Alumna Courtney Parent

Congratulations to Courtney Parent on her recent feature in the UNE Alumni Spotlight. Read her story here:

For more information on the Psychology major at UNE, and opportunities available to our students, please visit:

Students in ANB, NEU, PSY, Art Therapy, and MHR sweep the awards!

On April 28, 2020, at the 2019-2020 University of New England Biddeford Campus Awards Ceremony, the winners of a number of university distinctions were announced. The faculty and staff of the Psychology Department are pleased to report that majors and minors from Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, Psychology, Art Therapy, and Mental Health Rehabilitation received 17 (yes seventeen!!) awards. In addition, 23 students were recognized for their induction into PSI CHI, the national honors’ society in Psychology.

I’d encourage you to watch the recorded Awards Ceremony to hear about the amazing accomplishments of these very talented students!

Here I’ll simply acknowledge each of the award winners and extend the congratulations of all the faculty and staff affiliated with the Psychology, Neuroscience, Animal Behavior, Art Therapy, and Mental Health Rehabilitation programs [awardees are listed in the order they were acknowledged in the award ceremony so you can skip ahead in the video if you’d like to hear the accolades for specific students].

Twenty-three students were recognized for their induction into PSI CHI, the national honors’ society in Psychology
Victoria Fitzpatrick, an Art Therapy minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Art
Olivia Scott, an Art Therapy minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Biological Sciences
No you aren’t seeing double! Olivia was also selected for the Outstanding Student Award for Environmental Science
Katy Lowe, a Neuroscience major, received the Outstanding Student Award for Biophysics
Grace Farrington, Psychology major and Mental Health minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Philosophy
Hannah Christian, Psychology major and Mental Heath minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Psychology
Cassie Trask, Neuroscience major and Mental Health minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Neuroscience
Elissa Cady, Animal Behavior major, received the Outstanding Student Award for Animal Behavior
Another double winner! Grace Farrington, Psychology major and Mental Health minor, received the Outstanding Student Award for Women’s and Gender Studies
For the second year in a row, Tarryn Nutt, Animal Behavior major, received the Jessica Cox Henderson 1886 Award for Activism from the Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Meagan Accardi, Art Therapy minor, received the Senior Scholar-Athlete Award
Courtney Dumont, Animal Behavior minor, received the Global Education Award
Kylee Harrington, Neuroscience major, received the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Award for Medicine and Public Health
WOW – our third double winner! Hannah Christian, Psychology major and Mental Health minor, received the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Award for Social Sciences
Nicole Martin, Psychology major and Neuroscience minor, received the Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Award for Social Sciences
Aubrey Sahouria, Neuroscience, received the Sophomore Award for Academic Excellence
Mariah Berchulski, Neuroscience major, received the Junior Award for Academic Excellence

Congratulations to all of these winners and the many other students from our programs who were nominated for the awards this year!

To learn more about the Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, Psychology, Art Therapy, and Mental Health Rehabilitation programs, please visit our website at:

The Importance of Self Care in College Students

A guest post by Ashley Moore, Visiting Assistant Lecturer, Department of Psychology, UNE

Professor Ashley Moore is a full-time, visiting lecturer here at UNE as well as a mental health clinician.  Prof.  Moore’s clinical specialization is in Behavioral Medicine by training, but by practice she has carved out a niche working with emerging adults and college students.  College students are a joy to work with, as they are often filled with hope, motivation, and incredible insight.  However, they also face some unique challenges.

Survey data from universities and colleges across the United States suggest that mental health issues in college students appear to be on the rise, and have been for the past ten years (Oswalt et al., 2018).  Why, you ask?  Well it isn’t hard to guess.  Ask any college student you know what their schedule is like, and they will likely present you with a mini-monologue that includes classes, work schedules (for sometimes more than one job), internships, research labs, and club/organization meetings. Not to mention they’re also trying to maintain some sort of a social life!  When it comes down to it, college students have some pretty packed schedules, and they are experiencing burn out because of it.

“Burn out” is a very real phenomenon that occurs when someone’s job or lifestyle leaves them feeling physically and/or emotionally exhausted.  Someone experiencing burn out likely will not have the sort of reserves that others will have for coping with stressors, and this leads to increased risk for many different mental health concerns.  How do we cope with burn out and exhaustion due to busy schedules? Professor Moore believes that self- care is one of the most important strategies we have.  Self-care does not need to look like bubble baths, Netflix binging, and pints of ice cream (although appropriate portions of ice cream are never a bad thing…) Self-care can be split into two major categories; the first containing actions such as going to the gym, eating healthy foods, and seeing a therapist, and the second containing actions that are meant to sooth, nurture, and “fill one’s cup.” 

