By Julia Duvall
Western Carolina University’s first graduating class from the Doctor of Psychology program were hooded during the graduate commencement ceremony in May.
The three graduates, Rebecca Daniel, Alyssa Raggio and Heather Styles-Turbyfil, started the program before it was even officially accredited.
“The students really took a leap of faith with us,” said Jon Campbell, director of WCU’s PsyD program. “They were passionate enough to get involved before it was even an official program. That really speaks volumes about their dedication to the field of psychology.”
The PsyD program earned initial accreditation from the American Psychological Association in August 2022. The APA’s Commission on Accreditation conducts a rigorous review of each program that satisfies the APA accreditation standards. The process consists of a comprehensive review of the program’s curriculum, a review of student’s clinical training experiences, a two-day site visit and review of student progress through the program. APA accreditation attests to the quality of the doctoral training program at WCU.
The three graduates, who began the program in the fall of 2019, completed yearlong APA accredited internships which fulfilled the final clinical training experience to earn the doctoral degree.
A year of supervised postdoctoral clinical training is required for licensure as a psychologist in North Carolina.
To meet this requirement in 2023-2024, Daniel will complete her postdoctoral training at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem; Raggio at Psychology and Counseling Associates in Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Styles-Turbyfill at the Nebraska Internship Consortium-Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska.
“I could not be prouder of the students in our first PsyD cohort,” said Kia Asberg, head of WCU’s psychology department. “They took a chance on us and paved the way for the students behind them, while also being excellent humble ambassadors for our graduate programs and WCU. I am also grateful for Dr. Jonathan Campbell’s leadership in his role as program director, and for the support the PsyD program and McKee training clinic has received – including the WCU Board of Trustees, our administration, the Graduate School, the College of Education and Allied Professions, and faculty and staff. This was truly a team effort and I am excited for the next phase.”
“My experience in the PsyD program felt like coming home after earning my MA at WCU a few years prior,” Raggio said. “The faculty truly have the students’ best interests in mind and are our biggest cheerleaders.”
"My time at WCU was invaluable,” Daniel said. “I always felt supported by our faculty, staff and supervisors at various practicums. Because of this, I was able to pursue and receive the training experiences that I wanted and now feel prepared to succeed as a psychologist.”
For more information about the PsyD program at WCU, visit: http://psyd.wcu.edu.