue careers and lives that they are passionate about!


Jessica VanOrmer

4 years post graduation: Currently, Jessica is enrolled in a doctoral program. She is attending the University of South Alabama in the Ph.D Clinical and Counseling Program. Jessica works with Dr. Zlomke examining the efficacy of PCIT with ASD youth. Jessica is conducting research that explores the differences in parental tolerance of childhood misbehaviors. Before enrolling in this doctoral program, She received my masters at Catholic University of America where she conducted research that examined the effectiveness of a social skills program with children diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, GAD, and other disorders.


Linda Walton

Linda applied to Master programs in Higher Education Administration/Student Affairs at JMU, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, and GW.  She chose these not only for their location, but also for the curriculum that each offered.  Each required internship and practicum experience within the field of higher education. Out of these, Linda was only accepted to GW, her top choice. Originally, Linda was pursuing a school counseling master’s program because of her field placement at Elkton Elementary.  However, she realized school counseling wasn’t something she could see herself doing full time and, after reexamining what she enjoyed most during her undergraduate experience, she realized she enjoyed spending her time working with college students, especially in the Peer Advising office. Also, her positive experiences with academic advisors and professors within higher education were another big push for her to pursue a Master’s in Higher Education Administration/Student Affairs. These positive role models gave her an image of how she wanted to be portrayed in her future career.

GW’s Higher Education Administration program highly encourages their students to be working/interning in higher education while they pursue their master’s.  As a result, Linda works about 20 hours/week as an Office Assistant at the University Counseling Center at GW and take 3 classes at night.  On a typical day, she works seven hours and then heads to a two hour class (each of her classes only meets once a week). She has two days off work each week, and, on these days, she spends a lot of time completing her assignments and readings for class. Her graduate experience is very balanced. She is able to work within the higher education field and take classes as well.  She has the opportunity to learn about theories in the classroom and then apply them through her job; she has never felt overwhelmed by either.

Linda recommends field placement to undergraduate psychology students. Field placement is a great way to find what area you enjoy most in psychology; it is also a great way to find what areas are NOT a good fit.  She would encourage field placement to all senior psychology majors; it is such a great experience to learn more about yourself.

Update (4 years post graduation): Linda is now the Clinical Services Case Manager with Mental Health Services at the George Washington University in Washington, DC.  Her primary role is assisting students in connecting with therapists off-campus. She obtain her position through a graduate assistantship at GW’s Mental Health Services while she was studying for master’s in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs here at GW (which she officially completed August 2015!).  The position for Case Manager opened up shortly before completing my master’s and she transitioned into a full-time staff member in January 2015.  It has been a great position for her to hone skills relevant to the student affairs field while also working in a familiar environment in which she feels comfortable and supported.


Ericka Welsh

Ericka did not know what she wanted to do after graduation, so she moved back to Virginia Beach and starting waiting tables to save some money. She wanted a job with flexibility and she liked that she could take time off and travel during the summer. She says that she does not want to do her current job forever, but she is glad she took time off to figure things out. In her time off she also served as a volunteer with Youth For Understanding, which is an international student exchange program to help mentor kids that are studying in the U.S., specifically in the Tidewater area. It was not a paid position but she loved working with kids from Germany, Pakistan, and Bahrain. In January, she moved to California to work for a non-profit organization called Liberty in North Korea, which works to raise awareness about the human rights crisis going on in North Korea and help rescue and resettle North Korean refugees (you can check us out at!)  Her job entailed traveling to universities, high schools, churches, and other communities in North America to help raise awareness and fundraise. She will be attending Pepperdine in the Fall of 2014 for Law.

Update (4 years post-graduation):   Ericka is in her third and final year of law school.  She is specializing in International Law, specifically in the area of refugee and asylum law.  She spent the past year working and studying various international law issues in New Delhi, London, and Washington D.C.  Ericka’s most recent post was as a legal adviser for an organization providing legal aid to refugees living in Cairo.  After graduating from law school in May 2017, Ericka hopes to continue doing legal aid work for refugee populations.


Virginia Ginn

 Virginia is working in human resources, which she has found relates greatly to Psychology. She thought that Sports Psychology was her passion, but has now found how much she enjoys the field of human resources. Her job now includes interacting with people on a daily basis about a variety of different issues and she loves the fact that each day brings something new! Virginia emphasized that rising graduates should not stress about getting into schools or finding a job right away. She said to just take it day by day and a school or career will eventually unfold!



Jenny Ludwig

 Jenny did not go to graduate school right after graduating from JMU. Instead she took an opportunity to live and work abroad. Jenny was hired to work as an Administrative Assistant at the US Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. She moved overseas after graduation and was there for about 8 months. During her time abroad she had the chance to work in many different offices within the embassy such as HR, the Political Office and the Executive Office. This experience opened her eyes to a whole new culture and to the joy of traveling and experiencing life so drastically different from our own.

