College and Career Diaries: Psychology

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Hello lovelies,

I am back at it today with another College and Career Diaries.

Today’s feature is someone who I feel blessed to have been able to communicate with.

With her extremely busy schedule, she took the time to answer some questions about her profession and field in psychology.

Some of you may know her as the YouTube sensation “BeautifulBrwnBabyDol”.

However, her real name is Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey.

Dr. Nina received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Truman State University. She then furthered her education and received a M.S. and Ph.D from  Oklahoma State University in 2011.

Ellis-Hervey has a plethora of accolades and distinguishing post-nominals. She has a Ph.D, is a licensed psychologist/licensed specialist in school psychology, nationally certified school psychologist, nationally certified professional life coach and is en route to become a certified personal trainer.

When it comes to her current occupation, Dr. Nina is a jack of all trades master of ALL.

She currently works as an Assistant Professor of School Psychology at Stephen F. Austin State University. Moreover, at the same university she is a School Psychology Assessment Center Director and L.S.S.P. Consultant.

Dr. Nina also has a plethora of psychological publications under her belt. I will leave them at the bottom of this post.

If you want to learn more about psychology and what it is like being a woman in psychology keep reading. Dr. Nina shares all.

 What does the job of a school psychologist entail?

My definition of a school psychologist is a bit broad as I am also a licensed psychologist. School Psychologists can be at the level of a Master’s or Specialist or a Ph.D.  At the Master’s level, school psychologists work in the schools and work as team members or heads of teams to support teachers and families with helping children be successful.  In a nut shell, they apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.

At the Doctoral level, you find school psychologists in many arenas as they have been trained clinically as well. They are fully operating psychologists, if in the schools they are often administrative.  They may also be found in hospitals, universities, clinics and private practice, not only working with children, but clients/patients of all ages.

Is graduate school necessary?

Yes, graduate school is necessary. If you are wanting to operate outside of a school a Ph.D. is also necessary.  You must also complete a pre-doctoral internship and a post-doctoral internship.

How can someone prepare in undergrad for graduate school?

Take the time to feel out the field if you want to be successful.  Plan early!  Join groups and get a strong mentor.  My mentor in the past was a child clinical psychologist and helped me learn what I wanted to do.  I was able to see his daily grind as a professor and having a successful private practice.  Psychology to that degree is not for everyone, and the more exposure you get early the better so you know what’s best for you. Also keep your eye on programs, preferably those with American Psychological Association Accreditation.

What is a common misconception about psychologists or psychology majors?

I think often we are viewed as people who will be able to help everyone with everything. However, the profession has so many areas of specialty and no one psychologist knows it all.

What is the difference between a psychologist and a counselor?

It is important to know that psychologists and counselors are both mental health practitioners. Both must hold a state license. Counselors have master’s level education, though their master’s programs are longer than those in many fields. Psychologists have training at the doctoral level. It takes a doctoral degree to sit down and work one on one with clients as a clinical, counseling or doctoral level school psychologist.  Counselors and psychologists often have overlapping duties.  Psychologists are more likely to work with individuals with serious mental illness. They are trained to perform psychotherapy with a range of clients, but in many settings, general therapy roles will go primarily to counselors and other master’s level mental health practitioners.  Psychologists who are in private practice can choose to focus on counseling however. Psychologist’s in practice typically administer a wide range of tests including IQ tests and tests of neurological function.  However, counselors are much more limited in the tests they can perform.

What were/are some challenges or obstacles you face as a black woman working in the field of psychology?

Psychology is a white male dominated field, especially at the doc level. I didn’t and still don’t often see people who look like me that are very successful in the field.  For that reason I have learned to BE the example.  I had to grow up fast in the profession and served as a mentor to others who were like me early in the game.  I had to really find the right mentor for me and she is an amazing Black, counseling psychologist.  I made sacrifices.  I often felt I had to study harder, be stronger and even sharper.  I worked 4 jobs through graduate school and my GPA never fell below a 3.8.  I stayed focused and determined though I didn’t have many models like me around.

Can you elaborate on what your study with black women and hair was all about?

The study encompassed many things. One of my areas of study is self esteem, and more specifically in women of color.  Not to just give the abstract but it was perfect to explain.

A great amount of literature is dedicated to racial identity and self-perception, but very little addresses how hair may play a critical role in how African American women view themselves and others. African American women choose to wear their hair in a variety of styles, including weaves, wigs, dreads, chemically processed, or non-chemically processed (often referred to as “natural hair”). Researchers conducted a study that explored 282 African American females from urban and rural communities, varying in age, socio-economic status, and education levels and discussed the reporting of the hairstyles they currently wear, what styles they believe are more attractive/unattractive, what styles they believe are more professional/unprofessional, and what influenced the style they currently wear. In addition, these women completed the Rotter’s Locus of Control and Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scales. Regression analyses indicated there was a slight but significant positive correlation between a higher internal locus of control and those who choose to wear their hair in a natural state; however, the regression showed no statistically significant predictive value for hair selection. A discussion of the psychological implications for the findings, thoughts of self-perception, and how these findings can be used for future practice is addressed.

(PAPER LINK: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0021934716653350)

In a nutshell what was the outcome/result of the study?

The interesting thing is that we found that people who chose natural styles often valued their own opinions, thoughts and feelings about self. It takes one tough cookie to truly show the world who one I and be unapologetic!

How can you be competitive as a psychology major applying to graduate school?

