Psychology Success Stories – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
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Psychology Success Stories

Four William Smith graduates pursue advanced degrees in psychology

From UCLA to UNC Chapel Hill, four recent William Smith psychology majors will scatter across the country to pursue competitive Ph.D. programs this fall:

Colleen Carpinella ’09 will attend the University of California at Los Angeles to pursue a Ph.D. in social psychology with an emphasis in political psychology.

Casey Marshall ’09 will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue a Ph.D. in school psychology and plans to focus her research on literacy and early intervention practices in multicultural populations.

Amy Nadel ’09 will attend Fairleigh Dickinson University to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a focus on women’s issues.

And Kirra Guard ’08, MAT ’09 will attend Lehigh University to pursue a Ph.D. in school psychology, where she will likely conduct research on response to intervention in rural schools as part of a collective study between several universities.

So what is it about the HWS psychology department that encourages such ambitious, successful students?

For these four women and many of their peers, the answer is two-fold. While the multifaceted psychology curriculum has given them a wide array of experiences and knowledge in psychology, the vast network of HWS alumni and alumnae has supported them in finding real-world applications for their skills. 

“Our curriculum provides students with the broad and in depth experiences in psychology that graduate schools are looking for,” says Department Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology Michelle Rizzella. “Students are exposed to several content areas, and many study specific areas in greater depth through sustained coursework.”

This approach has proved successful for the four women about to embark on their advanced studies, but they’ve also benefited from HWS alumni and alumnae mentors, such as Dr. Richard Solomon ’75, P’10, who advised both Kirra Guard ’08, MAT ’09 and Casey Marshall ’09 on their graduate school applications.

“I’ve had an unbelievable amount of support and encouragement, more than I think I would have gotten at any other school,” says Guard. “The number of students going on to such well-regarded graduate programs is a real testament to the psychology department and the Colleges.”

Carpinella has been active in psychology research efforts at the Colleges since her sophomore year, and has participated in the Summer Science Research Program with Assistant Professor Jon Iuzzini. She has also co-authored several scholarly articles and presented at a national psychology conference.  

Marshall has worked closely with faculty in the psychology department on several research projects, including an Honors project on the subject of incoming kindergarten literacy scores and home literacy environment of families in Geneva with adviser Assistant Professor Julie Kingery.

A psychology and women’s studies major, Nadel hopes to focus her studies on survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, borderline personality disorder, self injurious behaviors, and socially constructed ideas related to gender differences and sexuality. She has been active in the Geneva community as a crisis counselor and advocate at the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service of the Finger Lakes.

While at Hobart and William Smith, Guard has taught in several local schools and interned in the office of a local school psychologist.  She also worked with HWS faculty and staff to develop the HWS Leads leadership program for HWS students.