Alumni Stories: Where are they now?

A number of alumni have been generous enough to share their stories and reflect on how their experiences as psychology majors have helped them get where they are today.  We will highlight a number of their stories on this page.  Check often for updates!

Frank Hurley ’75

“My placements at Meeting Street School, Butler Hospital and Wrentham State Hospital influenced my decision to get a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Florida State University.  I retired from the State of Florida in 2007 after teaching for 30 years in the Public School systems. During my teaching career I first  taught students who were were placed in Exceptional Student Education, with varying disabilities. I then taught regular education, and usually also worked with handicapped children who were being mainstreamed. For the last ten years of my career I shifted gears, and worked with Gifted and High Achieving students. Particularly with the gifted students, my background from PC in Social Psychology seemed to help in group dynamics and cooperative learning and successful project completion by the students. I am now happily retired and back in New England, living on Cape Cod.”

Nancy G. Turnbull ’75

“I was a member of the first group of women to enter Providence College. My senior year internship at Meeting Street School was truly instrumental in guiding my career path. Although I had considered graduate study in psychology, I eventually veered into the realm of special education and obtained my M. Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education from Rhode Island College. I have taught a broad range of special needs students from adults in rehabilitation settings to infants in early intervention and, for the past 28 years, elementary school students from kindergarten to grade three. My background in statistics prepared me for the very important task of conducting psychoeducational evaluations in determining educational diagnoses and special education eligibility. ”

Kevin Golden ’80

Currently: Business Analyst (IT), living in Ireland

“I think that the best thing about having a degree in Psychology is the ability to be an ‘all-rounder.’  My psychology courses taught me to be open minded and critical at the same time. What I found is that I am able to review a situation – be it in business or outside of business – and make connections to practical approaches. I am able to understand differences and bring a focus to bear on the issue at hand. Working with people from various cultures, this has been very beneficial.”

Barbara Green ’80

“For the past 25 years, I have worked in commercial real estate development and asset management. My trusted advisor who had an enormous impact on my life by helping me apply and gain acceptance to Harvard Business School.”

Jackie Colson-Miller ’82

Currently: Realtor, Certified International Property Specialist, and National Association of Realtor’s Liaison to Austria

“I have been in Marketing/Sales for my entire career and have been selling Real Estate for 17 years.  Understanding personalities and motivation is critical to dealing with people involved in the purchase or sale of a home. I absolutely love what I do, because it is such a “people-oriented” business, combined with sales and motivational behavior. My experience Junior Year Abroad in Fribourg heavily influenced my desire to be involved in the International Real Estate Market.”

Catherine (O’Hern) Avila ’83

“I was the only student in my law school class to arrive with a B.A. in psychology.  I found my training particularly helpful in terms of grasping relationships between social policy considerations and the law; understanding the unreliability of witness identification and recollection in criminal law; and in writing and legal research. My ability to ‘make my case’ through persuasive writing in both my law and government careers definitely found its roots in P.C.’s Psych Department.  Likewise, my familiarity with psychology has been invaluable in my labor relations work; in management; in employee counseling generally; and in securing professional psychological and psychiatric services for staff when advisable.  I also believe my training prepared me to be an observant and empathetic leader and manager.

I can attest that a Providence College education offers not only a gateway to professional success and a broad array of life experiences, but more importantly, it provides a foundation for enduring intellectual growth and spiritual enlightenment.  As one of the first college graduates in my family, I believe I am a far better and more capable individual in many respects than I might otherwise have been, were my eyes not opened to the spirit of ‘possibility’ at PC.”

John P. Forsyth, Ph.D. ’87

John ForsythJohn received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University and served as Chief Psychology Resident while completing his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Mississippi/Jackson VAMC Internship Consortium.  He is a Professor of Psychology and Director the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at the University at Albany, SUNY in Upstate New York.

John is an internationally recognized author, speaker, researcher, and trainer in the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and practices that cultivate mindfulness, loving kindness (Metta), and compassion for a range of mental health concerns. For over 20 years, his work has focused on developing ACT and mindfulness practices to alleviate human suffering, awaken the human spirit, and to nurture psychological health and vitality.

He has published over 90 articles and has written several popular ACT books, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders (for mental health professionals), and three self-help books for the public:  The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety, and ACT on Life, Not on Anger, and Your Life on Purpose. For more, please visit John’s website.

Brigida Aguiar ’88

“I’m a clinical social worker at Women & Infants’ Hospital.  I received my M.S.W. at BC.  My psychology major and courses laid the foundation for what I now do.  Having the mental health background allows me assist my families in a more comprehensive matter.”

