From Our Students
Many of our graduates have gone on to successful careers in education, counseling, business, government, and other vocations. We are very proud of our alumni and the contributions they are making in their respective communities. On this page, we post occasional updates on our alumni and current students.
After graduating from UNC in 2010 with an M.A. in Educational Psychology, Chris became a Health Education Coordinator at Fenway Health, one of the largest GLBT health centers in the world. His time and studies at UNC allowed him to hit the ground running at Fenway, where he went on to oversee the implementation of several behavioral interventions for gay and bisexual men.
During his time at Fenway, Chris also acted as the GLBT liaison for universities in the Boston area. This led him to his current position at Emerson College, where he serves as the Coordinator of Wellness Education. As evidenced by his work as a graduate assistant for Marilyn Welsh at UNC and his masters comps investigating the educational disparities of GLBT students, Chris has been driven by a desire to better serve marginalized youth. UNC helped Chris to achieve his ambition even when the curriculum at the time was not GLBT-focused. Advisers championed his efforts to learn more about the ramifications of social and cultural stressors on the GLBT learner’s educational experience, and often did so right along with him.
In his current position at Emerson, Chris develops and runs passive and active wellness education programs for the college community. He also works closely with the GLBT population on campus to provide culturally competent programming and assessment. Since starting with the college, one of his major accomplishments has been the redesign of the campus health center’s sexual health assessment and medical screening programs to better serve the needs of students. In addition, Chris serves as a substance abuse counselor and addictions specialist, providing students with one-on-one support and risk reduction counseling.
Chris views his time at UNC as the catalyst for his career thus far, and owes a great part of his success to the support and guidance of UNC faculty and staff, particularly Drs. Marilyn Welsh, W. Woody, and Kathryn Cochran. Looking ahead, Chris hopes to expand his role at Emerson College by developing new programs and refashioning ones already in place to better suit the needs of marginalized youth and the campus at large.
Christopher Immel, Ph.D.
Christopher Immel graduated from UNC with Honors in 2004 with a B.A. in Psychology. While at UNC, Chris worked under the guidance of Dr. Thom Dunn, as well as Drs. Doug Woody and Susan Bromley, who all played instrumental roles in shaping his interest in psychology and pursuit of graduate education. In 2005, Chris enrolled in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Virginia Tech. While at Virginia Tech, he continued his development as a Psychologist. He worked with trauma survivors from many mass trauma incidents, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as members of the student body affected by the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech. His Master of Science degree was confirmed in 2008. In 2010, Chris moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to complete an internship at the Maryland Veterans Affairs Heath Care System/University of Maryland School of Medicine Psychology Internship Consortium. Following completion of his doctorate in 2011, Chris accepted a postdoctoral fellowship position with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine working in the Johns Hopkins Burn Center. His clinical and research interests center around the impact of trauma on mental and physical health outcomes.
While at UNC, Chris participated in many aspects of the department that have been highly beneficial to his career. He served as an undergraduate research assistant for Drs. Dunn and Woody. He completed a practicum training experience with Dr. Bromley’s private practice. Chris was an active member of Psi Chi, with roles as both Faculty Liaison and Chapter President. One of the most important aspects of Chris’ training at UNC was his completion of an Honors Thesis under the supervision of Dr. Dunn. The experience was an important step in sparking his research interests and gaining a positive exposure to the demands and rigors of research. Chris commented, “I would like to thank the department for the quality of teaching, training, and mentorship I received at UNC; my time there was an important step in my academic development.”
Jenifer L. Vohs, Ph.D.
Jenifer L. Vohs, Ph.D. graduated from UNC in 2000 with a B.A. in Psychology. It was her time at UNC that inspired Jenifer to become a Clinical Psychologist. At UNC, she worked closely with Dr. Ted Bashore, studying gender differences in interhemispheric transmission time, and later earned the distinction of Psychology Departmental Scholar (2000). Upon completion of her undergraduate training, Dr. Bashore's recommendations assisted Jenifer to obtain a position as a Research Assistant and Electroencephalogram Lab Manager, working with patients with severe mental illness at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine. After two years in this position, Jenifer was accepted into the Clinical Science program at IU Bloomington, where she broadened her research and clinical skills. Jenifer's Ph.D. was conferred in the fall of 2009. She then completed a Predoctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology at the University of Colorado Denver, which led to a Postdoctoral position as a Psychology Fellow at Salud Family Health Centers in Brighton, CO. In addition to this clinical work, Jenifer has also published 15 refereed manuscripts to date. Her research publications represent the breadth of her training, ranging from topics such as attention and negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia to electrophysiological abnormalities in both humans and rodent models of psychopathology.
