My Psychology Internship with the State of Maine Office of Child and Family Services

A guest post by Aaron Tyler about his PSY 300 internship

My name is Aaron Tyler, and I am a fourth-year Psychology major at the UNE Biddeford campus. I spent the first three years of my undergrad as a Neuroscience major, but felt a change was necessary for myself.  For my psychology (PSY 300) internship in the Fall 2019 semester, I found an internship opportunity through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). As an intern for the State of Maine, in the Office of Child and Family Services, I have had more educational experiences than I have ever had in a classroom. I was an intern for a Behavioral Health Program Coordinator that covers Cumberland and York counties. In short, we spent time discussing youth with behavioral and developmental problems, that are in treatment, or that would benefit from it. We met with service providers in this area, and discussed the youth they care for, and any that we had in mind that would potentially benefit from their specific treatment styles. Our department works with various facilities such as hospital emergency department, residential treatment facilities, and even in home skill-building therapies. The main duty is to help the youth get the proper treatment they need, in a setting that best fits them.

While there are many valuable things that I have acquired over the course of my internship, I feel the most important, was that it helped develop direction for my career path. Before now, I didn’t know if I wanted to work with children or adults, and I think that I have felt fulfilled and satisfied working with children. To help someone that is otherwise unable to help themselves, is one of the most gratifying feelings you can experience as a person.

The things that I have learned in classes could not prepare me for the real world experiences that I have had. From traumatizing, to unforgettably positive, there are some extreme circumstances that I would have only thought I’d ever see in movies.

I have truly had a great experience at my internship, and have learned valuables lessons that I will never forget.

Our thanks to Aaron for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience. To learn more about Psychology at UNE, and our internship experiences, please visit:

My Psychology Internship at Holistic Healing Services and Wellness Center in Saco, Maine

A guest post by Maddie Lynnworth about her PSY 300 internship

For the first part of the Spring 2020 semester, I was an intern at Holistic Healing Services and Wellness Center in Saco, Maine.  My internship was exactly what I was looking for, in that I was able to tap into and explore the parts of myself that I know will be the most useful for healing others someday.  My internship required empathy and compassion, as well as a curiosity and genuine love for the work done. Beyond just counseling, this facility employs counselors that are versed in massage, reiki, essential oils, meditation, conscious touch and movement medicine, and more.  This provided me a unique opportunity to learn about many different modalities and how they directly relate to counseling and psychology all in one place.  I was gifted with the opportunity to engage with clients and staff in a setting focused on finding and keeping your breath, and I often left feeling more peaceful than when I arrived. 

This was among the most valuable things of my internship.  To have peace in one’s work is one of my greatest dreams, and it is so exciting to see that in action.  I think this internship has given me hope and empowered me in pursuing my goals with healing, because it has reinforced how creative one can be in their approach.  The exposure I got to so many different modalities will allow me to streamline my later education, as I will have more information on what each of those approaches are actually like in practice.  The welcoming and nurturing environment of this internship was indispensable.  I felt as though my interests, questions, and learning were of real importance, and my supervisor did a fantastic job of making me feel not only included, but wanted.  

This internship greatly affected the way I would like to approach my own journey.  In getting exposure to so many different treatment options, I will invariably favor some over others, which may have taken me years to learn outside of this internship.  It also gave me hands on experience with a counseling/clinical setting, and will help me solidify if that is the direction I want to pursue in the future.  In more hands-on experiences, I am learning what techniques, approaches, and perspectives I identify with, which will help guide the way I interact with my own clients someday.  This internship gave me the opportunity to learn about nearly every facet of what it is to be a clinician, which will inform me greatly on the way I choose to shape my future. 

 I see reflections of various classes sprinkled through my internship.  Concepts learned about, sociology and community psychology, as well as specific approaches like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Humanistic psychology are all quite prevalent at this facility.  I had the opportunity to draft treatment plans based on learning goals, and saw concepts and approaches I have learned about CBT in class in practice there. Through becoming familiar with how my strengths and weaknesses will impact my goals, as well as how I will measure and hold myself accountable, I was able to see how well CBT really works. I watched its procedures make me aware of how to challenge my own beliefs and reframe limiting thoughts.  This internship validates much of what I have spent years studying.