Try this exercise to create your own self-care plan, and remember the most important part:  self-care is most effective when it is practiced BEFORE we feel exhausted, burnt out, and as though we are struggling. Self-care is prevention, and it is absolutely necessary.

Self-Care Exercise:

  1. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. 
  2. On one side of the line, list all the strategies you know that are important for your physical and mental well-being.
    1. EG: going to the gym, going for an annual physical, eating healthy foods, etc.
  3. One the other side of the line, list (healthy) things that you like to do that bring you joy.
    1. EG: going out to dinner with friends, coloring or painting, watching a favorite show on Netflix.
  4. Now make your personal self-care plan! Choose 2-4 things from each side that feel manageable and most important to you, and list them on a new piece of paper.  Remember, you don’t want to list so many things that self-care feels like a chore! 
  5. Commit to practicing one self-care strategy from your list each day for one week. When your practice your self-care strategy, try to really focus on the fact that you are doing something just for YOU.  Because you deserve care and nurturing too!
  6. Post your self-care plan somewhere you can see it, and pay attention to how you feel over the next week.  Remember, you can always change or adjust your self-care plan.  This is all about taking care of yourself, in whatever way works best for you.


Oswalt, S. B., Lederer, A. M., Chestnut-Steich, K., Day, C., Halbriter, A., & Ortiz, D. (2018). Trends in college students’ mental health diagnoses and utilization of services, 2009-2015.      Journal of American College Health.

My internship at Sweetser, part of Maine Mental Health Services

A guest post by Nick Sabato about the internship he completed in Spring 2019 as part of PSY 300.

In Spring of 2019 I completed my internship with the Sweetser organization, which is part of Maine Mental Health Services. My internship experience involved working with young children, age 7-12, who come from many different backgrounds, for many different reasons. A typical day of work for me includes helping the children eat their dinners and keep their composure during movie nights, tucking them into bed, and reading bedtime stories. However, there are times where it can be hectic; then I use de-escalation tactics including explaining to the kids to focus on themselves, take deep breaths, and take space. I also take part in meetings between staff, clinical psychologists, and the families of our clients in order to help achieve a suitable treatment plan. I feel as though I am making a positive impact on the lives of the children that I work with. It is also incredibly rewarding to see a child’s face light up when he or she sees me walk onto the unit. There are two children that I work with that want me to play games with them, tuck them into bed, and read their bedtimes stories to. The fact that these two children choose me to spend time with provides me with the knowledge that I am doing my part correctly.

This internship experience has lead me to hone my interpersonal social skills and has sharpened my abilities in regards to using de-escalation tactics for those in a crisis situation. In the future, I plan to go into researching psychotic disorders such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, Schizoaffective disorder, Paraphrenia, and more. The ability to work with clients this young and with the wide range of symptoms that are present will allow me to always keep in mind that the same disorder can manifest itself differently in different people. Interning at Sweetser has also taught me that I do have the capability and competency to work with children in the mental health field. However I plan to focus on working with and researching adult psychotic disorders because my personal attributes are more suitable for this population and that is my passion. My internship experience has given me prodigious amounts of clarity in respect to my professional career because now I know that working with adults who are burdened with psychotic disorders is my vocation.

My internship experience reinforces many different concepts that I have learned over my last 4 years of learning. The most relevant concept that ties into my internship is that having a stable environment is important for a young child. Another concept that can be applied to some of our residents is Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby’s theory of attachment styles. At our facility, the children we work with all appear to be either in the anxious resistant or anxious avoidant classification (Bowlby & Ainsworth, 1991). Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory states that behavior can be learned through observation and modeling, shown by his Bobo doll experiment which examined aggression (Bandura, 1971). Many of the children I work with exhibit their parents behaviors, such as aggression, recklessness, profanity, and many more behaviors. The ability to recognize the real life displays of these theories in lived experience is paramount in the learning process and has provided me with an increased level of appreciation for the residential spectrum of the mental health field and working with children.

Our thanks to Nick for sharing his thoughts about his internship. All psychology majors complete an internship as part of PSY 300 and work closely with a faculty member who helps them with their placement.

