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PSY790: intro

May 28, 2021
Brenda I. Belcher

Hello everyone!  If you’re in this class, you’ve made it to the end.  It’s been a long journey, but well worth it.  I am extremely excited for this semester.  It’s been a bumpy road, but one that will eventually lead to success.  Enjoy the ride and remember…the finish line is just ahead!


My name is Crystal Berry.  I’m 37 years old and the proud mother of an 11 (almost 12) year-old human and a 4 year old bulldog.  I love my daughter with all of my heart but the pre-teen is strong with that one so as of this moment, I’m favoring the bulldog.  My concentration is in Industrial Organizational Psychology.  Psychology in general has been a major of my life for just about as long as I can remember.  I worked at a book store when I was in High School.  Since I was more focused on boys than I was on books, the owner suggested that I pick out a new book to read each week.  The first book that I chose was A Child Called It.  Needless to say, I was hooked.  From that moment on, I knew that I wanted to help people.  When I graduated high school I had planned to go for a degree in psychology.  When I realized that a psychology degree would require an abundance of math, I changed my mind and decided to major in Education (Yes, it’s a pretty ridiculous to change the course of your life to avoid math, but I was 18 so don’t judge too harshly).  When I turned 21,  I secured a job as a counselor at a local residential treatment facility for abused and neglected youth.  I absolutely LOVED it.  I would like to say that as I grew older my mindset regarding math changed but, my Bachelor’s degree in Special Education would disagree.  The universe was on my side as I was able to use my SPED degree to continue working in mental health.  After working in several group homes, I tried my hand at community based counseling.  During this venture, I was promoted to Clinical Supervisor.  Working as a supervisor for a mental health agency opened the door which lead to my current path in I/O Psychology.  It took me 10 years after getting my Bachelor’s to decide what I really wanted to do with my life.  I loved psychology, but I also loved the aspect of business.  I couldn’t decide on a major that struck me enough to want to pursue my Master’s until I came across a description for I/O Psychology.  The description alone reeled me in and I literally applied for grad school that same day.  Fast forward to a year and a half later….and here I am.  I have let go of my anxieties surrounding math.  Enough so that I am currently a SPED teacher with the primary role of….wait for it….math learning support.  I have a 4.0 GPA and I am doing things with my life that I never even thought possible.  Pretty awesome right?

Capstone Project Topic

Whew, this is a tough one.  I have been non stop thinking about this since last semester and I think that I have finally found the research route that I want to pursue.  However, PLEASE feel free to tell me if you think this could be a disaster.  I am all ears.  With that said, I am considering focusing my research proposal on veterans with PTSD.  Overdone right?  Well, I thought of that so I decided to put a spin on it.  There is a ton of research related to veteran PTSD and how PTSD symptoms can be triggered by certain noises, phrases, experiences, etc.  However, I want to flip that and delve into the other side.  Rather than focusing on what triggers PTSD symptoms, I think it would be beneficial to focus research on symptoms triggered by PTSD.  The primary research question that I have been considering is:  How does PTSD in war veterans affect levels of insecurity?  More specifically, does a combat veteran experience higher levels of insecurity within their job, parenting, and relationship roles than individuals without war experience?  If so, to what degree does PTSD heighten insecurities?  I initially thought about doing this topic on individuals with PTSD in general, but I felt that this may be a little too broad and unspecific.  Eventually, I decided to focus my population group on war veterans due to first hand experience.  No, I have not been to war – but I live with someone who has (veteran Marine).  My boyfriend has been through 3 tours in Iraq and his insecurities are through the roof (to say the least).  While talking to my best friend about it, she described very similar issues within her own relationship and described ways that insecurities have presented barriers for her husband (Army veteran).  I then spoke with my cousin and she also went on to describe very similar experiences and observations with her husband (Army veteran).  All three men have difficulties with maintaining job stability and exhibit distrust within their relationships / friendships / parenting roles.  Seeing these connections, I thought to myself “What if there is a much bigger correlation to be found?”.  I believe that research in this area of focus can be beneficial on a multitude of levels.  If done correctly, this research could provide insight into the potential correlation between veterans and job performance issues (specifically retention of veterans) and could be utilized to train employers on ways to prevent veteran turnover.  This research could also be utilized to enhance counseling efforts for veterans as the knowledge gained throughout this project could be assistive to the development of new methods for treatment planning by encouraging mental health professionals to concentrate on the variety of barriers that veterans experience in their personal lives post combat involvement, rather than focusing solely on the symptoms associated with the general diagnosis of PTSD.  

