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Psychology News

Date: Nov 2020

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Spada and Dr. Popoli for their 10 years of service at the SU Psychology Department. We will be featuring both of them this week. Today, we will be featuring Dr. Spada, who is an Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Dr. Spada

What made you choose Stevenson?

I first saw the job opening and started as an adjunct professor, teaching one session of PSY-101. But after being at Stevenson for about two semesters, I truly started to feel at home and welcomed! It meant a lot to me, especially since I was only an adjunct professor. I never felt like an extra, but a part of the community as a whole.

What qualities about the Psychology Department did you like that drew you to work within it?

I believe that the welcoming community drew me to work within the Department. Everyone works well together in a group, playing off of one another’s strengths. I especially love the diversity among the faculty, as we all have various backgrounds and skill sets. Yet, what ties us together is our support for each other’s ventures! For instance, for my special topics course of Anxiety, Stress, & Relaxation, I proposed the idea of inviting an acupuncturist to the class. Everyone was for it! Receiving support like this builds the comradery among us, which is important to me.

What have been your favorite memories of the department?

My favorite memories always draw back to the experiences that I have been able to have with the students. I sometimes have students who take my courses from semester to semester, so seeing their growth and development as well as being able to know that we have adequately prepared them for the next stage of their life is truly invaluable for me as an educator.

What are some of your memorable contributions?

I have had the opportunity to teach different special topics courses, including an anxiety course, a multicultural psychology course, and a psychology of woman course. I have been able to incorporate a service-learning piece into all of them, which is significant to me as it gives students a chance to contribute to the community, as well as present their findings in the Psychology Showcase! I have also organized a screening of anxiety-related film and panel discussion, with the goal of reducing the stigma behind anxiety as a whole. It was very productive, and we had a great turn out!

What have you learned working in the department?

In the last year and a half, I became a full-time faculty member. From this new experience, I have learned that being a full-time faculty member is a lot more than teaching. I have had to stretch my ideas of what I am capable of doing. Every semester is a learning experience for me, and I have pushed myself to try new things! For instance, I had volunteered to teach Writing in Psychology, and in teaching this course, tried different facets to teach and support my students. In doing so, I have made connections with students, and maintain these connections post-graduation. To see their growth and achievements has been significant.

What are you looking forward to for the future of the department?

I am really looking forward to seeing how the Psychology Department’s new Psy.D. program goes! I believe it will be a great opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in new opportunities for research at all levels.

We commend Dr. Spada for all her hard work and am looking forward to her continuous achievements!

Written by: Semira Nock

Active Minds, a student organization that focuses on empowering students to speak openly about topics related to mental health and overall changing the stigma around mental health, has recently hosted an event on domestic violence.

Active minds flyer

Topics that were discussed that evening included early signs of domestic violence, effects of domestic violence, how to be an ally for those who have experienced domestic abuse, as well as bystander intervention.

Irene Smith

Irene Smith, a domestic abuse attorney with experience working in the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, the Community Law Center in Baltimore, the Maryland Disability Law Center, and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, was the guest speaker at the event. Ms. Smith has represented victims of intimate partner violence in high conflict divorce and custody cases, persons with mental illness in state psychiatric facilities in matters related to civil rights violations, disenfranchised communities, and victims of domestic abuse including physical and sexual assault. Due to her wide range of experiences in domestic abuse cases, she provided the best tips and recommendations when it comes to this topic of domestic abuse.

domestic abuse slide

One important point that Ms. Smith has made during the event was that in an abusive relationship, the abuser often wants the victim to believe that they are powerless, and therefore attempts to control every aspect of the victim’s life. If the victim attempts to take their power back, the abuser tends to be physically or sexually violent towards the victim. Therefore, the victim begins to believe that it is safer to stay in the relationship in order to survive. Understanding these complicated dynamics would allow us to be an ally.

Thank you Ms. Smith and Active Minds for hosting this insightful event! To stay informed with more events from this club, you can follow them on Instagram @activemindssu or email them at

Written by: Semira Nock

Today’s featured student athlete is Samantha Baysic.

Sam Baysic

Samantha is a junior psychology major who also plays as goalkeeper for the Stevenson Women’s Soccer team. Samantha first became involved in soccer at the age of six as her parents signed her up for her local team. Quickly, she grew to love soccer and has been playing ever since!