Learn more about the Psychology major at: and the Mental Health minor at:

My internship working on the Adolescent Unit at Sweetzer

A guest post by Zane Getman about his experience as part of PSY 300 Internship

My internship at Sweetser during Spring 2019 was both rewarding and challenging. Sweetser is a prominent behavioral healthcare organization with several residential locations throughout Maine. While there are resources provided to adults in need of Sweetser’s services, Sweetser mostly provides assistance to children, adolescents, and their families. Recipients of Sweetser’s care services are often adolescents suffering from trauma, depression, ADHD, and behavioral/cognitive issues.

As an intern I was essentially a Youth and Family Counselor in training at one of their sites in Saco. I worked in the Portland Adolescent Unit (PAU) which included eight adolescent boys. Sweetser creates individualized programs based on the clients’ strengths and tendencies in order to help them overcome certain behaviors that prevent them from thriving in a public setting. In my unit, the clients shared difficulty with self-restraint, sexualized behaviors, and oppositional defiance to any type of authority. My role at Sweetser was to build connections with each client to identify their strengths and weaknesses to help them overcome these behavioral issues, as well as to work with my fellow staff members to provide empathic and effective care.

There are many valuable things that I learned throughout this internship, but the most significant one to me has been the importance of establishing connections. The adolescent boys that I spent 120 hours with all required different types of attention, and it is impossible to meaningfully help them make progress if you are unable to build a trusting relationship with them individually. At first whenever I would try to intervene if a client was having a rough week or try to offer them advice, they were not receptive to it at all. However, as I became more present in the unit and the clients, and I got to know each other more, we began to respect one another and I became popular among them as a staff member that they would gravitate to. Many times I would simply listen to their issues stemming from their families, homes, school, and peers, but many of the adolescents in my unit do not open up to adults often.

With this in mind I was able to recognize the position I found myself in as a youth and family counselor, and they began to view whatever words I had to offer with value. Another aspect of my internship that I valued is empathy. Understanding that many of these children are spending their childhoods in these cottages (one client in my unit has been at Sweetser for 7 years, and will be until he is discharged at age 18), away from their families, should be taken into consideration deciding to work there. However tough I may think my schedule is during the week, I tried my best to leave it all at the door when I would walk into my unit and begin working with kids that had been living there for years without an idea of when they will finish their program and return home.

This internship has also influenced my potential future career path by introducing me to people involved in various different fieldwork positions based in psychology. I mostly worked alongside other Youth and Family Counselors in my unit and I learned that they are some of the most important people at residential sites like Sweetser because they are the ones that the clients spend a majority of their time with. I was also introduced to the first licensed clinician I have ever met; Jess is the LC assigned to the Portland Adolescent Unit and she is amazing at what she does. She included me in individual meetings with the clients where we discussed their progress in school and managing their behavioral tendencies. In some of these meetings the clients’ families would be present, and I was allowed to sit in with them and listen to their thoughts as well. During my internship I also met with various behavioral therapists, sometimes walking individual clients from my unit to their offices for their weekly meetings to discuss how their medication routines were going.

Another aspect of fieldwork in psychology that I have been exposed to throughout my internship is the position of a caseworker. I was present during an admissions meeting for a new client, and this meeting consisted of myself, my unit’s licensed clinician, the new client, his family, and also his caseworker. She represented him in this meeting similarly to how a lawyer represents a client in court; she was knowledgeable of his weaknesses and approved of Sweetser’s program that was intended to improve his behaviors. Having met people in all of these mentioned positions and seeing how they do their job in the field of psychology has been helpful in showing me a variety of potential future career options that I will consider as I continue my studies.            

Working in a unit where the primary focus is rehabilitating adolescent’s overly sexualized behaviors, I have seen issue firsthand that I learned about at UNE. Most of these concepts are recalled from my sophomore year when I enrolled in Abnormal Psychology, which include paraphilia, oppositional defiance disorder, sociopathic behaviors, trauma/abuse, and just overall lack of respect for the boundaries of others. All of the boys in PAU have violated others’ boundaries in some form and are prone to respond defiantly or violently to authority, which relates to what I learned about oppositional defiance disorder being common in many young boys. Some have experienced or witnessed abuse in their family backgrounds, which can explain why they believe their behaviors are justified when done to others since it was what they were exposed to during very crucial developmental stages of their early lives. In Abnormal Psychology we thoroughly studied paraphilia, another concept that I have noticed is a common theme in many of my unit’s clients’ backgrounds as well. Overall, working at Sweetser and with these children was an eye-opening experience in how it introduced me to the field of psychology in the real world, as well as brought many concepts that I had studied over the years at UNE to life before me.