Lauren Barnes ’95

“I am currently working for Booz Allen Hamilton, a Fortune 500 Strategy and Management Consulting Firm, as senior recruiter for the Strategy and Organization Practices within the Washington, DC Market area.”

Geoff Stanton ’98

Currently: Owner of Insurance Agency

“I deal with people all day every day, often helping to solve their problems.  Having a background in Psychology certainly helps me understand different personality types and has made it much easier to communicate with them.”

Jaime M. Tasca-Frateschi ’99

“I have been working at car dealerships in Customer Management and Marketing since graduation. I am often told I am the best when it comes to dealing with an irate customer.  I definitely have a way of reading the person and getting down to what the real problem is. I can’t help but think my background in psychology has helped me in being able to read a person. One of my very first psychology courses I took talked about personality traits. That class left a lasting impression.  I remember the course focused on how to communicate most effectively to a person based on their prominent personality traits.  I often reflect back on this when speaking with customers.”

Ellen Curran ’99

I had only taken one psychology course before I declared it as a major at Providence College. My professors at PC piqued my interest and challenged me to continue in the field. They were instrumental in the process of being accepted into an accredited doctoral program in psychology by providing me with employment opportunities and contacts within the field as well as support. While in graduate school, I gained valuable clinical experience working with children, including those who had experienced trauma. I am currently employed as a psychologist in private practice. I have the rewarding opportunity to work with kids, families and adults, rendering individual counseling as well as group and family therapy.

Dan Chesson ’00

Current Occupation: Third Grade Teacher

“I completed my Masters work in Psychology before I moved on to an elementary education certification.  I am so glad to have the background I do in Psychology.  I use my knowledge of people, including human behavior, learning styles, and the benefits of positive reinforcement every day.”

Meaghan Donovan St. Charles ’01

Current Occupation: Scientist

“I earned my Master’s Degree and PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. I work within the healthcare industry as a consultant to pharmaceutical and biotech companies to support them with the collection of patient reported outcomes within their clinical trial programs. My degree in Psychology from Providence gave me the research tools necessary to go into any field of research and be successful. I appreciate and utilize the information taught in both research methods and statistics courses at Providence which provided a strong foundation for my current research today. I also have two little girls.”

Emily Pifferi ’02

“The great learning experiences I had in the psychology program at PC have helped prepare me for my current career as a school psychologist. Assessment and intervention for cognitive and emotional disorders is a huge part of my job and I got a great foundation for developing my skills in those areas through my coursework at PC.”

Robert Salerno ’02 

“My PC psychology major, more specifically research methods and statistics prepared me well for my career in social epidemiology. I specialize in health and livelihoods for the most vulnerable populations – women, child-headed households, and orphans and vulnerable children.  As a development practitioner, I have worked in over 20 countries for large multilateral (World Bank, UNICEF) and bilateral (USAID, PEPFAR) donor organizations.  My work focuses on addressing vulnerability and building resilience in destitute populations, linking analysis to intervention to ultimately improve the quality of life, increase access to essential health services, and protect vital household safety nets.”

Read more here.

Elissa Burke ’04

“After working in the field for several years as a Mental Health Specialist at McLean Hospital and a Case Manager for North Suffolk Mental Health Association, I went back to school and recently completed an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. I plan on pursuing a job in Psychiatric Nursing after I pass my boards. Providence College was the foundation for all of my recent endeavors. I feel that I received a top notch education and am grateful for the guidance I received from the faculty.”

Alex Howland ’05

My degree in Consulting Psychology uses psychological principals to provide individual, group, and organizational services to small non-profits to large corporations, with an emphasis on working with individuals in the context of executive coaching and assessment, and working with group dynamics. I am currently freelancing for a number of small management consulting firms: helping a company who was having difficulty with cross-cultural/national understanding and communication between employees, providing management coaching and strategic planning facilitation for senior leaders at large charter schools, and providing research and statistical services to clients.”

Caitlin Ford Canfield ’05

“I worked for two years at The Walker School, a residential treatment program for children with emotional and behavioral disorders, before entering graduate school. The breadth of courses offered at PC and the help of my advisor really helped me narrow down my focus of interest. Looking back, I value the small class sizes and one-on-one attention I received at PC. As a graduate student at a large university, I’ve seen the opposite, and I think that individual attention is key in preparing students for life after college.”