I am open to thoughts and suggestions, but above all else – I hope that you have an AMAZING semester!  Eye on the prize 🙂

Hello Class,

My name is Joseph Hill and I am so glad to finally be in the Capstone for this degree! I am from Georgia, but I went to Penn State for undergrad. I currently am working with children with autism in the Applied Behavioral Analysis field. I know you’re wondering why I am getting this degree if I’m in that field but it’s all apart of the plan. I just love working with children who have autism. 

The topic I would like to discuss for my final paper would be on how the justice system handled the pandemic, to be more specific the ethical treatment of convicts who were incarcerated during the pandemic. My target audience would be the convicts who were incarcerated during that specific time vs. convicts who were incarcerated before the pandemic. I would like to compare the two and see if there is a difference in treatment of these individuals and if safety precautions were actually put into place following the CDC guidelines. This information may be hard to find but I think it would be an interesting investigation. 

Research Questions

Were safety precautions actually being enforced in the prison system?

Were inmates being treated ethically or were they  in close quarters without CDC guidelines being followed?

Did the virus reach the prison system at all?

Hey everyone! I’m Carly and I currently live in Oklahoma. I’m married and have 3 kids (8, 4, and 1). I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 5 years and love it. I definitely have a lot on my plate right now. My husband is a truck driver and is gone 1-3 months at a time so it’s been really challenging adjusting to him being gone so much. It’s hard on the kids as well. I graduated from SNHU in 2018 with my BA in Forensic Psychology. After I graduated and started searching for jobs, I realized that most jobs required a higher degree so I decided to further my career. I’m pursuing my Master’s in Psychology with a concentration in Child and Developmental Psychology, and this is my last class before I graduate. I’m really excited and so ready.

I wanted to focus my project on suicide in children and adolescents. This is a really serious and important topic because suicide is the number 2 cause of death in children, adolescents, and young adults (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2018). There are many reasons why a child or adolescent might attempt suicide. Studies have shown that most children and adolescents who attempt suicide have underlying mental health disorders, typically depression. Other reasons may include the child’s environment, social media, lack of steady parental figures in their life, identity issues, family history of suicide attempts, issues with attention and hyperactivity, or feelings of sadness or anger (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2018). When a child exhibits some of the signs mentioned above, it can have a huge impact on their lives as they get older. For example, if a child is struggling with self-worth or identity issues and they aren’t addressed or treated by a professional, they might continue to have those issues and may try multiple suicide attempts as they get older. In my opinion, suicide is something that needs to be addressed and talked about more at home, in schools, and should be taken more seriously. As for an audience, I was thinking about professionals in the school system. I’m open for more ideas though. Possible research questions I came up with include: How school affects children/adolescents in suicide decisions? Or The prevalence between suicide and mental health in children/adolescents in the school system.

Hi, am Grace Kayiwa. Currently unemployed but God has been faithful to us, but before that I trained parents behavior modification strategies for them and their children that have autism. I am very passionate about the welfare of children, my mission to protect and advocate for them extends past the work day to my day to day life. I have two children of my own, which enables me to be more devoted to making the word a better place by helping one family at a time. 

For my capstone project, the topic will be family dynamics and their effects on growth and development. This topic will be able to help me explore family conditions that affect development. The target audience would be parents, grand parents and anyone that is planning to become a parent. I am sure most parents what the best for their children, once they know what is best and damaging to  for their child’s development, they will act accordingly.

