Alumni Profile: Jaclyn Psenka ’20

Alumni Profile: Jaclyn Psenka ’20
Degree(s): BA ’20 Psychology and BS ’20 Human Development and Family Studies – UW-Madison, MA ’23 Clinical Psychology – The Chicago School
Current Occupation: Clinical Psychology Doctoral student at The Chicago School

What are some of the benefits of your psychology degree?
Obtaining my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin – Madison prepared me to begin my career as an aspiring clinical psychologist. I felt more qualified to engage in clinical work (assessment and therapy experiences) as well as research immediately following graduation. Earning a psychology degree is the first step for multifarious opportunities for a fulfilling career.

How did you find your way to your current profession?
After receiving my BA in psychology and BS in Human Development and Family Studies, I became an ABA therapist to immerse myself in clinical experience. Although I love working with children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, I aspired to be a psychologist. Since my admission to The Chicago School in 2021, I have had practicum involvement at a behavioral health hospital and a community mental health center. Both experiences have populations that have experienced different forms of trauma. Working with this population has further developed my passion to continue to provide trauma-informed, culturally-sensitive assessment and therapy for individuals that have experienced unique hardships. I am currently developing my dissertation around my clinical interests. Specifically, I hope to advance research on the process of community healing after mass gun violence.

What advice would you give to students graduating with a psychology degree?
Explore your options, ask questions, and remember why you chose this degree! There are so many opportunities that obtaining a degree in psychology can bring. Using resources such as these can help open your eyes to the possibilities. This is why asking questions to better understand what those possibilities hold is important. Talking with those that have chosen unique routes may help guide you in your career decision. Lastly, psychology is important no matter what you do with your degree. I encourage you to use your knowledge and skills to uphold the UW-Madison mission to “[…]discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help ensure the survival of this and future generations and improve the quality of life for all.”

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