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Meet our students

Group photo of School Psychology students at the University of Dayton.

Why do our students choose the University of Dayton School Psychology program? Explore their insights below, along with details about their research interests.

Farah Alkhafaf
  • About me: I chose UD's School Psychology program because of the Marianist values that are embedded in the teaching and training in this program. I loved that this University has accepted me with open arms, regardless of my faith, and that I was able to connect with the common beliefs of service, justice, and peace. UD's welcoming environment is also found in the classroom, where peers of different backgrounds and experiences collaborate to polish each other's skills, which is my favorite part of the program!
  • Research interests: Culturally and linguistically diverse students, trauma, refugee experiences, and culturally competent practice and minorities. My thesis topic is specifically looking at the acculturative stress of CLD students, which is stress imposed as a result to managing two conflicting cultures and the feeling of the need to conform to the host culture to avoid potential discrimination.
Sydney Bowser
  • About me: I chose UD because even as early as interview day, I could feel how supportive and compassionate the faculty was. They were so welcoming and really made me feel like I was a part of the program already. My favorite part about the program is the practical experiences that started during first semester! It’s awesome to be in the schools so early ... to really give you a feel of what your life would be like once you’ve graduated and are working as a practitioner.
  • Research interests: Mental health services in rural schools and examining the different challenges that they run into when it comes to mental health because of their geographical location.
Jamelle Cooper
  • About me: I choose the University of Dayton because it is a place that was very welcoming to people from all different walks of life from the very beginning.  The great graduation rate and 100% job placement after graduation was a plus, too!
  • Research interests: Disproportionate academic and behavioral outcomes for black students, and the impact of black male school psychologists.
Tim Duncan
  • About me: After interviewing at many schools around the Ohio area, I realized that UD was the best fit for me. My favorite part about the program is the staff. All of the professors are professional but also incredibly down-to-earth. More importantly, they are willing to go out of their way to see you be successful. As a first year student, you get to shadow alongside school psychologists in the area and see what it's like to be in their shoes. This has been an amazing experience for me, and I feel like I have already created valuable relationships with professionals in the field. If you are thinking about applying to the University of Dayton, do it. It has been the best decision I have ever made.
  • Research interests: School-based drug prevention and school-based mental health services.
Annie Justice
  • About me: My favorite part about the School Psychology program at the University of Dayton are the real world experiences you get from the first semester. Within the first few weeks as a student, you are able to go out into the schools and shadow school psychologists! I chose to come to UD because of the strong sense of community I felt from the moment I stepped on campus. The faculty and your peers are doing everything they can to help you succeed.
  • Research Interests: Anxiety and gifted students.
Emily Mosca
  • About me: I serve as president of School Psychologists of the University of Dayton (SPUD), and as the student representative for the Ohio School Psychologists Association (OSPA). I'm also a Graduate Assistant, where I assist a school psychologist in a local school district. I chose UD’s program because of the practicum that begins the first semester, and its focus on counseling and mental health. The professors were also eager to work with me on GA placement, because of my commute from Columbus. My favorite parts of the program are the hands-on experiences in local school districts, our caring professors and developing friendships with the peers in my cohort.
  • Research interests: Restraint and seclusion policies.
Katie Pfeifer

About me: I chose UD's program because of the amazing faculty, the opportunity to get into schools during my first semester, and the chance to conduct a thesis. My favorite part of the program is getting to work with such amazing professors and being able to take part in group discussion in each one of my classes. Everyone is so smart, kind, and knowledgeable. I love going to class each day and learn something new. This is, by far, the best decision I have ever made!

Research interests: Successful Implementation of Social Emotional Learning Programs, particularly in high schools, Social Justice and School Psychology, School-Based Mental Health.

Lauren Smith
  • About me: The first reason I chose UD is because I was looking for a program with faculty that cared about me as a person. From the time I began UD’s School Psychology program, I could tell that the professors genuinely care about each student and want to make sure that we are successful both in the program and in life in general. The second reason I chose UD, is the faculty focus on training students in all models of school psychology. Whether students end up in a school that utilizes MTSS, or in a more traditional role, we are prepared to serve our districts well.
  • Research interests: How we can expand services from school, to home, to the community, etc. so that all systems are working together for the benefit of the student(s). Specifically, for my thesis I am exploring the experiences of the biological children of foster parents and what schools can do to meet their academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs as a result of their experiences.
Elizabeth Staley
  • About me: I chose the University of Dayton’s School Psychology program because the part-time option allows me to continue my education while still working full-time and raising my family. I have enjoyed the real-world experiences that began with the first semester of the program. All of the program faculty are very supportive, which speaks to their commitment to student success.
  • Research interests: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (withdraw syndrome associated mainly from opioids) and other prenatal in-utero drug exposure could potentially impact cognitive, motor, and language development. I strongly believe that it is important to serve the Dayton community, especially as we navigate how to move forward from the heroin epidemic.
Kristina Steidl
  • About me: While applying to different school psychology programs in Ohio and surrounding states, I quickly noticed the sense of community I felt at UD was much stronger than at any other schools I applied to. I have loved becoming a part of this tight-knit community, and I always know my professors and classmates have my back. I also feel so fortunate that our program offers a study abroad opportunity, and I’m so excited to travel to Costa Rica with some of my classmates!
  • Research interests: School-based mindfulness interventions.

School Psychology Program

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2962