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Dr. Maria Wong is an Associate Professor of Psychology specializing in developmental psychology. She teaches PSY 108 Human Growth and Development, PSY 201 Writing for Psychology, and PSY 136 Statistics for Behavioral and Social Sciences. Her approach to teaching is greatly shaped by her experiences being a Chinese American woman and having a multicultural background.

Dr. Wong’s Background

Dr. Wong was born and raised in Hong Kong but moved to Canada with her family where she completed her last year of high school and college. During her time as an undergraduate student, she volunteered to be a research assistant and became interested in cultural psychology and child development. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree, she moved to the United States for graduate school. While in grad school, Dr. Wong was given the opportunity to be a teaching assistant and an instructor. She received her PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Dr Wong with RA 

Dr. Wong and her research assistants Stephanie Charney and Kelsey Krupski. They surprised her one day with a trophy that says "The Best Professor, Mentor, Advisor, and Overall Person."

Dr Wong trophy

Dr. Wong’s Teaching and Research

Due to PSY 108 and PSY 201 as required courses for our psychology majors, many students know and love Dr. Wong. I have had the pleasure to be taught by her in PSY 201, work alongside her as a student assistant, and complete a teaching assistantship under her supervision. Her caring and positive personality made me so eager to learn and work with her. I can happily say she made my transition to Stevenson from community college wonderful!

Psychology Major Olivia Webb is currently taking PSY 108 with Dr. Wong. She states that Dr. Wong is full of positivity and great at explaining complicated concepts. In addition, she notes Dr. Wong keeps the class really interesting by including activities that connect the concepts being learned to real life.

Stephanie Charney has been working as one of Dr. Wong’s research assistants for the past year and states that it has been an irreplaceable experience. Dr. Wong has taught her a lot about reviewing literature, thinking critically, analyzing data, and writing effectively for large scale research projects. She offers research assistants the perfect balance of guidance and freedom when giving assignments, which students are always appreciative of.

Sarah Goranson has worked closely with Dr. Wong for all four years she has attended Stevenson. When she was a freshman, she approached Dr. Wong stating she was interested in Developmental Psychology, and Dr. Wong offered her a research assistant position. Sarah has presented a poster with Dr. Wong at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference and is currently revising a manuscript that has been accepted for publication.

In sum, Dr. Wong has shaped students experience as they work towards their undergraduate degree. Her lively approach to teaching is something that grabs her students' attention and makes them very eager to learn. Her caring demeanor is something that does not go unnoticed, and as I’m sure many students can agree, Dr. Wong is an excellent instructor!

By: Makaylah Morton

For most students, the history of how the Psychology department came to be may be a mystery. To find out more, I interviewed Dr. Dyer Bilgrave to gather some details about what our department was like as it transitioned from Villa Jullie College (VJC) to Stevenson University in 2008. Among all the current faculty members, Dr. Bilgrave is the most knowledgeable about this piece of history since he has been teaching here for more than 30 years!

Dr. Bilgrave and Makaylah Morton 1

Dr. Bilgrave and Makaylah Morton

To my surprise, Psychology was not available as a major early on. According to Dr. Bilgrave, prior to 1995, VJC only offered about 8 psychology courses as a part of its general education curriculum. The college was unable to offer a Psychology major because the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) was concerned that it would merely be a replication of the programs offered at other colleges. Interestingly, MHEC later approved the Psychology program and the major “Liberal Arts and Technology-Computer Option- Psychology Focus” was created. The last student from this track graduated in 2002.

In 1997, MHEC finally gave VJC permission to develop a full fledge Psychology major! Dr. Bilgrave and Dr. Nancy Sherman designed a curriculum and Psychology became one of the majors being offered. In 2002, Dr. Bilgrave was appointed as the department chair for Psychology. He guided the department to create a curriculum with clear and well-articulated goals and objectives that aligned with the undergraduate Psychology standards created by the American Psychological Association (APA). The Psychology department leadership has also changed a few times over the years. It went from Dr. Bilgrave (2002-2005) to Dr. Michele Lewis (2005-2006), to Dr. Barbra Smith (2006-2010), and to Dr. Jeffrey Elliott (2010-present).

Fast forward to the present day, our department chair Dr. Elliott has worked extensively to update the curriculum to align with the APA guidelines. The department has flourished over the years and now consists of 6 full-time faculty members (each with a Ph.D.), 22 adjunct faculty, 187 majors, and 42 minors.