Possible research questions.

How do family dynamics affect child growth and development?

Are mental health problems associated with the family structure?

What can parents and families do to provide a conducive environment that promotes healthy physical and mental development?


Hello Everyone. My name is Diamond Newton; I currently live in New York City. I am a 25-year-old and currently working as a store manager in New York City. My concentration is organizational and industrial psychology. In my career, I have applied psychological principles and research methods to enhance the general work atmosphere, such as performance, communication, professional fulfillment, and wellbeing. My focus has been on helping workers who feel unmotivated on how they can improve their performance, become satisfied with their jobs, develop efficient communication skills, and embrace the team spirit. This career has enabled me to learn so much than the psychology class alone, and I will always be happy about this fact. I am currently working on acquiring my master’s in “Organizational and Industrial Psychology” to carry on with my excellent work and help other people.


For my capstone project, I will be focusing on the strategies of ensuring employee motivation that does not incorporate monetary rewards. This has been of interest to me since I experienced motivation issues during my early years of work before getting to a higher position. Strategies of “non-financial rewards” have been considered as essential aspects in boosting employees’ self-confidence, as well as helping them acquire self-actualization and also make them adopt the feeling of job security (Holt, Pearson, Carr, & Barnett, 2017). The target audience for this project will be the employers and employees of various organizations worldwide, especially the employers or managers who are unable to motivate their workers without incorporating money rewards or increasing workers’ wages. Knowledge and application of motivation techniques are highly significant and can make a difference in employee performance which in turn yields good results for companies. Before I got to the store manager position, I was a young employee, and it was my first time working as a store attendant. I was less motivated because of the poor communication and reduced levels of engagement in the store, which created a toxic atmosphere to work. Many workers were also leaving for other companies because of these issues. I can only imagine how motivated we could have been in the right strategies were implemented by the management. The likely study question is: “List and discusses how to motivate employees without raising their payments.” 

Hello, my name is Lindsay Kirkpatrick.  My background in psychology is I have a bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in sociology.  I have also been working at an inpatient behavioral health unit for almost 3 years now.   This job has taught me so much more than psychology classes alone have, and I will forever be grateful for this fact. I am working on getting my masters so I can continue to do good In this world and help others.  

Possible Capstone Topic

 The topic I was thinking of in regard to my Capstone paper is looking at OCD and the association with Being diagnosed with an eating disorder.  This has something that has always been of interest for me since I personally have dealt with both these issues in my life.  The audience would be those who work in facilities associated with eating disorders and OCD.  Also, those who research these topics would find this helpful as well.  A possible research question I could use is if someone is diagnosed OCD, is there a high chance one could develop an eating disorder? I also might want to focus on the similarities in these two mental disorders, along with go in depth in the symptoms associated.  I am open to suggestions on how to better pinpoint a true research question regarding this topic.


Hello everyone! My name is Courtney and I currently live in California. I am 31 years old and I currently work as a case manager at an adult mental health clinic. I work with client who are dual diagnosis with a mental health and substance abuse diagnosis. I have had the experience of working both inpatient and outpatient in our county’s system of care for behavioral health.  I enjoy my time in community mental health but I would like to explore mental health within the school setting, which is way I chose child development as my concentration for my masters in psychology.  Although, obtaining a master is impressive, I am finding that most schools within my county’s district ask for an MFT or a MSW for their mental health clinician/behavioral support positions. Therefore, I recently have decided to explore and apply for an MFT program. I believe an MFT would open doors for me to work within any setting, whether that’s within the schools or staying within the mental health setting or even in a medical hospital setting. When I am not stressing over my career choice, work, or school, I am a volleyball coach for a club team within my town, which I enjoy a great deal.