Jenny returned home in order to apply to graduate school.  She is applying to Colorado State University’s Student Affairs in Higher Education program.  In order to gain experience in the field, she has been volunteering in the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service.  This opportunity has allowed her to work with the university’s Honors Program on the reflection aspect of their service projects.

Update (5 years post graduation): Jenny is currently working as an Academic Coach in the Student Success Center here at the University of Tennessee. She graduated with her M.S. in College Student Personnel from UT last May so she is coming up on her 1-year work anniversary very soon. She says that it has been such a quick first year, but she loves it! During her time as a graduate student, she had a GTA position as an Academic Advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Jenny knows that her experience with Psyc Peer Advising really helped her stand out and feel prepared for her  GTA position.  She loved being an advisor and working with students in that capacity, but she has really fallen in love with Coaching this past year. Instead of focusing on academic planning, Jenny gets to help students with gaining and honing academic skills. Her department meets with students in a one-on-one setting to talk about all things student success related. Generally students come in looking to strengthen their study skills, time management, procrastination, and motivation but they’re always throwing something unexpected their way which keeps the work interesting. Jenny also gets to teach classes each semester. In the Fall she teaches two sections of First-Year Studies, a “Welcome to UT/college”-type course, and in the Spring she teaches an Academic Success Course to our first-year students who are on Academic Probation. Each Coach also has a specific project or program they head up so Jenny is the point person there for Academic Probation.


Haley Mertins Husband

 Haley decided not to go to graduate school after undergrad. She became a substitute teacher in fairfax county public schools, which led her to the job she has now. Haley currently works in an enhanced autism classroom that uses applied behavior analysis to teach our students. During college she was very interested in child development and autism so this job is a perfect fit.  She loves teaching and working with her students and I could see this being a long-term career.  Haley is still interested in going back to graduate school to get her master’s in Special Education.

Update (5 years post graduation): Hayley currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina and works for a private ABA company that delivers services for children with Autism and other related disorders in their homes. She is a registered behavior technician and a lead therapist for the company. Hayley spends most of my days observing and training therapists in one on one sessions with the children, playing with precious kiddos, and writing lots of reports. She is also in a Penn State graduate program working towards a Masters in Special Education as well a becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Hayley’s husband (an occupational therapist) and her hope to open an early intervention clinic or school for children with neurodevelopmental disorders in the future. 


Kelsey Owens

 Kelsey pursued graduate school and applied to school psychology programs at JMU, William and Mary, ECU, and Radford because they were closer to her home and were good programs. She decided to pursue graduate school by doing a lot of research. She originally wanted to do clinical psychology, but after her field placement at Western State Hospital, she decided that it was not the right field for her. She spoke with someone in the school psychology program at JMU and after doing more research, decided that it is was a perfect fit. She chose to attend JMU’s program right after graduation because the professors were amazing, they had a multicultural emphasis, and the program started field placement very early. She also chose it because you get your Master’s degree in a year, rather than two years. A typical day in her program consists of one or two 2.5 hour classes with her cohort, which is only ten students. She also has a practicum once a week and Graduate Assistantship duties as well. She said that the one word that sums up her experience as a grad student is exciting.


Kristen Rollman

 Kristen graduated from JMU with my Bachelor’s in Psychology and a concentration in Behavior Analysis in May of 2012. She was accepted into the psychological sciences master’s program at JMU, but wanted to take the year off to work and gain Virginia state residency before beginning the program. She deferred her acceptance for the year and worked at Matthew’s Center for Visual Learning here in Harrisonburg. This job entailed working in the home and providing behavior services for children on the Autism Spectrum. She is back at JMU receiving her Master’s in Psychological Sciences, in the Applied Behavior Analysis concentration. She very interested in early intervention for children with Autism and is planning on obtaining her B.C.B.A certification (board certified behavior analyst) after graduation.

Erin Spence

 Following college graduation, Erin Spence decided to start working rather than apply to graduate schools in order for her to find something she was truly passionate about. The summer after she graduated, she received an internship opportunity with Invisible Children in San Diego. She said it was a wonderful experience that helped her learn about herself and have valuable work experience. Now she is the Alumni Services Coordinator in the Office of Alumni Affairs at Georgetown Law. Here, she does a lot of the financial allocations and paper work, event planning, works with alumni to make sure they have a great time on campus, supports her coworkers for their events, as well as run the alumni database and social media. She is still considering eventually going to grad school, but for now is enjoying getting to plan events, meeting great people, as well as making other people happy!