Sam thumbs up

In terms of her major, Samantha chose psychology because she wanted to pursue a career in mental health. She has friends who have undergone therapy and noticed how beneficial it was for them. She then wanted to become a therapist one day, so that she can help others to restore their mental health.

As she has been maneuvering through this semester, Samantha found that staying motivated and organized was initially not the easiest. However, once she was able to transition back on campus as well as begin training with her soccer team, she was able to regain focus and organization with her assignments and projects. In terms of these assignments, the workload has not been too heavy for her, as she has been able to settle in a steady schedule of when she will get them done, making sure to write down key due dates and other important information. Samantha has been able to push through and receive A’s for her midterm grades! She also realizes how important it is to communicate with her professors outside of the classroom, especially now that everything is online. In doing so, she has been able to learn more about her professors as well as the Psychology Department as a whole!

Sam sunset

With all of the different changes that student athletes have undergone, Samantha wants everyone to know: “You can do this! As student athletes we are used to overcoming obstacles and juggling course work. Just think of this semester as a setback will encourage perseverance and make you stronger in the end.”

Written by: Semira Nock

School Psychology Week

November 9-13 is National School Psychology Week! The theme for 2020, “The Power of Possibility,” highlights the importance of recognizing and nurturing the possibilities for growth and success that exist in in every student. School psychologists do this in a variety of ways:

  • assessing students who are experiencing academic and emotional difficulties to identify their specific needs;
  • supporting students through developing and implementing appropriate academic, social, emotional, and behavioral interventions;
  • working collaboratively with parents, teachers, and other school staff to support student success;
  • and helping to develop school policies that are designed to prevent student difficulties, not just address them after they occur.

School psychology training involves academic classes and applied experiences that focus on developing psychological and educational knowledge and practice skills. Approximately three-quarters of school psychologists hold master’s or specialist-level graduate degrees in school psychology; the other 25% hold doctoral degrees. School psychologists can work in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, and private practice. U.S. News and World Report rates school psychology as #2 in “Best Social Services Jobs”; salaries tend to be higher than average for social services fields overall, and employment prospects for the field are excellent!

If you’d like to learn more about careers in this field, please plan to attend the Psychology Club’s Speaker Series on November 18, 2020 at 5 p.m.; Dr. Mindy Milstein, Adjunct Professor of Psychology at SU, will be discussing school psychology at this event. You can access this meeting at

The following brochures from the National Association of School Psychologists may also be helpful:

Who Are School Psychologists?:

School Psychology: A Career that Makes a Difference:

Finally, you can find additional National School Psychology Week information and resources online by searching the hashtag #SPAW2020 (which refers to “School Psychology Appreciation Week,” the name used to designate this week in previous years).

Happy National School Psychology Week! Believe in the power of YOUR possibility!

Today’s featured student athlete is Emily Wolff!

Emily Wolff

Emily is a junior psychology major as well as a swimmer in the freestyle and butterfly races for the Stevenson Women’s Swimming Team. Hailing from Towson, Maryland, Emily has been swimming in a pool since she was a baby! She has thoroughly enjoyed it from the beginning as it brings her joy and all-around fun! This love for the sport formed her into a competitive swimmer here at Stevenson, as she has participated in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Championship as both a freshman and sophomore. Although COVID-19 has put a halt on Stevenson sports, Emily has been practicing lightly with her swimming team and planning on kicking the season off in the Spring! Although it has been an adjustment of schedule concerning her sport, she is grateful for the opportunity to swim for Stevenson and is looking forward to the next semester.

Emily diving

In terms of schoolwork, this has definitely been an adjustment for Emily. Although she prefers going to in-person classes and having the opportunity to interact with her peers and professors, she has been able to thrive in a different learning environment. For instance, she has become the president of Stevenson’s Mustang Activities and Programming (MAP) Club. Emily ambitious goals for the club and cannot wait until they come to fruition!

Emily butterfly

While student athletes have been adjusting to a lot, Emily provides the tip of taking deep breaths and remembering that everything will come together in the end! She understands that athletes may be upset that they are not able to play their sport, but she suggests putting that same energy into when they are able to play again. In that way, they will be able to start the new season off on a high note. Finally, Emily encourages student athletes, and students alike, to enjoy each day as it comes as well as the little moments!

Written by: Semira Nock

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