In the fall of 2011, Jenifer will begin her first professional position as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, back in Indiana, at the IU School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. Jenifer aims to focus on clinical care for, and rigorous research about, patients with severe mental illness. Jenifer has fond memories of her time at UNC. She commented, "it was Dr. Bashore's guidance and belief in my potential that provided the courage and planted the seed of self-efficacy to pursue advanced education, ultimately go to graduate school, and fulfill my dream to be a Psychologist."
I spent my final 2 years of undergraduate study at UNC. My first year was spent in the Education Department majoring in Special Education; it was here that I discovered I wanted to study the human brain in order to learn the why behind the what. I wanted to learn why some kids are more inclined to abuse illicit substances, or are unable to control their anger, or struggle with learning disabilities. And, why, does ADHD play a role in so many negative behaviors? There are so many questions. In my 1st month of my final year I made the decision to change departments. A transfer to the psychology department would give me access to resources that would help me answer some of these questions.
With the help of the Psychology department faculty I was not only able to transfer but I was going to be able to graduate that year. I was able to take upper lever and graduate courses as well as conduct research. The research was both my own study as well as lab work with a faculty member and a graduate student. I was both honored and amazed that a faculty member would conduct research with an undergraduate student. I graduated Summa Cum Laude along with an education that any graduate school would consider.
This is where the story turns, as it often does. Due to an accident in the family I wind up running a business, something I know absolutely nothing about. The skills I acquired at UNC allowed me to make a positive transition into a business management position. My research skills allowed us to save enough money on our overhead expenses that the savings were passed on to the customer. In a time when everyone was raising prices we were able to keep our prices low but our quality high.
After four years the business was able to be handed back and I have decided to remain on the business track as a real estate agent. This is a career that depends on accurate and detailed research results presented in a professional manner. All skills I am confident in because of the practice and education I received in the Psychology department at UNC.
Thank you specifically to Drs. Mark Alcorn, Thomas Dunn, Marilyn Welsh, and Doug Woody.
Skye Woestehoff graduated from the University of Northern Colorado (2010) with a B.A. in Psychology. While at UNC she worked with Dr. Doug Woody on his research in psychology and law. It was her experience working on Dr. Woody's research that helped her to realize that, contrary to her previous beliefs, she loved conducting research. Her fascination with interrogation and jury decision-making was sparked by Dr. Woody's research as well as by his class on psychology and law. In her senior year Skye helped Dr. Woody present his research at the American Psychology-Law Society (APLS) conference and at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association conference. During that time Skye also was selected by the psychology faculty as a Department Scholar.
Skye is currently a doctoral student in the Legal Psychology program at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her research interests include false confessions, police interrogations, and jurors' perceptions of forensic evidence and interrogations. The research Skye is presently conducting on perceptions of false confessions was influenced heavily by the research she helped present at APLS in 2010, and the idea she has for her Master's thesis grew out of the research she conducted for Dr. Michael Phillip's Advanced Research Methods class.
Working on Dr. Woody's research was transformative and the driving force in Skye's decision to pursue a PhD. The lessons she learned at UNC about research and psychology in general gave her a strong foundation of knowledge to draw on as she entered graduate school. Furthermore, her dedication to effective teaching was inspired by her time at UNC. Skye is still in contact with Dr. Woody and his mentoring has been influential as she seeks to develop her own teaching style.
Rebecca (Bell) Branstetter
Rebecca (Bell) Branstetter graduated from UNC in 1998 with a B.A. in Psychology. She worked closely with Dr. Nancy Karlin as a part of the Women's Resource Center's mentoring program. It was Dr. Karlin who inspired her to conduct and present original research and apply to graduate school. After UNC, Rebecca earned her masters and doctorate at The University of California, Berkeley, in the School Psychology program. She went on to earn her clinical psychologist license after a post-doctoral internship at the University of California, San Francisco Autism Clinic. She has been working in both private practice and in the San Francisco and Oakland school districts since earning her doctorate.