Our thanks to Zane for sharing his thoughts about his internship experience. All psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree. In this class they work directly with a faculty supervisor who helps them make connections between their work on site and the concepts they are learning about in their coursework.

Dr. Lynn Brandsma, Guest Lecturer in Introduction to Art Therapy course

Dr. Brandsma interacts with students in PSY 430 Introduction to Art Therapy

The Psychology Department is proud to participate in the delivery of a special minor, Introduction to Art Therapy. This minor is interdisciplinary, with students completing courses in counseling and mental health from Psychology and courses in drawing, painting, and ceramics or sculpture with the Department of Creative and Fine Arts. One thing that is definitely true about the minor is that it involves lots of hands on activities. In the capstone course, PSY 430 Introduction to Art Therapy, students frequently can be found working on art projects in the classroom with Professor Nancy Rankin and learning how such work can be used with others. While the minor does not lead to certification as an art therapist, it does provide students with a good foundation in the principles of the discipline and prepares them for further study (e.g., a master’s degree in art therapy).

To help students consider how art, writ broadly, can be integrated into counseling approaches, in the spring semester of 2019 Professor Rankin invited Dr. Lynn Brandsma to present to her class. Dr. Brandsma is a music therapist, UNE ambassador extraordinaire, and an instructor here at UNE.

Armed with her guitar and an IKEA bag full of small instruments and colorful fabrics, Dr. Brandsma led the students in many of the common musical activities she uses with her clients.  As a group, the students and Professor Rankin participated in a drum circle as well as a sing a-long, moved to the music with a particular directive (i.e., “pretend you’re walking in water”), and played “follow the leader” with the fabrics.  In addition, Dr. Brandsma shared information on the rigorous curriculum to become a music therapist and showed several videos demonstrating the impact of music therapy with a variety of clients. 

Professor Rankin shared “It is often said that music is a universal language, and in the brief time that we had, I know my students developed an appreciation for the power of that language, both clinically and personally. We had so much fun!  Thank you, Dr. Brandsma”!

Thanks to Professor Rankin for the information and pictures for this post. You’ll find Professor Rankin teaching PSY 430 again this coming Spring. Dr. Brandsma is offering PSY 295 Listening & Communication skills this semester (Fall 2019) and will be offering a special topics course on Group Leadership in Spring 2020 (PSY 305).

Welcome back Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, Psychology, Art Therapy, and Mental Health majors & minors!

Students get to know one another at the Meet the Department event in August

The faculty are happy that you are all here and we are looking forward to another exciting year on campus! To all our returning students, please welcome our incoming class of 2023.

The faculty are happy that you are all here and we are looking forward to another exciting year on campus!

Plans are currently in development for a social and each of our clubs (Neuroscience, Psychology, Animal Behavior, and Psi Chi) are busy creating plans for fun activities for the year.

We, and your team of professional advisors, are here to help you.

Professional Academic Advisors gear up for the new year

We hope you’ll stop by our faculty offices to say hello.

Who wins awards? PSY, NEU, ANB, and MHR students do!!

Ellie Leighton (left), Trish Long, Annie Rademacher (right), & Jimmy Welch (far right) have their photo taken after the students receive Outstanding Student awards for PSY, NEU, and ANB

UNE’s Biddeford Campus Awards Ceremony was held last night, April 23, 2019, and students from the Department of Psychology came away with an impressively tall stack of prizes. Congratulations to all the winners, and nominees from the department!!

Dr. Jennifer Steigler-Balfour & Courtney Parent

The Susan J. Hillman Science/Math Education Award was presented to Courtney Parent, Psychology major and Mental Health minor.

Cassie Trask (right) after received an UG Research & Scholarship Award in Natural Science, with Dr. Amy Kierstead

The Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Awards for Natural Science was presented to Cassie Trask, Neuroscience major and Mental Health minor.

Dr. Julie Peterson & Mackenzie Deveau

The Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Award for Social Sciences was presented to Mackenzie Deveau, Psychology major, Women’s and Gender Studies minor, and Political Science minor.

Dr. Jennifer Stieger-Balfour & Nicole Martin

The Sophomore Award for Academic Excellence was presented to Nicole Martin, Psychology major, Neuroscience minor, and Special Education minor.

Jacob Liff demonstrates his work in the Makers’ Space to President Herbert

The Outstanding Student in Biophysics Award was presented to Jacob Liff, Neuroscience major.

