Alumni Profile: Emma Speder ’16

Alumni Profile: Emma Speder ’16
Degree(s): BA ’16 Psychology with a Certificate in Education and Education Services – UW-Madison; MS.ed & Ed.S. ’19 School Psychology – UW-Stout
Current Occupation: School Psychologist- Watertown Unified School District

What are some of the benefits of your psychology degree?
The psychology degree from UW-Madison opened my eyes to many areas of study- cognitive, abnormal psychology, social psychology, etc. It has allowed me to gain knowledge of many aspects of how people think, why they do what they do, and how people perceive their every day experiences. Earning my psychology degree at UW-Madison gave me the opportunity to work in a research lab for three years. This allowed me to learn about the research process and statistics.

How did you find your way to your current profession?
I first learned about School Psychology while in my freshman year of college. I pretty much instantly knew it was the career path I wanted to pursue because it joined my two interests- psychology and working with children. During my undergraduate career, I pursued opportunities such as working at the Child Development Lab, joining Badger Volunteers and volunteering for an after school program at a local elementary school, and interning for a School Psychologist at a local elementary school. During the summers, I worked as a camp counselor at the YMCA to gain more experience working with youth.

When it came time to apply for graduate schools, I reached out to school psychologists from my home town and interviewed one to learn more about her daily job responsibilities. I researched the different programs in Wisconsin and applied to several. After interviewing at them, I decided to attend UW-Stout because of their heavy counseling emphasis. Graduate school was a whirlwind of textbook learning and practical, hands-on experiences in different area schools. I highly recommend their program to anyone interested!

What advice would you give to students graduating with a psychology degree?
My biggest advice is to plan your path after you graduate with your degree. Psychology is amazing because there are so many different ways you can use your degree! Having an idea of what my next step would be after undergrad helped me to specify what classes I wanted to take and what experiences I wanted to have outside of academics in order to prepare myself for the future.

If interested, please list an identity or group membership of which you are particularly proud: 
Member of the Psi Chi honor society (was Vice President 2015-2016)