Our thanks to Maddie for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience. To learn more about Psychology at UNE, and our internship experiences, please visit:

From RCC to NYC: An exciting new journey to come for Courtney Parent

Courtney Parent

Graduate school applications. Yes, that phrase has huge implications, and it is a task that can be overwhelming. For Reading Comprehension and Cognition (RCC) Lab alum, Courtney Parent (PSY ’19), that belief held true. Despite the weight of grad school applications, she received news that she was admitted to the Developmental Psychology graduate program at Teachers College, Columbia University (TC) to begin working towards her Master’s degree in the fall.

Courtney always knew she wanted to work with children, originally attending UNE as a Pre-Med/Biology major with the hopes of becoming a pediatrician. However, after taking Lifespan Development as a sophomore, she decided to pursue a degree in psychology instead and find a career path in which she loved what she was studying while still wanting to help children.

She became a teaching assistant and a research assistant under Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Associate Professor of Psychology, in the RCC Lab. From leading review sessions and helping students, spending a summer learning how to develop a novel research study, and everything in between, these experiences all have given Courtney a small taste of the world of academia. “I am truly grateful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained from working in the RCC Lab. Working under Dr. Stiegler-Balfour has allowed me to grow in so many ways, and I am humbled to have had the opportunity to learn from her. Her support is unwavering, and I feel so appreciative of her mentorship throughout my undergraduate career.” Courtney is now working towards becoming a professor who also conducts research on children with congenital heart defects (CHDs).

During the application process, she kept in mind these research interests, as well as the typical class size. “When researching TC’s program, I noticed that I would have the option to focus my course of study into one of three areas. One of these areas resonated with me as it falls in line with my future research interests,” Courtney explains. “Growing up in a small town and attending a small university allowed me to realize how much I value that small-school atmosphere. For me, that was another important deciding factor,” she adds.

Courtney is thankful to have had the support of her family, friends, and mentors at UNE. “Even after graduation, your professors and advisors are still a tremendous resource. They will help you to ensure that your application is top-notch because they want you to succeed post-graduation, and that’s what separates UNE from other institutions.” She adds that, “Since receiving the email notifying me of my acceptance, I have been still so shocked that I was one of the few applicants to be accepted out of the many who applied. I feel so humbled to be placed with such an elite group of people in the field of developmental psychology. I am truly blessed to have had an unforgettable undergraduate experience at UNE to help get me here.”

Thanks to Courtney for sharing her story with us. To learn more about the Psychology major, visit our webpages at

My Internship at Seeds of Hope, Biddeford, ME

A guest post by Fayla Sutton about her PSY 300 internship

During the Fall 2019 semester, I completed my internship at Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center. Seeds of Hope is located in downtown Biddeford and offers support to people who struggle with poverty. They offer a complimentary continental breakfast and soup all day. They have free clothing donations for people to take when they come in, and a career center where we help people look for jobs and apartments.

As an intern, I gave presentations on public health topics, like vaping and immunizations. I also assisted with the management and organization of new donations, making sure the food was stocked and clean, and cleaning the center. I did a lot of work in the career center where I helped people find jobs, apply for food stamps, look for apartments, and navigate government assistance websites. This semester I also helped administer homelessness surveys, where we sit down and interviewed people who are/have been homeless in hopes of better understanding the barriers they face in finding supports, and ways in which the city of Biddeford and Seeds of Hope can assist the community.

Interning at Seeds of Hope was intimidating at first. There were a lot of people to remember, a new culture to take in, and just general nervousness being exposed to so many new people. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone by being immersed in a new culture. Seeds of Hope is often very high energy and personal connections become very important and strong.  I was surprised how easily and quickly some of the neighbors (this is what we call our patrons) opened up. My world view also shifted, because we were required to deliver compassionate care to anyone who comes into Seeds, no matter who it is. This made me realize that you can care about and value people outside of their beliefs and the decisions they make/have made. Learning the culture and becoming part of the community was an amazing experience that I appreciate.

I am interested in community non-profit work and community psychology, so this internship provided me with a lot of really great experience. I got the opportunity to understand the way a lot of government assistance programs work together, and the challenges of trying to apply for and maintain them. I am got a lot of experience offering an empathetic ear to anyone who might need one. One of my favorite parts of my internship was that it offered me the opportunity to meet and connect with people I would not otherwise have been exposed to. I also think it was a really important tool in accepting that people’s worth and character is not dictated by their education level, living situation, or their background. Seeds has made me realize that there may be a lot more populations that I am interested in working with than I initially thought; it has pushed me to widen my scope when looking at jobs for next year.