 I have a growing interest for mental health within the school setting and because of that I want to look at depression or anxiety within the school setting. Children spent a good majority of their time at school when not at home. School is a space for a child to learn, grow, and develop. Research shows 10–20% of children and adolescents have a mental health problem of some sort, such as attention deficits, cognitive disturbances, lack of motivation, and negative mood which adversely affect scholastic development (Schulte-Korne, 2016). Therefore, if a child is struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness it could have significant interference in a child’s ability to flourish. National Alliance on Mental Illness (2021), reports that in 2019 only 15% of adolescents report receiving mental illness through school versus the 17% who see providers outside of school. Mental health services could be delivered from trained mental professionals. Effective mental health services within the school would help increase access for services for mental health. There are so many factors that can contribute to one not receiving adequate mental health services such as insurance, transportation to apt, schedule conflict, etc.

My topic may be a little vague or even board so please, please any suggestions are welcome. I think the key is to focus on one mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. I could address bullying and social media. Or the implementation of mental health programs to detach early signs and prevention of death by suicide. Or just address the overall need for implementation of mental health within the school setting. Our district has been increasing programs and the hiring of mental health profession. Our districts have any started hiring substance abuse counselors. I think this is important and I really hope they continue to move in that direction.  

Lastly, Happy Mental Health Awareness Month.


       Hi everyone! My name is Sarah, and I am 24 years old living in Massachusetts. I graduated from Curry College in Milton, MA with my bachelor’s in psychology. I am now in my last semester working towards my master’s in Industrial and Organizational psych. After I graduated from my undergrad, I knew that I wanted to go to grad school and continue my education, but I could not decide what path I wanted to go down. About 6 months after graduating, in my research for what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (no pressure, right?) I came across I/O psych and immediately knew it was what I wanted to do.

       Outside of school I work in insurance and underwriting operations at a wealth management company. I have been there for about a year and working from home the entirety of my employment! It wasn’t the easiest transition, but right now I am happy with where I am and what I am doing. I live with my boyfriend and our two dogs (Thor is 8 and Stark is 5 months) and our cat Fantasia (also 8). In normal times I love to travel, be with my friends, and hang with my family.

Capstone Project

       The idea I have been exploring for the project has to do with workplace stress and coping mechanisms. Stress in the workplace is a major concern for most effective organizations when left unresolved because it can lead to both temporary and/or long-term issues for both the company and the employee (APA, 2011). I would like to look into coping mechanisms, how people deal with their stress, and how differences such as gender, age, and race can affect said coping mechanisms.

       I/O psychologists study and assess individual, group and organizational dynamics in the workplace and apply this research to identify solutions to problems that improve the well-being and performance of organizations and their employees. This is important to me because while I am happy with where I am at my job right now, there are some major stressors that I have never run into before. I am new on my career path and have not had to deal with some of the stress triggers in other jobs and try to find ways to cope and alleviate my stress. Not to mention, the entirety of my job has been during Covid so this has added unpredicted stress as well. Knowing that there are others out there who are experiencing the same stress as me makes me wonder about specifics and how I/O psychology can help in reducing workplace stress and anxiety.


American Psychological Association. (2011). Stress in the workplace. APA.             https://www.apa.org/topics/healthy-workplaces/workplace-stress


Greetings everyone! My name is Alex Franklin, but I go by “Franklin”. A lifetime of sports can lead to some strange nicknames, but let’s just stick with “Franklin” for now…

I am working on my Masters so that I can get the heck out of retail as soon as humanly possible and actually start doing some good in this world. I am very much a goober who likes to keep things informal (when appropriate) and just enjoy life. That being said, if I respond to any of your posts with a light-hearted demeanor, know that it is simply me trying to keep the situation fun yet productive, and that I mean no disrespect or anything of that sort. I have nothing but the most respect for those of us who are making the intentional effort to better ourselves so we may better the lives of others! With that said, let’s go have some fun‼

Focus for Capstone Project

For my project this term, I intend to somehow incorporate evolutionary theories, leadership theories, & motivational theories, and have them applied to real-world settings to help “leaders” in their jobs become genuine and effective Leaders, both in their jobs and within their lives. It is my opinion that the lessons & skills learned from leadership can positively impact a person’s life in almost every aspect. For example, if a manager learns how to better motivate their team at work, those same motivational practices can be adapted to help at home getting their kids to clean their rooms. This is a very general example and a gross over-simplification, but it shows how generalizable the skills of a Leader can be. 