In addition to her clinical work, she is an author, editor, and contributor to education and child psychology publications. She is the creator and author of "Notes From the School Psychologist", a blog designed to help parents and professionals work with students with special needs. She is also the editor of an anthology of stories for educators and psychologists about how to reach difficult-to-reach students called "The Teachable Moment: Seizing the Instants When Children Learn.". Today, she lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has fond memories of Greeley and UNC. "The teaching staff at UNC was essential to my development as a psychologist," Branstetter says. "Dr. Karlin in particular was an outstanding mentor during my time at UNC and beyond. We still keep in touch, and I attribute much of my success in the field to her guidance and support."
Tracey Scherr graduated from UNC twice, first with an MA in Psychology in 2000, and second with a PhD in School Psychology in 2004. Tracey met her first UNC advisor, Dr. Nancy Karlin, as an undergraduate attending Psi Chi functions at Rocky Mountain Psychological Association conferences. “Dr. Karlin was so dedicated to Psi Chi and so encouraging of my research as an undergraduate, that UNC became an obvious first choice when I was pursuing masters programs. I wanted to continue working with her, and figured that UNC would have an enriching academic environment if other professors were anything like Nancy. Fortunately, that assumption was correct.”
While a graduate student at UNC, Tracey also worked as an adolescent social worker for Boulder County. In that position, she recognized that children living in foster care often experience gaps in their education that pose further problems in their lives. So, she continued her education at UNC and became a school psychologist to work with children who encountered challenges affecting their education and socioemotional health.
After earning her doctorate, Tracey returned the Midwest, where she was born and raised. She practiced briefly as a school psychologist in the public school system before she entered academia. “I enjoyed working with children, families, and educators directly, but I got the teaching bug at UNC. I taught my first introductory psychology class while I was a teaching assistant. Also, I had so many knowledgeable professors at UNC, who were also gifted teachers and talented researchers. I felt compelled to try to contribute to university students’ lives similar to how my professors influenced me.” Tracey is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She teaches undergraduate psychology students and prepares graduate students to become school psychologists. She is still active in Psi Chi, now as a chapter advisor. Tracey conducts research related to transitioning and marginalized students, with particular focus on students living in foster care or who have been adopted. She has traveled the world, pursuing her interest in international school psychology as well. After visiting China to present her research at a school psychology colloquium in 2006, Tracey decided to adopt a child. She returned to China to adopt her daughter in April of 2009.
Jeff spent 16 years in the software industry before making a mid-life shift to study psychology. Jeff completed his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado in 2003. During that time he was awarded the Graduate Dean’s Citation for Excellence and the Graduate Dean’s Citation for Outstanding Dissertation. He then secured a two-year NIMH postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Denver, working with Susan Harter. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Southern Utah University. There he continues his research on self-conscious emotions such as shame, guilt, embarrassment, and humiliation, and how we cope with these unpleasant emotions.
Among Jeff’s many positive experiences at UNC, the most notable was the mentoring of Dr. Steven Pulos, which continues to influence his teaching and research today. In Dr. Pulos’s Assessment classes, Jeff developed the Compass of Shame Scale (CoSS) to assess the use of shame management scripts described by Nathanson’s (1992) model. Jeff continued to revise the CoSS and it has been translated into ten languages and is seeing increasing use in research. The CoSS has been used to explore relationships between the four poles of the Compass of Shame and self-esteem, depression, anxiety, hostility and anger, psychopathy, perfectionism, procrastination, and fear of failure.
Reflecting on the growth he experienced during his research experiences at UNC, Jeff decided to emphasize undergraduate research in his teaching philosophy at Southern Utah University. Jeff incorporates significant research projects into his own Assessment classes, teaches an Independent Research course, is a member of the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Program (UGRASP) advisory board, and mentors many students with their own research projects. These efforts have led to over ten research awards for Jeff’s students, three mentor awards for Jeff, as well as the SUU Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award. Jeff believes he owes much of his success to his experiences at UNC.
Kelly Turney attended UNC from 1990 to 1995. He experimented with history and teaching before settling on a major in psychology. It was his experiences in Dr. Bashore’s classes that had a profound impact on Kelly that persists to this day. “By far the best and the most challenging classes I attended at UNC were Ted’s classes. Ted allowed me to attend several of his graduate-level classes my senior year. They were very challenging and lighted the fire when it comes to digging for truth or facts (research). I remember spending many hours in the library researching things, digging through every resource I could find hoping to find something Ted didn’t already know about. Ted was a stickler for details and expected well written and thought-out papers. His zest and love for what he does also had great bearing on me. He was always willing to allow me to come and talk to him and no question was ever a stupid question. We shared a common interest in baseball so after discussions about assignments we would kick around old stories.”