One thing this internship has made apparent to me is how interconnected a lot of the concepts we learn in class are in the real world. I have seen a lot of overlap of concepts within individual neighbors including things like recidivism, substance abuse/dependence, mental illness, and co-morbidity. I am also confronted daily with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is hard, from what I have seen, for people to get help or be concerned with mental illness when they don’t have a roof over their heads or know where their next meal is coming from. On the flip side, I have been exposed to vast amounts of resilience and strength. It is amazing to see the things people have had to go through and that they can still maintain a positive outlook on things.  Being in a real-life setting made a lot of the concepts much more tangible and easier to understand as well as connect them to one another. 

Our thanks to Fayla for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience. To learn more about Psychology at UNE, and our internship experiences, please visit:

My psychology internship experience with neuropsychological testing

A guest post by Daria Casazza about her PSY 300 internship

My name is Daria Casazza and I am a senior Health Wellness Occupational Studies and Psychology dual major. Upon graduating, I plan to attend graduate school to obtain a doctorate in occupational therapy. I hope to eventually work in a psychiatric hospital as an occupational therapist.

During the Fall 2019 semester, I interned with a psychologist that provides neuropsychological testing to individuals of all ages. The office is small and there are only three other people who work in the office. I participate in a number of duties at the neuropsych office. I observed how to give neuropsychological tests such as the WIAT, WAIS, Rorschach InkBlot Test, and different kinds of achievement evaluations and memory evaluations. In addition, I also made educational brochures for display. I made three brochures on sleep. One for children, adolescence, older adults. I was also tasked with entering referrals into the computer. In addition, I also helped train other workers at the office by being the “test subject” for evaluations. I have participated in memory and intelligence evaluations. I had the opportunity to have an EEG performed on me. That was super interesting and fun! The people at the office are are extremely kind and embraced me into their practice. The office, for the most part, is a stress free environment. It is extremely easy to learn and absorb all the new elements.

There are many aspects of this internship that I found valuable. Everyday that I was there I learned a new skill or lesson. I made connections with health care providers. I developed better communication and leadership skills as well. I also deepened my knowledge in the psychology field. I learned a lot of office work as well. Although that information can be dry, it is also super valuable. I began to memorize different insurances and the differences between private or government insurance. I entered a lot of data into the computer and I became skilled in office work. In addition, I gained communication skills. I chatted everyday with individuals who had developmental delays. I became better at listening and expressing patience with these individuals.

This internship will help me in my career because I am learning patience. I think that patience is an extremely good skill to have. As an occupational therapist I am going to have to be patient. In class, we talked about memory and attention. This internship reinforces these concepts. I can see what happens when an individual’s memory is not working properly or when individuals cannot pay attention to certain the evaluations. I am beyond happy to have been given this opportunity to work with a neuropsychologist. I cannot wait to see what I learn by the end of the year and see how much I can grow as an individual.

Our thanks to Daria for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience. To learn more about Psychology at UNE, and our internship experiences, please visit:

Vienna Canright (ANB ‘ 22) receives Goldwater Scholarship

The Psychology Department faculty and staff are proud to announce that Vienna Canright, Animal Behavior major (class of ’22), has been selected to receive a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Vienna is interested in wildlife conservation and consistent with this, has been conducting research with Dr. Zach Olson, Associate Professor of Psychology and core faculty member in the Animal Behavior program. In one of her projects Vienna and Dr. Olson developed an experiment to test if a novel method of detecting bats using environmental DNA (eDNA) would work. In another project, Vienna and Dr. Olson explored eDNA detection of Northern bog lemmings. These collaborative projects has already been presented at a professional meeting and publications are in progress. Vienna has also previously conducted field work on seabirds on the west coast.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Goldwater Scholarship, here’s a brief description from their website:

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

By providing scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the Nation needs in these critical fields. Over its 30-year history, Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded to thousands of undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to win other prestigious awards like the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship that support our Scholars’ graduate school work. Today, Goldwater alumni can be found conducting research that is helping defend the Nation, finding cures for catastrophic diseases and teaching future generations of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

Only 396 college students from the United States were selected for Goldwater Scholarships this year, putting Vienna in very good company.

Dr. Olson nominated Vienna for the award and shared the following thoughts about her and her work:

Vienna came to the [research] work with ideas, a fantastic ability to organize and trouble shoot, and most importantly had the drive to see the work through. … I have been impressed by her poise, focus, and clear professionalism when it comes to both her classes and certainly her research. …. Vienna has an inquisitive nature, and my conversations with her have revealed a deep passion for wildlife conservation.

personal communication from Z. Olson

We congratulate Vienna for this amazing accomplishment and look forward to her work over the next two years here at UNE!