As of now, I have no specific inclination to do a research or application project this term. My plan is to allow my literature review either illuminate a vacancy of knowledge in the field which I can then pursue, or I can apply a fully-founded approach to a particular situation to help improve that situation. Again, I recognize the vague nature of these statements, but that is intentional. I have a general end-goal, but I am not too particular with the steps as to how to get to that goal, for the goal is not set in stone quite yet. The significant players and stakeholders will be determined once I am able to clarify my end-goal after the literature review. Additionally, the specifics of the research/application questions will be established once the end-goal is clarified. 

Potential References 

If you guys have any sources that you believe relate to any of my topics or theories vaguely mentioned above, please send them my way! (My phone# and email will be at the end of this post.) I download PDF versions of all my sources, so if I have anything I believe could be helpful to any of you, I will surely do the same for you guys‼ After all, we are all in this academic journey together for at least the next couple months. 

Good luck to us all, and let’s go better the world!


Hi class, I’m Danielle. In my day-to-day life, I am an ABA therapist for kiddos with ASD at a school in Boston, MA. I work from home due to the pandemic, which means I get to spend all day with my four adorable cats. My concentration is child and developmental psychology. In my career, I have utilized cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and applied behavior analysis that focus on trauma, mental disorders, and cognitive disorders.  My focus has been helping others’ development of coping skills, de-escalation strategies, mindfulness, and self-compassion for both adults who are diagnosed with schizophrenia and PTSD, as well as children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, PTSD, bipolar disorder I and II, borderline personality disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Although much of my career has focused on abnormal psychology, in the future, I plan to get my marriage and family therapy (MFT) degree.

Capstone Project

For my capstone project, I am focusing on ABA therapy and how it can affect children with autism spectrum disorder. Early intervention strategies involving ABA have shown to be significantly effective for increasing prosocial behavior and decreasing struggles in academic environments (Irwin & Axe, 2019). The target audience for this project will be professionals working within schools. Knowledge and implementation of ABA within schools is extremely important, and can mean the difference of an effective education for a child with ASD. Before I started working at the school I’m at now, a student with ASD went 7 years without ABA therapy, and when I began working with them, their level of academic achievement improved drastically. I can only imagine where this student would be academically if they were provided with the accommodations that they needed sooner. Experiencing this situation with my student woke me up to the fact that there are so many more of these cases out there where students aren’t being given an equitable education due to a lack of resources. Of course, schools are lacking more resources than just ABA services, but for this project I am choosing to focus on how professionals implementing ABA services can help students with ASD gain access to an improved education. Possible research questions include: “How is ABA therapy different from other behavioral interventions?” “Who can benefit from ABA services?” “What does ABA therapy help with?” “How does ABA therapy help development?” “What evidence is there to support ABA’s efficacy?” 


Hello everyone!

My name is Kyrie Bledsoe. This is the last class before I complete the Masters in Psychology with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development program. I am currently a middle school English Language Arts and Reading teacher. I am also the 8th grade Reading Interventionist, and 7th and 8th grade Dyslexia Interventionist. I decided to pursue a masters degree in Psychology, because I feel like the best way to help my students academically is by understanding where they are at developmentally.

In addition to teaching, my husband is active duty and we have two children. Because of my career in education and my lifestyle in the military I would like to focus my capstone project on the impact of moving on the development and academics, both positive and negative. I have seen resilience in military kids despite their nomadic lifestyle. I have also seen a lot of struggle. I would like to research what kinds of support are in place and what the impact is of those research backed supports.

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