Jimmy Welch

The Outstanding Student in Animal Behavior Award was presented to James Welch, Animal Behavior and Environmental Science double major.

Annie Rademacher

The Outstanding Student in Neuroscience Award was presented to Anneliese Rademacher, Neuroscience major.

Dr. Trish Long presents Ellie Leighton with the Outstanding Student award for PSY

The Outstanding Student in Psychology Award was presented to Ellie Leighton, Psychology major, Mental Health minor, and Special Education minor.

The Outstanding Student in Women’s and Gender Studies Award was presented to Mackenzie Deveau, Psychology major, Women’s and Gender Studies minor, and Political Science minor.

Dr. Julie Peterson with Tarryn Nutt and Mackenzie Deveau

The Jessica Cox Henderson 1886 Award for Activism in Women’s and Gender Studies was presented to Tarryn Nutt, Animal Behavior major and Women’s and Gender Studies minor.

Problem Solving and Pecha Kuchas

And for today… a post from Professor Ashley Moore, Visiting Assistant Lecturer here in the Department of Psychology. Thanks for the post Prof Moore!

As a visiting faculty member in the psychology department, I have taught multiple different courses. From Lifespan Development to Abnormal Psychology, Social Psychology to Theories of Personality, and Internship to Community Psych…I’m a little all over the map. I love this variety more than anything, but what if someone made me choose just one?  If I absolutely, positively had to pick I’d say the teaching Community Psych might just be one of my favorites.

What is Community Psychology?  I’m glad you asked. 

Community Psychology is the study of community phenomenon to understand system-level problems and catalyze change in those systems.  It is understanding the individuals of a particular community in the context of that community.  It is problem solving, social justice, and change-making all wrapped up into one lovely package.  How could you not be excited by that?

I typically teach Community Psych in the spring semester, and this year is no different.  Every student in my class is required to choose one social issue that they are most interested in and, through a series of different assignments, eventually create an intervention program for that problem.  That’s right, I’ve had the privilege of watching students “solve” (or help solve) social issues ranging from immigration policy reform, to homelessness, to teenage pregnancy.  What is so extraordinary and humbling each time is that at least one student takes what they have suggested and implements it in some way-in real life

This classroom inevitably becomes filled with the problem solvers of the world, so why not spread the word?  This semester, we will be hosting a Pecha Kucha presentation event of some kind.  (Think super-speedy presentations-no more than 8 minutes apiece.) Students will present their issue, intervention program, and a product of some kind.  We’d love to have all of you join us!

Inevitably, when faced with solving the big, complex issues of the globe, my students ask me how to avoid despair and feelings of helplessness.  I tell them that they simply need to focus on taking the next step forward. We’d like to invite you to step forward with us.

Details of the Pecha Kucha presentations are not yet pinned down, but are forthcoming.  Keep checking back; as soon as we have a date and a time set, we will post the information here!

Community Psychology currently fulfills one of the requirements for our MHRT-C minor.  This is a certificate-based minor that results in students being hired post- graduation at a higher pay rate. If you have any questions about this class, or the Pecha Kucha event, don’t hesitate to contact Professor Moore via email or office phone. 


Professor Ashley Moore

Decary 317



Thanks to Professor Moore for sharing this information about herself and her community psychology course!

Looking for a way to help others?

Caring Unlimited (York County’s Domestic Violence Resource Center) is looking for volunteers. After training, you would be eligible to work on the helpline (and potentially in other ways as well).

The first step is to apply to complete training. The required Comprehensive Advocacy, Intervention, Response, and Ethics Training (or CAIRET for short) is the mandatory statewide volunteer training to serve on any of the helplines for Maine’s domestic violence resource centers (and for many other types of activities). This is a 44 hour training. That’s usually hard for students to fit in on top of classes, so Caring Unlimited has scheduled a FREE training to occur over Spring Break, March 11th through 15th and March 23rd through 24th.

Consider staying on campus over the break and be ready to volunteer with Caring Unlimited in the future! Caring Unlimited also provides internship opportunities for students (this training is also required for these positions which are awarded after an application process).

Volunteer and internship positions like this are great ways to build a skills set that will help you to find a great job or gain admission to a graduate program!

If you have interest in Caring Unlimited or in signing up for the CAIRET training, please sign up using the link in the flyer above or contact the organization for more information.

Caring Unlimited – York County’s Domestic Violence Resource Center P.O Box 590 Sanford, ME. 04073 Phone: 207-490-3227 x122 24hr Hotline: 1-800-239-7298