Although it has taken the Psychology department some time to make its debut, it offers not only a strong flexible curriculum, but many opportunities (e.g., research, field placement, internships) to help students achieve their goals and dreams. I am proud to be part of it.

SU Psychology

Students working in the Psychology Department area on a Monday morning. We have created a close-knit community!

By Makaylah Morton

Psychology professors regularly select students to serve as a Peer Teaching Assistant (PTA) in some of the courses that they teach, including PSY 136- Statistics for Behavioral and Social Science, PSY 201- Writing for Psychology, PSY 262- Social Psychology, PSY 261- Biological Psychology, and PSY 343- Research Methods-Data Analysis II.

What exactly does a PTA do? Although the duties of PTAs differ slightly for each course, it is relatively common for PTAs to attend every class, take attendance, hold office hours, lecture or lead discussion, and perform office duties such as print, copy, and send emails. In addition, PTAs may also be available to serve as tutors to ensure students are staying up to date with their assignments and preparing well for exams.

What can students gain by serving as a PTA? Being a PTA allows students to build working relationships with their Psychology professors, which is especially important if students are planning to attend graduate school. For a lot of graduate programs, having teaching experiences will enhance your chance of getting in.

Alicia Hughart, Senior Psychology Major and Active Minds president, took part in being a PTA for PSY 262- Social Psychology where she worked inside and outside of the classroom. Alicia utilized being a PTA for field placement credit, in which she worked alongside Dr. Schurtz to create conceptual exams, review students’ papers, and even conduct lectures. Due to her completing this assistantship for field placement credit, she is required to create a poster presentation that she will present in May. Completing this poster and presenting it provides students with professional presentation experiences that they can add to their CVs!

Alicia and Dr Schurtz

Alicia Hughart and Dr. Schurtz

For me as a Junior Psychology major, I am currently completing a teaching assistantship alongside with Dr. Wong for PSY 201- Writing in Psychology. My duties consist of facilitating class discussions, reading student’s papers, working with students inside and outside of the classroom to ensure they are understanding empirical articles, and completing various office tasks. During my time as a PTA through field placement credit, my relationship with Dr. Wong has strengthened, I was able to achieve my personal goals, and I truly believe I gained essential interpersonal skills I can utilize as I continue my undergraduate degree.

Makaylah and Dr Wong

Makaylah Morton and Dr. Wong

In sum, if you are completing a course that currently has a PTA and you are interested in becoming one, talk to your professor and inquire about the duties expected. Ensuring you are working hard in your course, receiving a good grade, and participating in class discussion is a great way to set yourself apart to be offered such position!

By: Makaylah Morton

Stevenson University offers a unique Bachelor’s to Masters option that allows students to save tuition and complete their education in a shorter period of time. The GPA requirement is a 3.0 and a minimum of 60 credits must be completed prior to applying. Students must apply during the first semester of their junior year and are eligible to take graduate level classes once 75 credits have been completed. This program is online which allows it to be flexible with outside obligations such as other classes or work. Psychology students working towards their Bachelor’s degree can utilize this shorter time frame education experience depending on their area of personal and professional interest.

SUO

Options for Psychology majors include:

Communications Studies is essentially mastering the science of communication. Many professionals want to enhance their communication skills. By completing a Master’s in Communications Studies, many new opportunities can be unlocked. This program may appeal to those interested in Industrial and Organization Psychology because students will be able to gain skills in evaluating and creating solutions to conflicts that occur in organizations. In addition, students who attain their Master of Science in Communication Studies will be equipped in strategies to create cohesive communications across differing cultural, social, and business settings.

Community-Based Education & Leadership is designed to create highly-qualified professionals to teach, lead, and manage informal education settings. A Master’s in Community-Based Education & Leadership (CBEL) can appeal to Psychology majors interested in working with children and teaching in a non-formal setting. This program produces leaders for nonprofit organizations, athletic coaching, youth development, and leadership in the greater community. Students interested in completing a Master’s in CBEL will have the ability to hone in on skills related to STEM, cognitive and emotional development, and research driven decision making. A 15-credit certificate is also offered.

Crime Scene Investigation is a great option for students who wish to learn about the integration of science and law. The media and popular culture have increased the awareness of forensic evidence among potential jurors to such an extreme that there is now an expectation that forensic evidence must contribute to all trials. Due to this culture shift, more forensic science technicians are needed to provide timely forensic information to law enforcement agencies and courts. The Crime Scene Investigation program provides students with the skills to evaluate crime scenes and select the appropriate steps to be followed in documenting, collecting, preserving, and processing evidence. The program trains professionals to process forensic evidence and report their findings in an ethical manner for the purpose of effectively communicating those findings in a courtroom setting. An 18-credit certificate is also available.

