Educational Psychology

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Student profiles

Interested in educational psychology? Get to know some of our current students and learn about their experiences in our programs.

Counseling and student personnel psychology

Maya Benford headshot

Maya BenfordMA student, CSPP

"Students are the most exciting part of my work. I am astounded by their intelligence, creativity, and desire to make the world better for others."

Christina Solinger headshot

Christina SolingerMA student, CSPP

"Seeing students build strategies to be successful in schools and empowering them to generate these ideas themselves is an amazing gift."

Aaron Schaper headshot

Aaron SchaperMA student, CSPP

"I have been extremely blessed with the professors our program employs. They each care deeply about each student and want to see them succeed."

Psychological foundations of education

Anthony Schulzentenberg headshot

Anthony SchulzetenbergPhD student, psych foundations

Anthony Schulzetenberg owned a small business for 10 years where he worked with a wide array of professionals in a health setting. He was awarded a national grant he currently uses to better understand the internal struggles in learning and comprehension, particularly within underrepresented college students. Through psychology and research, he is working to narrow the achievement gap in colleges across the country.

Isabel Lopez headshot

Isabel LopezPhD student, psych foundations

Isabel Lopez, PhD student in the psychological foundations of education program, started off as a high school teacher in Mexico City. As a teacher, Isabel would ask herself, “What can I do to make my students care?” Isabel decided to go back to school to see what answers she could find. Read more.

Nic VanMeerten headshot

Nic VanMeertenPhD student, psych foundations

Nic VanMeerten feels fortunate that this program allows him to combine his two passions: video games and research. He says, “After meeting Keisha Varma and several other faculty and staff in the psych foundations program I knew that this would be a good place for me to develop my skills because of the supportive and collegial manner of the people here.” Read more.

Ashley Hufnagle headshot

Ashley HufnaglePhD student, psych foundations

"I really enjoy being surrounded by people (both peers and mentors) who are invested, curious, and engaged every day!"

Quantitative methods in education

Hao Jia headshot

Hao JiaPhD student, QME

Hao Jia is an international student providing practical and clear guidance for collecting and analyzing educational data to improve theories and analysis and uncover insights into the relationship between academic achievement, students, families, and schools. Hao is also working on a theoretical paper regarding the sample size requirement for Hierarchical Level Modeling method, which aims to show the best sample size for accurate estimation and provide practical guidance for sample collection within educational area.

Jonathan Brown headshot

Jonathan BrownPhD student, QME

"The 'me' of five years ago probably wouldn’t recognize the 'me' of today, and I mean that in a positive way." Read More.

Ozge Ersan Cinar headshot

Ozge Ersan CinarPhD student, QME

"I believe that graduate school is the best place of having challenges and making mistakes academically and learning from them."

Amaniel Mrutu headshot

Amaniel MrutuPhD student, QME

"To me, the student experience is a continual learning process. I strive to maintain a perspective that views mistakes as an opportunity to grow."

Mireya Smith headshot

Mireya SmithPhD student, QME

"The QME program has sharpened my quantitative skills to be ready to help students from different ethnic backgrounds achieve their highest potential as a student."

School psychology

Alaa Houri headshot

Alaa HouriPhD student, school psychology

Alaa Houri is exploring the socioemotional and educational needs of immigrant and culturally linguistically diverse (CLD) students in various academic settings. She currently works in Dr. Amanda Sullivan's research lab that focuses on education and health disparities affecting students with special needs, special education policy and services, as well as psychoeducational services for diverse learners.

Tara Kulkarni headshot

Tara KulkarniPhD student, school psychology

A former school counselor, Tara Kulkarni is interested in disability diagnosis, especially in vulnerable sections of society. Her research interests also center around theories of learning and academic achievement. She currently works with Dr. Amanda Sullivan and is involved in projects that focus on disproportionality in special education and educational disparities affecting students in schools. When she graduates, Tara would like to be a researcher and future policy maker in the field of education.

Mollie Weeks headshot

Mollie WeeksPhD student, school psychology

Mollie received her BA in Psychology from St. Olaf College and worked for a few years in higher education before returning to pursue a graduate degree. Her research focuses on evidence-based practices that improve the climate of equity in schools by identifying and correcting educational disparities/disproportionality. She also has an interest in advocating for educational policy and legislative changes to support all children in schools. Read More.

Special education

Aaron Waheed headshot

Aaron WaheedMEd student, special education

Aaron Waheed is pursuing his degree in hopes of helping others in the Deaf community. Being Deaf himself, Aaron hopes to see more Deaf leaders, teachers, policy-makers, and administrators in the Deaf community and sees going into teaching as a way for him to play a part in this. Read more.

Britta Bresina headshot

Britta BresinaPhD student, special education

Britta Bresina was a former teacher who is now a PhD student studying why some students continue to struggle with reading even after years of intensive intervention. Read more.

Jake Anderson headshot

Jake AndersonMEd student, special education

Jake Anderson received his undergraduate degree from McNally Smith College of Music with the intention of playing drums for a living. After getting connected with his sister, a social worker, he decided to start working in a group home where he found a passion in working with disabilities. Read more.

Mary Buvala headshot

Mary BuvalaMEd student, special education

After receiving her undergraduate degree in history, Mary Buvala was unsure what she wanted to pursue. After trying an AmeriCorps program where she was an academic tutor, she realized that she had a passion for teaching and connecting with students. Read more.

Shawn Girtler headshot

Shawn GirtlerPhD student, special education

Shawn Girtler has been a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) since 2011, working with individuals of all ages that have developmental and intellectual disabilities. She says, "The special education PhD program in Educational Psychology was a great next step for me." Read more.

Brynn Roemen headshot

Brynn RoemenPhD student, special education

"The special education PhD program provides opportunities to become quality researchers, be involved in the community, network, and discover potential career paths in your field."