After graduation, Kelly was an AmeriCorps volunteer in Fort Collins working in drug and alcohol prevention with children. He worked as a substance abuse counselor and thought that his career would be spent working in this field. However, after relocating to Alaska he shifted gears. “After taking a break and working in the retail world I saw my younger sister was having a blast being a cop. One ride-along and I was hooked. I paid for myself to attend the police academy in Alaska in 1998 and in April of 1999 went to work for the North Slope Borough Police Department. I lived and worked in several Eskimo villages and saw and did things that most people only read about in books or see on National Geographic. In 2003, I moved to Palmer, Alaska and took a patrol position with the Palmer Police Department. In 2005, I was assigned as the department’s only Detective and in 2007 was promoted to Detective Sergeant. Obviously, being a Detective, the skills honed in my college career have paid dividends for me. Digging for the truth of fact is my job. Details and the written word are so important in my job. I look back and see Ted’s senior year classes as being the rock solid foundation of my present career.”
Angela Quinn graduated from UNC with a Psychology degree (Sociology minor) in 1991. She served as President of the UNC Psi Chi chapter and was named by the psychology faculty as a Department Scholar. During her senior year Angie’s persistence in finding just the right field experience paid off when she landed an internship at Hewlett-Packard in the Human Resources Department (then Personnel) with the Organizational Development Specialist. This interest was spurred by an Industrial-Organizational Psych course at UNC. Her internship turned into a temporary position that continued for almost two years. During this time Angie was able to work with some of the company’s best leaders in the area of manufacturing redesign using the Socio-Technical Systems (STS) process. The work at HP was what helped Angie realize she wanted to be in Human Resources longer term. Angie comments, "My experiences and support of the wonderful faculty at UNC definitely gave me the ability to make the most of my time at HP!"
Angie was hired as a full time employee at the Corvallis, Oregon site in 1994. She and her new spouse, Lorr Quinn (UNC Alumni 1991 and 1993) made the big move away from family and into a very dynamic time in HP. Angie was hired by the Inkjet Business Unit (now called Imaging and Printing Group) which was responsible for the primary printing operations in HP and was the wildly growing money-maker for the company at that time. Angie moved into supervision of a manufacturing team and was also responsible for training of production operators. Angie says that, "the training component always seems to follow me into various roles...it is an area that naturally fits with my skills and passions." She credits her undergraduate opportunities as a Psi Chi officer and collaborator on faculty research with helping to develop her leadership abilities. "UNC was a wonderful foundation for my career." says Angie. She is now getting yet another opportunity to focus in the Sales arena as part of the Personal Systems Group Human Resources team.
Angie has been afforded many great career opportunities in her 14 years at Hewlett-Packard - Manufacturing, Management, Supply Chain, Business HR and Learning & Development - to list the primary roles. However, one of her most rewarding experiences was while on hiatus from HP, helping high school students at a Denver occupational center with career counseling and training.
Angie now lives in Fort Collins with her husband and two children and is a new member of the UNC College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Advisory Council.
Juliana Rosa graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with an undergraduate degree in Psychology in May 2008. Juliana was a Reisher Scholar beginning in her sophomore year, and in her senior year, Juliana was accepted into the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. She worked with Dr. Kristina Phillips in the School of Psychological Sciences on research investigating social, personal, and environmental reasons why individuals initiate substance use. Juliana was able to present her research at the 16th Annual Pacific Northwest Spring Research Conference in Seattle, Washington as well as at the 2008 University of Northern Colorado’s Annual Research Conference.
She continues to work with Dr. Phillips in the hopes of publishing the study, and presenting the final findings.
In the fall of 2008, Juliana will begin a doctoral program in Applied Social Psychology at Colorado State University. Juliana will be working with The Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research and Dr. Aloise-Young on research on adolescent substance use and prevention models. Juliana was also awarded the McNair Scholars fellowship to aid in the funding of her studies. She hopes to graduate in 2013 and pursue a career in academia and research.
Jeff Jiron is a Colorado native who enrolled at UNC in 1993 after completing a four-year stint in the Air Force. He studied psychology and has fond memories of his program and his time living on campus. Jeff is still in contact with many of the friends he made while at UNC.
Jeff was especially attracted to counseling psychology. He interned with Psychcare Family Recovery Center of the North Colorado Medical Center and worked for them for two years after graduating from UNC. Then, he made a transition to a very different field: banking. Jeff began as a Personal Banker for US Bank in 1998 and by 2005 was an award-winning Bank Manager. He is now a successful Commercial Banker with Guaranty Bank and Trust.