For more information about the Animal Behavior major and the research projects that faculty and students within our department are conducting, please visit

Why You should study Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, and Psychology at UNE!

Are you thinking about starting college soon? Trying to decide whether UNE might be the right home for you? Are you interested in Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, or Psychology?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’re in the right place. We have three videos for you to learn from our current students about what they love about UNE and our majors. Watch just one or all three and learn about what make UNE an amazing place to be!

Animal Behavior Major

Watch Animal Behavior students and Dr. Zach Olson talk about their major here:

Neuroscience Major

Watch Neuroscience students and Dr. Glenn Stevenson talk about their major here:

Psychology Major

Watch Psychology students and Dr. Jennifer Steigler-Balfour talk about their major here:


Want to learn more about Psychology, Neuroscience, or Animal Behavior at UNE? Be sure to read more on our blog or visit our webpages:

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:

Alumni Night with Psi Chi

Jessica Sarro, Cammy Macomber, & Nicole Martin (all current students from PSI CHI) join panel members Victoria Bryan, Abby Lachance, Ally Symonds, and Julia Beebe

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, PSI CHI invited four of our Psychology alumni back to campus to talk about their lives since undergrad. Abby Lachance, Victoria Bryan, Julia Beebe, and Alison Symonds spoke about what they have been doing since graduation, what they did in undergrad to get them there, and their advice for current students.

Alison worked for Sweetzer after graduation and now is a Research Associate at Digital Research Inc. Julia works both at Violence No More (co-teaching a men’s group) and Work Opportunities Unlimited (providing support to adults with intellectual disabilities).

Victoria is currently a doctoral student at the University of New Hampshire in a social and personality program. Abby enrolled in a masters program in Justice Studies and the University of New Hampshire and is currently applying to doctoral programs in social psychology.

Audience members has a lively discussion with our four alumni and gained new understanding about just what it is that our students do once graduation is over!

To learn more about the Psychology major at UNE please visit

To learn more about PSI CHI, please visit

Psychology Faculty and Students Present (at NEPA)

This month (November 2019) faculty and students from across New England gathered to share their work and learn about psychology. Ten current UNE students, two alumni, and two faculty members from the Psychology Department attended the New England Psychological Association to present the work they have been conducting at UNE.

Olivia Kudas, Julia Beebe, Kristin Macek, Alexus Campobasso, Katelynn Paul, Benjamin Katz, and Dr. Trish Long (Clinical Professor & Chair, Department of PSY) presented their project from the Life Experiences lab entitled Sexual Assault and Bystander Behavior: The Role of Feminine Ideology, Rape Myth Acceptance, Exposure to Sexism, and Modeling of Appropriate Responses.

Dr. Long and alumni Benjamin Katz also presented a poster on Childhood Maltreatment and Parental and Friend Emotional Socialization.

Students from the Self and Close Others Relationship lab spoke with attendees about work entitled Women Decrease Mental Overlap with Same-Sex Friends and Family Members after Recalling Gender-Based Mistreatment, authored by Kana Colarossi, Ashley Karpowicz, Mackenzie Deveau, and Dr. Julie Peterson, Associate Professor of Psychology.

Work entitled Experimental Incorporation of Others into the Self-Concept: Does It Hurt More than It Helps? was presented by Hannah Christian, Sara Authier, Eric Lederman, and Dr. Peterson.

Students from the Reading Comprehension and Cognition lab were also well represented at NEPA. Work authored by Aubrey Sahouria, Nicole Martin, Ellie Leighton, and Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Associate Professor of Psychology, entitled Can Font Change How You Read? Exploring Font Type’s Effect on Recall and Reading Speed on E-Readers was presented as was a project entitled An Investigation of Reading Comprehension Ability Measures and Text Type, by Genna Companatico, Courtney Parent, and Dr. Stiegler-Balfour.

Dr. Stiegler-Balfour also presented a paper co-authored with aluma Ellie Leighton entitled An Investigation into the Effects of Structure Building Ability on Comprehension on E-readers for Expository and Narrative Text.

UNE undergraduates who are interested in exploring research opportunities in these three labs can contact the faculty supervisors. A list of all faculty in the department and their research programs can be found here: Click on faculty member’s names to learn more about their interests and work.