Forensic Investigation could be a great fit for Psychology majors interested in the social aspects of forensics or criminal justice. A Master of Science in Forensic Investigation prepares students to collect physical data and conduct interviews for the purpose of synthesizing the results for court testimony. In addition, students are prepared for careers that provide them with the ability to communicate findings, analysis, and conclusions. Potential positions for graduates range from Police Detective, to Federal Bureau of Investigation, to Special Agent. At the state and local level, Forensic Investigators usually specialize in one type of crime. An 18-credit certificate is also offered.

Forensic Studies is a similar program to Forensic Investigation but contains a broader range of experience. Students will learn the skills necessary to conduct investigations and examine evidence for the purpose of presenting their findings in legal proceedings. A Master of Science in Forensic Studies is ideal for students interested in more than one area within forensics and who wish to develop more general knowledge in forensics. Potential career opportunities include forensic accounting, digital investigation, and many other areas requiring forensic expertise such as FBI analyst or profiler.

Healthcare Management equips students with the leadership and management competencies that are critical in the healthcare industry. Students can select from two concentrations based on their personal interests and career aspirations: Quality Management and Patient Safety or Project Management. Students and graduates of Stevenson University Online’s Healthcare Management master’s programs have advanced their careers within the industry at hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician practices, insurance companies, medical technology and device companies, and nonprofit healthcare-related organizations.

If you are currently a Psychology Major with less than 60 credits and want to further look into these programs, the tuition, or the specific courses offered, visit the Academics section on Stevenson University’s website or contact Stevenson University Online’s Director of Admissions, Amanda Millar at 443-334-3334.

By: Makaylah Morton

Dr. Dyer Bilgrave has been teaching at Stevenson University (once Villa Julie) for over 30 years. He is loved by many students and is known as the “counseling sequence professor” who provides a hands-on approach to the learning of counseling skills.

Dr. Bilgrave and Makaylah Morton

Makaylah Morton interviewing Dr. Bilgrave

Surprisingly, Dr. Bilgrave did not take a straightforward route going from college to graduate school in becoming a college professor. During his undergraduate years, Dr. Bilgrave had three major interests: religion, counseling psychology, and acting/theater. He spent one year studying religion at Pendle Hill, which is a Quaker study center located in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. After completing his Master’s degree in ministry, he focused on pursuing his interest in psychology and obtained not one, but two Master’s degrees in psychology-related areas. Lastly, Dr. Bilgrave attained a Master’s degree in fine arts and acting. In brief, he was able to pursue all three of his interests through master’s degrees.

Dr. Bilgrave began working at Ville Julie College during his early 30s to teach theater and communications (not psychology!). During this time, he discovered that psychology was the most interesting to him and decided to go back to school for a Doctorate degree at UMBC. As time passed, he slowly transitioned to teaching psychology courses. In 2002, he became a full-time psychology professor. He has also served as the department chair from 2002 to 2005. For the past years, Dr. Bilgrave has been teaching the counseling sequence (PSY 230-Basic Counseling Skills, PSY 340- Advance Counseling Skills, PSY 341- Counseling Theories, and PSY 306-Counseling Lab), all of which are heavily skill-oriented. In addition, he has his own private practice where he sees about 12 clients per week.

As I interviewed Dr. Bilgrave, I found his broad education background very inspiring. Being an undergraduate student, I often find myself having so many interests that I want to pursue but am often worry that I may stray away from what is important. It is very reassuring to know that it is possible to study multiple areas of interest with hard work and a growth-oriented mindset.

Dr. Bilgrave recently announced that he would retire at the end of the Spring 2019 semester. For his colleagues and his students, they can admire all his remarkable work that has been done throughout the years and use it as motivation to keep the Psychology department the best. Anakay Alexander, a Junior Psychology major, has taken 4 courses with Dr. Bilgrave. She said he is very caring and made it a priority to learn every student’s names within the first few classes. In addition, she noted that he always took time to make sure students understood the material by providing a plethora of real-world examples. Lastly, she pointed out that if students did not understand something, he would go back and further explain to make sure everyone had a thorough understanding of the material.

Dr. Bilgrave will be very missed but his amazing contributions to the department will always be remembered!

By: Makaylah Morton

 
 
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