How did Jeff’s academic background in psychology prepare him for his career in banking? “My experiences in the field of psychology and my psychology degree have played a very important role in my career and have been the key to my successes. The knowledge from my course work and the experience in the field of psychology have helped me to become well rounded and have helped me to effectively manage people in the workplace. I have learned that in order to be an effective manager, you need to be able to deal with issues of diversity, discrimination etc. It has also been very important to help employees to improve themselves through guidance and communication. I have found that my background in psychology and counseling have also given me the skills necessary to effectively communicate with my clients in difficult financial situations.”
Today, Jeff is active in his community and remains connected to UNC through his participation on the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board.
“I feel that UNC has afforded me a great opportunity through my education and I just want to be able to provide input and support to make this possible for others.”
Chris Pierce graduated from UNC as an undergraduate psychology major in 1996. From Colorado, he went to the University of Alaska, Anchorage where he completed a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. After deciding to pursue a career as a neuropsychologist, he completed his Ph.D. in Medical Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As part of his doctoral training, he secured a very competitive placement in the neuropsychology track of the Clinical Psychology internship program at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He completed his training with a two-year post-doctoral residency in Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.
Following his training, he was able to return to Colorado when he joined a private neuropsychology practice in Boulder. After three years at that practice, Dr. Pierce decided he wanted to return to his academic roots and work in a setting in which he provided evaluation and treatment to more severely impaired patients and had a greater opportunity to conduct research and be involved in teaching and training. To that end, Dr. Pierce has been the neuropsychologist at Denver Health Medical Center since 2005 and is an Assistant Professor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He has various research projects ongoing with students and faculty. His teaching duties include supervision of psychology interns in neuropsychological assessment and externship/practicum training in neuropsychology for graduate students of UNC and other local universities.
Joseph Hamm graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in the spring semester of 2008 with a Psychology major and a Criminal Justice minor. Joe’s interests in psychology and law started early in his undergraduate career when he was accepted into the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. The McNair program prepares students for future graduate study by connecting exceptional students to faculty members for collaborative original research. Joe worked with Dr. Woody, an Associate Professor in the School of Psychological Sciences, to study jury decision making in cases involving juveniles tried as adults. At UNC, Joe successfully presented his project at the UNC Student Research day and earned the top University of Northern Colorado McNair Scholars award for 2006. Additionally, Joe’s description of his collaborative work with Dr. Woody will be published alongside Dr. Woody’s account of working with Joe in the e-book, Promoting the Undergraduate Research Experience in Psychology.
Rather than pause in his successful undergraduate research career at this point, Joe extended his McNair project with another study with Dr. Woody that he presented as a work-in-progress at the 2007 Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Convention. The final version of this work was accepted via peer-review at the national 2008 American Psychology-Law Society conference. Joe’s success at UNC inspired him to seek additional opportunities in psychology and the law, and he was selected from a highly competitive national field of applicants for the intensive one-year undergraduate research experience in psychology and law at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Joe is now enrolled in the Psychology and Law doctoral program at UNL.
Lindsay Brubaker graduated Summa Cum Laude from UNC in 2005. She was a psychology major and Honors student who was voted by the faculty as Department Scholar in both her junior and senior years. Lindsay’s honors thesis was an empirical study of inhibitory control and social problem solving in 3-5-year-old children. She presented this research her senior year at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association conference. Although a dedicated student, Lindsay found time to volunteer for the Autism Society of Colorado, serve as an officer for UNC’s chapter of Psi Chi (the national honor society for psychology students), and make it to the mountains several times a year to snow board.
In the fall of 2007 Lindsay started graduate school in the Clinical/Developmental Joint Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Her research is focused on cognitive functioning in children and adolescents with autism. Working with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Lindsay is currently running a study measuring cognitive functioning from a behavioral standpoint and hopes to compare her findings with fMRI data from the University’s Brain Imaging Center. Along with her research interests, Lindsay would like to pursue assessment and intervention training at the Thompson Center.
Vanessa Ewing is a graduate (2002) of our Educational Psychology Ph.D. program. She is currently serving as the principal of Broomfield Academy – an innovative private school for elementary age students. Formerly Meritor Academy, the school was in danger of being shut down due to a sponsoring company cutting ties for business reasons. Dr. Ewing and a group of parents organized an independent investment group (Academic Achievement Group, LLC) to keep the school open. For more information, visit Broomfield Enterprise.