The psychology major at Concordia University helped me to think critically about my own beliefs and biases, as well as how I relate to others in my own perception of the world. In addition, this program helped me better understand how I can use psychological theory to help others through counseling. While I was in the program, I was given the opportunity to explore my passion both through participating in a practicum and writing a thesis. I probably would not have had this opportunity at a larger university. In addition, this program allowed me to grow in my peer-teaching and fair-grading abilities through my experience as a psychology tutor and professors' asssistant. Specifically, I loved that I was able to create meaningful relationships with my psychology professors and other students in the program. The classes at Concordia University are small enough for thorough group discussions and debates, which added to my ability to think critically about a wide range of psychological understandings. I also really enjoyed my practicum experience and writing my thesis because this program allowed me to explore the topic of ecotherapy from both a research and a hands-on perspective. Overall, this program nurtures its students and encourages them to explore their passions! After graduation, I was hired as a Behavioral Youth Counselor at Youth Villages in Lake Oswego. In August, I will continue my education at another university in their Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. My goal is to become a licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and I would like to gain credentials in ecotherapy, so that I can implement nature into my clients' psychological healing processes. My experiences at Concordia University prepared me for my future goals. Concordia University's Psychology program is extremely valuable and gives students many opportunities for growth and exploration.
-Miriam McCauley, '14
During my four years at CU, I was inspired, challenged, encouraged, and prepared for all that lies ahead. One of the most meaningful aspects of Concordia is the unique culture. The class size is small, so it creates an intimate space to share ideas, challenge beliefs, and deepen perspectives. I had the opportunity to evaluate who I am, what I stand for, and how I want to move on to impact the communities around me. The psychology program was a challenging program to complete and required dedication and compassion for others. My internship was where I identified the skills I had to potentially bring to a therapeutic setting. I learned the value of simply being present with a person, and releasing the pressure to always have the right thing to say. I developed a heart for serving others, and realized it was usually me who walked away blessed. During my junior year, I took a class titled Marriage and Family Therapy, which was likely my favorite class. I found the professors to be real and authentic, so the curriculum took on a personal effect. During the course, students were invited to learn about the process of marriage and family therapy through the lens of guest speakers, personal testimony from students, and various forms of compelling text. As a current professional in the field, this class, and many others, absolutely impacted my path. I felt cared for by much of the staff. They took a personal interest in myself and others. They invested time and energy into our lives, which at times extended beyond our education. CU is a distinct University and such a special place to me. The friendships I made are some of my most prized. Following graduation, I moved on to complete my Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I work as a Family Therapist for a children's mental health agency in Vancouver, Washington. I am so grateful for a career that I love, which was built on a solid education. Daily, I encounter people who are hurting and in some type of discord. I am grateful for the skills I have acquired to join them in their journey. Concordia is not an average University. It is a place where students discover who they are, and what they want to be known for in this world. Skills are developed, students graduate, and people are impacted.
-Kayla Bayer '12
Working with other people can be as stressful or exciting as you want it to be. Learning how to work with people is one of the many things I learned from my time at Concordia University as a psychology major. During my time there, I learned to better empathize with people and think critically about their situation, my ability to positively impact them, and much more. At the end of my senior year I had the opportunity to tour Ireland with two professors, Erin and Reed Mueller, and three fellow psychology majors to learn about the differences in international psyches.
As a psychology major you learn about different psychological disorders, forms of therapies, how to dissect and disseminate research articles and finally how to piece all the information together. Some of the classes I found most interesting included abnormal psychology, helping skills, and research & methods, although it truly is difficult to exclude any of them. The professors are kind and knowledgeable among many other virtues and would frequently extend offers to stay after class to help ensure their students understood the day’s material. They had a way of pushing you to your limit with research papers and tests, but always would help rebuild you as a more understanding and empathetic individual.
While it is difficult to select a single individual experience as my favorite, it is difficult to compete with the trip to Dublin. My professors and I, their family, and my classmates all went to Dublin for three weeks touring the country and learning about the culture. Furthermore, we would intern three times a week at a local agency. I opted to work at St. John of God’s, a day clinic for adults with intellectual disabilities. Finally, our group took a class on international psychology, which paired Ireland’s history and current culture in our studies. I found both the class and internship very fulfilling.
So if you are reading this and are at all interested in the helping field, research, or psychology, I would encourage you to stop by and chat with the faculty in the CU Psychology department.
-Jamieson Burr '14
I have had the unique experience of Concordia being my second home, as I was first recruited to play on the women’s soccer team, unaware of how much deeper than athletics my experience at a university would become. I could not have dreamed of a better collegiate experience that would eventually lead me to pursue my ultimate passion and calling. During my four years as an undergraduate at Concordia, quite possibly the most valuable experience was having my values, beliefs, and paradigm challenged. Particularly as a psychology major, I was often pushed to think critically about various scenarios and circumstances in life from different perspectives. With a close-knit faculty and a small class size, I always felt my voice was not only heard, but valued. Had I been to a larger university, this unique learning environment would not have been possible. By choosing to complete a psychology degree at CU, I was able to identify and work towards my ultimate passion: women, and all individuals, who experience sexual violence in our communities. Through the psychology major, I was able to complete an internship at the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC), advocating on their 24-hour rape crisis line. My time at SARC solidified my desire to help survivors of sexual violence, which I am grateful to the support of the faculty within the program for presenting me the opportunity to complete this internship. After completing my degree, I chose to continue at Concordia to obtain a Master’s in community psychology. In doing so, I am working towards educating myself in dismantling social injustices by empowering disenfranchised individuals in our communities. The graduate program has continued to challenge my worldview in coursework that forces me to critically evaluate my privilege and status within both our community and our society. Through the community psychology program at CU, I will be interning at the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and completing a thesis related to survivors of sexual assault, rape culture, and sexual violence and fear in our community. My academic experience has flourished above and beyond what I would have expected it to be thanks to the psychology program and faculty at Concordia University. The program at CU not only allows students the opportunity to feel free to explore their interests in the field of psychology, but also challenges students to push themselves and pursue areas that they are passionate about. Having been part of the undergraduate psychology program, I felt more than prepared to take on graduate level courses and continue to deepen my knowledge in the helping field through the graduate program in community psychology.
- Hayley Hayes, '14 (now in the MA Psychology program)