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Meet the students of the School Psychology Program

David Cheng, Current student

Who are you and what year did you enter STJ? 
My name is David Oliver Lee Cheng from Bohemia, NY. I am a third-year Psy.D. student in the bilingual track with a second language of Spanish.  I started St. John's in the Fall of 2010 and have worked on research projects with Dr. Mark Terjesen, Dr. Tamara Del Vecchio, and Dr. Ray DiGiuseppe. Currently I am a Graduate Assistant at the STJ CareerCenter along with a fellow school psychology student. 

What projects/research are you currently working on and with what professor? 
I am currently working on a publication with Dr. Mark Terjesen and fellow students surrounding the publication practices of top tier school psychology journals.  This study explores what types of studies are being published and the need for more intervention-based studies. I am also working on a program evaluation for school-based cyber bullying and bullying programs. 

What has been your most valuable experience(s) so far at STJ?
My most valuable experience at STJ thus far has been the push to get involved in research and go to professional conferences.  Not only are we supported in research ideas, but also we are pushed to be active in pursuing publications and presentations at professional conferences.  Attending professional conferences exposes us to the field of school psychology and psychology in general, coming in contact with both the top researchers and practitioners of our field. 

How has STJ influenced your identity in the field of school psychology?
I see the research that the STJ faculty are doing and it reallypushes me to make my research meaningful to the field.  Not only are we reading the textbooks or practicing the theories developed by our professors, but psychologists around the country and internationally, are as well.  I want my research to have that kind of impact on others. 

Where do you see yourself in the future and how will STJ help you reach that goal? 
I see myself as a bilingual school psychologist making a difference in the schools.  Our education at STJ is very much ahead of the curve and therefore may not be what schools are used to.  I am excited to integrate up-to-date research into practice in the schools and STJ has given me the tools to do so.

Tayla Stein, Current Student

Who are you and what year did you enter STJ?
My name is Talya Stein and I entered STJ in 2008 and expect to graduate in 2013.Throughout my time at STJ, I have been fortunate to be granted a doctoral fellowship in St. John’s University Infant Learning and Memory lab under the guidance of Dean Jeffrey Fagen. Last year I was the recipient of the Ted Bernstein Award, which is awarded to an outstanding school psychology student within a doctoral program by New York Association for School Psychologists.

What projects/research are you currently working on and with what professor? 
I am currently working on my dissertation, entitled Deferred Imitation in 6-Month-Old Infants Using Distributed or Massed Practice. Working in Dr. Fagen’s lab for the past four years has spurred an interest and appreciation of the developmental process. Working directly with infants and parents has impressed upon me the immeasurable impact that early development plays on formation of identity and the learning process. Beyond my research at STJ, I am also involved in research at my current externship.

What has been your most valuable experience(s) so far at STJ?

It is hard to point to a specific experience that is more valuable than the overall experience of the program at large. I have benefitted tremendously from the guidance and support of both my fellow classmates and teachers. I appreciate that I have been able to explore specific areas of interest. I have chose to take classes outside of core requirements that have amounted to a concentration in Psychological Interventions, by being a part of the Bilingual School Psychology Track, and by exploring various externships that have broadened and informed my interests. 

How has STJ influenced your identity in the field of school psychology?
STJ has opened me up to new experiences by encouraging me to be life-long learner, who is constantly growing and adapting as the field of psychology continues to develop.  

Where do you see yourself in the future and how will STJ help you reach that goal?
I am not entirely sure what the future holds for me. During my times at STJ, I have externed in school, community mental health, and outpatient settings and I am excited by the plethora of opportunities that lay ahead. Next year I will be an intern at The Help Group, a non-profit community mental health center in Los Angeles that is committed to serving children, adolescents and families within outpatient settings, special education day schools, and residential facilities. I look forward to the diversity of experiences that I will have there and I know that the tools that STJ has given me will help me to continue to grow and flourish there. Paramount among these tools, is an appreciation for evidence-based practice that I will carry with me as I continue my professional development.