By Cameron Godwin
Graduate students from the Youngstown State University school psychology program will be recognized at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Conference in Chicago this February.
Richard VanVoorhis, associate professor and director of the school psychology program, and Kathleen Aspiranti, an assistant professor in the department of counseling, school psychology and educational leadership, plan to present at the conference.
The NASP Conference is a national conference where speakers from across the country discuss various topics and issues in the field of school psychology.
Lauren Hoag, a school psychology graduate student, was awarded a scholarship to attend the NASP conference, which includes $500 and round-trip airfare.
Hoag said when she applied, she submitted a proposed plan for a system-wide change within a district or demographic.
The program, “Rise and Shine, It’s Learning Time,” is an incentive to help attendance issues within inner city schools. The plan also includes parent training and raffles to help boost attendance in schools.
Hoag said the plan was chosen as one of the top four submissions, which was reviewed by a jury of school psychology faculty members across the state of Ohio.
She obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cleveland State University and a master’s degree in education from YSU. She said she was an instructional aide at the Lincoln Park Academy and currently interns at Chardon Local Schools.
Hoag said she expects to graduate in summer 2018 with a degree in school psychology.
Hoag said her future plans include working in a suburban school district with elementary school students. She said she hopes to go back to school to obtain her administrative license so she can become the director of special education for a school district.
VanVoorhis said he is impressed with Hoag’s ability to utilize skills learned in the classroom and apply them in the field.
“It is certainly a milestone for the program to have several graduate candidates selected to present at the annual 2018 NASP conference,” VanVoorhis said.
VanVoorhis said Aspiranti has provided research mentorship for a number of the students who will be presenting in Chicago.
Aspiranti said it is great to be a part of the conference.
“I am really proud of the students and their hard work on the projects they have done,” she said.
VanVoorhis said the YSU school psychology program is one of nine Ohio graduate education programs in school psychology.
“School psychologists are in very strong demand and graduates of the YSU program are recruited throughout the state and nation,” he said.
The school psychology program is housed in the Beeghly College of Education, where graduate students work directly with children to assess and support their individual learning needs.
The following 11 YSU current and recent program graduates plan to attend and present at the conference: Alanna Bebech, Kym Bowlen, Heather Frank, Lauren Hoag, Jaime Kirchhofer, David Makara, Savannah O’Brien, Tyler Oliver, Kristen Osiniak, Brittany Ruffo and Amy Vinopal.