Department of Psychology

Alumni Spotlight

Reverend William Edward Henry Sr., Class of 2013

Capella Distinguished Master of Science Psychology Graduate (ABA), 2016

“As an underpaid full-time employee, a full-time student, and a full-time father, earning my Bachelor of Science was a process that I many times questioned finishing. I had many obstacles however; almost all of my professors valued my input as credible, making KSU a place that I often came not just to study, but to relax. Kennesaw State University saw my efforts and awarded me with the prestigious Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”

After graduating from Kennesaw State with his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, William Edward Henry Sr. moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he worked as a teacher until 2015. While teaching in the UAE, he was called “Juma” because the people developed a love for him and his respect for the culture. When William returned to the United States, he wanted to have a positive impact on learning for special education students with behavior issues, so he decided to pursue his Master’s degree in Psychology at Capella University. William’s unique style of teaching was so successful that it was copied and distributed to the entire self-contained classroom program.

William credits the faculty in the Department of Psychology as one of the key influences in his educational journey. The detailed instruction in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) style of writing from Dr. Pam Marek and the opportunity to be an undergraduate teaching assistant with Dr. Kalisha Hudgies-Smith helped William develop the skills he needed to not only succeed in his master’s program but to graduate with distinction. In looking forward, William is currently in a Ph.D. program at Capella University studying the psychology of learning, and his APA skills have already placed him at the top of his class.



Hannah Dollinger

KSU’s 2016 Outstanding Student in Psychology

The Psychology Department congratulates Ms. Hannah Dollinger on being named KSU’s 2016 Outstanding Student in Psychology. In addition to maintaining an excellent academic record, Hannah has been an active contributor to a number of research projects with KSU faculty. She worked with Dr. Taglialatela and Dr. Mallavarapu to study whether educational signs and displays at the zoo are effective in educating visitors and in promoting long-term conservation attitudes. She has also worked with Dr. Pearcey to examine the effects that knowledge of a disorder has on perceptions of the individual affected. Hannah has also been a teaching assistant for Dr. McNamara’s Research Methods and Introduction to Psychology courses. Hannah’s goal immediately following her studies at KSU is to earn a master’s degree focusing on Applied Behavior Analysis. She then plans to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, designing and implementing behavior plans for children with autism. Given Hannah’s outstanding work as a student at KSU, we are confident that she will excel in meeting these exciting goals!



Joseph E. Phillips, Jr., Class of 2016

Georgia Institute of Technology, Master of Science in Analytics

After his service in the U.S. Marine Corps ended in 2014, Joseph transferred to Kennesaw State to pursue a degree in Psychology. During his time as a student in the Department of Psychology, Joseph helped to restart the Undergraduate Research Club where he served as the Vice President through the spring of 2015. Joseph was also a member of the Collegiate Recovery Community through which he was invited to participate in the Alcohol and Other Drugs Peer Education program that is sponsored by Kennesaw State’s Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery. In addition to his involvement with these extracurricular organizations, he served as a teaching assistant for Dr. Alamilla’s Research Methods and Statistics course as well as Dr. Williamson’s Experimental Design and Analysis course.

"I had my first ‘aha’ moment during one of Dr. Alamilla’s lectures. He was explaining the distribution of sample means. In the lecture, something Dr. Alamilla said made it click. I suddenly got it and in getting it was able to comprehend how statistical inferences are made and how incredible the abilities of this process are. I have had many ‘aha’ moments at KSU since, but that first one put me on my path to Georgia Tech." – Joseph Phillips
Two courses set the tone for Joseph’s experiences at Kennesaw State: Careers in Psychology with Dr. Helms and Research Methods with Dr. Alamilla. In Careers in Psychology, Dr. Helms taught Joseph the importance of setting goals for his career and then working backwards to develop a plan of action for the present. Research Methods was the course where he got his first experience applying statistics to the study of psychology. The importance of statistics within psychology led Joseph to enroll in the Applied Statistics and Data Analysis minor which was the foundation for his interest in Georgia Tech. While at Georgia Tech, Joseph plans to earn a Master of Science in Analytics. He acknowledged that the heavy emphasis the Department of Psychology at Kennesaw State places on the scientific method and statistics as well as writing and presentation skills were all influential in shaping his choice to study at Georgia Tech.

Joseph believes his success at Kennesaw State came from his attitude toward scholarship. He made an effort to go beyond studying the materials presented in his courses to focus on applying what he was learning. He credits professors he met along his journey at KSU as guiding influences on this approach: Dr. Alamilla and Dr. Williamson in the Department of Psychology; Dr. Ni in the Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences; Dr. McKelvey in the Department of Political Science and International Affairs; and Professor Nagai in the Department of Foreign Languages. He encourages other students to seek advice from their professors, because he received many valuable suggestions and insights from these educators at KSU.



Jona Mays, Class of 2016

Vanderbilt Law School

"Psychology courses, such as the Psychology of Prejudice and Privilege, have driven my passion to study law and to focus on underserved and underrepresented populations." – Jona Mays
With her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Jona Mays is ready to face new experiences and challenges. In the fall of 2016, she will be attending Vanderbilt Law School. While she considers her acceptance to Vanderbilt Law School as one of her primary educational achievements, the support and encouragement from faculty members in the Department of Psychology pushed her to pursue her interests and apply to a variety of law schools.

During her time in the Department of Psychology, Jona spent two semesters as a teaching assistant for Dr. Saul Alamilla and three semesters as a student assistant in the Psychology Lab. These positions gave her the opportunity to help students and develop critical thinking skills and creative approaches to learning. Learning about issues of diversity at Kennesaw State University is one of the reasons Jona chose to go into law because she wants to be a voice for individuals who are not heard.