Julie Koch2017 Rising Alumni

Julie Koch

Julie Koch is Associate Professor and Interim Head of the newly created School of Applied Health and Educational Psychology at Oklahoma State University. Her research focuses on school counseling, training of psychologists, and social justice. Along with a strong record of teaching, Julie is known as a helpful mentor, and offers pro bono counseling to transgender clients, schools and domestic abuse agencies. In 2015, she was a Fulbright scholar to Mongolia, where she applied her expertise in gender identity issues to assist the LBGT community there.


Associate Professor and Interim Head of the School of Applied Health and Educational Psychology, Oklahoma State University

CEHD Degree

Ph.D., Educational Psychology, 2008

Please list any professional accomplishments you wish to mention.

I have been appointed as Head of the School of Community Health Sciences, Counseling, and Counseling Psychology, beginning in April. I am currently Interim Head of the School of Applied Health and Educational Psychology, and I served as Training Director of the APA-accredited Counseling Psychology program at Oklahoma State for several years. I serve our national organization, the American Psychological Association, as a representative to the International Psychology Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, and as the Continuing Education Chair for the Society of Counseling Psychology. I am a past Board member of the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs.

Please list any past or current volunteer activities.

I provide pro bono counseling services to transgender clients who live in rural Oklahoma.

I frequently provide professional development training at no cost to local agencies in Oklahoma such as Wings of Hope Domestic Violence Agency.

I consult with schools related to crisis intervention, school counseling, and other issues.

Please list any awards or honors from your collegiate, professional, or volunteer experiences.

OSU Outstanding Graduate Coordinator Award, 2014

American Psychological Association Presidential Citation for "dedication to the professional development and training of psychologists," 2014

Early Career Professional Supervisor/Trainer Award from the Society of Counseling Psychology Section on Supervision and Training, 2014

Fulbright Specialist to Mongolia, 2015p

OSU Regents Distinguished Teaching Award, 2016

OSU Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award, 2016

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

I had an old, very ugly, lavender down coat from my Great Aunt Sallie that she bought around 1980. My family gave it to me when I moved to Minnesota "just in case." And sure enough, I broke it out several weeks each winter – it didn't matter how ugly it was, it was SO warm, and walking forever from the parking lot to the campus, I needed it!

I also loved Goldie Gopher and still have my Goldie keychain, backpack, and tshirts!

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in CEHD?

I had wonderful professors who I still stay in touch with. Kay Herting Wahl, John Romano, Tom Skovholt, Pat McCarthy Veach, Michael Goh – they all influenced me in different ways. I am the counseling psychologist, professor, and administrator who I am today because of their wonderful mentorship and guidance.

One of the factors that had a huge influence on me was my cohort; I was in a cohort of 6 diverse, brilliant, intelligent women, and we worked together very well. We challenged each other, pushed each other, and supported each other throughout our program.

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

My educational experience at the U, in the Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology program, was invaluable. This program was historically considered one of the strongest Counseling Psychology programs in the nation, and with good reason. I received a lovely balance of rigorous training with an emphasis on self-care; I had faculty mentors who challenged me and supported me; and I was able to gain practical training in research, teaching, and applied counseling psychology work. I am very sad that the CSPP doctoral program is no longer being offered at the U in the CEHD.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

My children! When I started my doctoral program at the U, my kids were 3, 5, and 7. Everyone thought I was crazy. But my children kept me grounded throughout my doctoral work and reminded me to slow down, to laugh, to play in the snow, and to read for fun. They were my "self care" and the source of my resilience. Now, they are 15, 17, and 19, and are budding scientists, researchers, and activists. Their patience with me and my work, their support, and their love inspires me on a daily basis.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

I think that "real life" work skills are crucial. Prior to my academic career, I worked in public schools; I worked in restaurants; I worked in a factory to put myself through college. From these experiences I learned the value of showing up, having a good attitude, and being cooperative. For those in counseling psychology, emotional resilience and the ability to set boundaries are also extremely important. As an administrator, I want to hire faculty who are strong researchers, instructors, and active in service, but also who get along well with others, who are flexible, and who are friendly and collegial - basically what we all learned in kindergarten.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?

I have a huge puppy - she is 75 pounds of white fluff! She is a Great Pyrenees/Lab mix. So usually I am taking her on walks or working on training with her.

I also love to read fiction, since I read so much non-fiction/academic writing at work.

I stay busy keeping up with my three children - they all have different interests and activities!

How do others describe you?

Friendly, warm, resilient, hard-working, persistent, good sense of humor, high expectations for students.

How do you describe yourself?

Probably the same way others would describe me! The older I get, the more my extraversion and introversion are balancing each other out.

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

I always recommend McKeachie's "Teaching Tips" to new faculty. I recommend "The Resilient Practitioner" by Tom Skovholt and Michelle Trotter-Mathison to beginning counseling psychologists.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be?

Nerdiest answer ever: Leonard Nimoy. I'm a huge Star Trek fan and would love to bend his Vulcan ear about how it developed and his role with Star Trek over the years!

What gets you excited about work?

I am SO SO SO excited about being appointed as the Head of the new unit that has been developed within the College of Education here at OSU. It is the School of Community Health Sciences, Counseling, and Counseling Psychology. This includes a Master of Public Health, undergraduate degrees in Health Education and Health Promotion/Prevention, a Master's in Counseling, and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. This unique unit offers opportunities to create new courses and majors for students, new faculty lines, and new partnerships with health organizations at the university and in the community.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a social worker, although I didn't really know what that meant. My dad was an Educational Psychology professor and my mom was a Social Worker. But from an early age, I was "teaching" my stuffed animals with leftover math worksheets my teachers would give me, and I always engaged in helping others - although it took me some time to find my way to Counseling Psychology, it is the perfect fit for me.

Outside of your job, how do you grow professionally?

I love to maintain my friendships and collaborations with colleagues all over the US and the world - folks I have met through work in APA or the Society of Counseling Psychology, or the International network I'm a part of. I also stay in close touch with former students, and these professional relationships contribute to staying current in my field and reminding me why I'm in this field.

What is a "fun fact" about you?

speak Japanese. :) My undergraduate major was Japanese and I lived in Japan for about 18 months. I don't get to use it very often but last summer I was in Japan for a conference and it came back quickly!