Sara Vargas

Sara Vargas ’05

“My psychology major at PC prepared me well for my graduate course work. I worked for two years as a research assistant at the Lifespan Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. My work at the Centers helped make me a very competitive applicant for graduate programs in psychology.”

Michael McQuiggan ’06

“My psychology courses helped immensely!  They taught me about psychotherapy, neuropsychology, abnormal psychology and health psychology, which are all relevant topics for my career in psychiatry.”

Kristina Krakowski ’07

“I earned a PsyD at the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical psychology. The education I received at PC prepared me very well for graduate school. I felt that it was a very easy transition and actually felt better prepared for the course work than some of my peers.  I also feel that the access I had to hands-on experiences through internships while at PC helped me to feel more comfortable when I started my first practicum in graduate school.”

Zach Zimmerman ’07

Currently: Business Development Associate and co-owner of a DJ and photography business

“I loved my experience at PC!  My psychology courses taught me to write well and analyze complicated problems.”

Andrea Avila ’08

“I worked for a non-profit as a Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Specialist. This position focused on community mobilization around those issues. My psychology background not only gave me insight into the fundamentals of substance abuse and violence but also assisted me in maximizing my volunteer groups’ efficiency, both internally and in their community work. I often applied for and managed grants on behalf of my volunteer groups. My background in psychology contributed significantly here as well because I was able to evaluate evidence-based programs, argue for their applicability to the communities I served and offer evidence of our previous successes to increase our chances of being funded.”

Anja Pierre-Mike ’08

“I received a M.Ed. from Providence College and began coursework to obtain my Masters of Social Work at Boston University. I work as a residential services coordinator for Child and Family in Providence, RI. I assist in providing oversight of a network of residential programs throughout the state of Rhode Island that provide treatment services to children and adolescents who are at-risk or who present with various emotional and behavioral difficulties. My psychology major gave me a foundation of various environmental and physiological factors that affect human behavior, which led me to develop a passion for counseling which led me to gain interest in working with at-risk adolescents.”

Angelina O’Brien ’09

“I graduated in 2009 with double majors in Psychology and Women’s Studies. through the challenge of courses at Providence College, I felt prepared for the graduate program in Mental Health Counseling at Rhode Island College and the intense occupations that accompany this field. I will now be finishing this program with my CAGS in Mental Health in spring 2013. I wanted to share my story to encourage other students to continue on when they feel that they are not going to survive another challenging semester at the college. The Psychology program provided me with the skills I needed to apply to various occupations, including the field of research. My interest in research developed through the more advanced psychology courses that were required my senior year. I was hired as a part-time grant evaluator in March 2011 at Bristol Community College and was hired as the Director of Institutional Research in October 2012. I believe that the education that I received from Providence College prepared me for this unexpected, yet fulfilling journey through life.”

Kathryn Magnoli ’10

“I currently work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with the internal medicine residents.  I am an administrative resource to them and help the doctors prepare their patients for discharge.  I also began my MBA at Simmons this semester and hope to concentrate in health care. Go Friars!”

Richard Dell’Isola ’11

Richard is currently enrolled in a two-year Masters program in Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN.  “Upon graduating in summer 2018, I hope to open my own private practice, provide services to community groups; in the long term, I aspire to return to school to pursue a Doctorate in a Counseling field.”

Christina D’Angelo ’12

In summer 2015, Christina began her studies in the Medical/Clinical Psychology doctoral program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Recently, she received the excellent news that she is a recipient of a highly competitive and prestigious fellowship from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).  “I think one of the things that was most helpful for me while I was at PC was the faculty support/advice as well as getting a solid research base.  The research class where we had to come up with a project, run participants, write it up, and present it at PCPC was a nice way to get our feet wet and gain practice presenting at a small conference.  I also think the advice I was given to volunteer in a research lab off campus was very helpful since I was able to get great experience during undergrad and obtain a full-time RA job after graduating.”

Aubrey Legasse ’17

“I am currently starting my fourth month in Butler Hospital’s Behavioral Medicine and Addictions research department as a research assistant under Drs. Ana Abrantes and Lisa Uebelacker. I am working on three studies: one about depression and physical activity, another looking at smoking cessation and health behaviors, and the third is a chart review study on 8 emergency departments across the country. I am getting invaluable experience in regards to participant tracking and data collection, the administration of clinical measures (including things like the SCID and QIDS), and an opportunity to participate in some outside research projects as well. My department, PIs, and colleagues are wonderful and I am blessed to be in a position I am so passionate about.”