I believe the best way is to plan your path early and stick with. I really did my research, became a McNair Scholar (http://mcnairscholars.com/about/).  I received much help studying for entrance exams and studying the requirements of a program of interest.  It is never too early to ask questions.  Ask your professors about their past experiences and programs, research, look at national resources such as APA.  Learn more about current practices and make sure you are well versed on the programs that are at the top of your list.

Why is psychology so important to you?

I love the profession because it has been around many years and further, psychology shapes who and what we are and grow to be. If you are strong mentally you can face the world, be successful and quite resilient.  In essence I get to help people come into their own and improve their quality of life.

What do you love most about your job?

I love helping to mode new school psychologists and psychologist into great future practitioners. I love watching their minds explore the field, see them learn the ropes and become very successful in the field.

If you couldn’t be a psychologist what would you be?

I would still be a motivational speaker and a musician/performer. I love helping others, entertaining them, motivating them and seeing them grow.

Psychological Publications:

Ellis-Hervey, N., Doss, A., Davis, D. (2016).  [Review of the book: Implementation of Mental Health Programs in School: A Change Agents Guide, by S. Foreman].

Ellis-Hervey, N., Doss, A., Davis, D. (2016).  African American personal presentation:  Psychology of hair and self-perception.  Journal of Black Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021934716653350, 1-14.

Ellis-Hervey, N., Steward, R., Doss, A., Nicks, R. Davis, D. (2016).  African American women and Self-esteem:  A study of the impact of age, family of origin, and current life circumstances.  Psych Discourse, 40, 2, 12-17.

Ellis-Hervey, N., Doss, A., Davis, D., Wilhite-Bradford, A. (2015).  The development of school psychology assessment centers: training, service delivery and research.  Journal of Human Services: Training, Research, and Practice: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 4. [Active Link February 4, 2016: http://scholarworks.sfasu.edu/jhstrp/vol1/iss1/4/ or http://scholarworks.sfasu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=jhstrp]

Alston, G., Ellis-Hervey, N. (2014).  Exploring public pedagogy and the non-formal adult educator in 21st century contexts using qualitative video data analysis techniques. Learning Media and Technology: Vol. 40, No. 4, 502–513 [DOI October 26, 2014: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2014.968168 ]

Ellis-Hervey, N. (2014).  Resilience is the key. [Review of the book Schooling for Resilience: Improving the Life Trajectory of Black and Latino Boys, by E. Fergus, P. Noguera & M. Martin]. [Active Link: http://edrev.asu.edu/index.php/ER/article/view/1844.]

Ellis-Hervey, N. & Kallerud, R. (2007).  Portrayals of african american men on primetime television dramas. McNair Scholarly Review: Vol. 12. 4, 30-35.

A few under final preparation and review.

Where Is My Prince Charming?

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Hello,

It seems as though you all enjoy my posts related to love, singleness, and relationships in general.

While I am definitely not an expert, I do have some wisdom passed down from my mother, as well as from learning lessons from other people.

With this in mind, today I wanted to talk about waiting for your “prince charming.”

Prince charming is the fictional “knight in shining armor” that comes to a young woman as the perfect man of her dreams.

He is everything you could ever want in a man and more. He has the looks, personality, status…everything. He is your soul mate.

Most girls have fantasized about the day when they will meet the love of their lives.

For some girls, it happens early on in life. We’ve all heard the term “high school sweetheart.”

Personally, I was not one of those girls.

I did not want to be one of those girls who get married very young. Plus, I felt as though the majority of high school relationships end in termination before graduation.

I put my mind on college or university as the place where I would be more likely to be in serious relationships.

While I have only been in college for a little under a year, I have already noticed some personal truths about dating here.

  1. Some Guys Are Still Not Ready To Settle:

You would think that men in their early 20s would want to stop playing games and get into a relationship. For some men, that is not the case.  Some guys use college as the way to be f-boys and players. They don’t want to be tied down, even if a good girl is ready for them.

2. Meeting Guys Organically Is Not As Easy As It Seems

Dating apps such as Tinder have taken away the spontaneity of meeting guys. I am definitely not an advocate of dating apps for many reasons, but it seems as though that is the way people want to meet up now.

3. Slim Pickings

While I cannot deny the fact that the prospects for men are significantly better in college, I do know that sometimes it is still difficult to find quality men. Maybe you haven’t seen anyone you find attractive? Maybe the good guy is taken? Maybe the guy doesn’t meet your spiritual standards?

I’m definitely not a pessimist when it comes to love, but those were just some factors that I have observed and experienced.

Prince Charming, Mr. Right, or whatever you may call him will meet you at the right place and right time. When a man is destined for you, life itself will not be able to stop him from finding you.

You won’t have to guess if he is the right one for you. He will show his intentions for you directly. No games to be played whatsoever.

I have said this in other posts, while your waiting for your prince charming-do you.

Enjoy the wait and the possibility of not knowing who it will be.

The one tip that I would give is to be patient. My mother always told me that there is a time for everything. When it is your season of love, your prince charming will surely come.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Stay Blessed,

Abisola XoXo

 

Why Jesus Will Always Be My Valentine

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Hey guys,

I wanted to share with you my sentiments on Valentine’s Day.

For those of you who don’t know, I was born in February, therefore making me a pisces.

With this in mind, we are known for being hopeless romantics. That is definitely the case with me.

I love “love”. I love the idea of romance and building relationships romantically and platonically.

However, Valentine’s Day has always been one of those days that I have found somewhat overrated.

Yes, I agree that there should be a day dedicated to  appreciating the ones you “love”, but I feel as though you should do that everyday.

I find it baffling that we spend so much time, effort, and money on material things for people. But if you put it into perspective, how much time and effort are you putting into loving and appreciating your Savior.

This is why Jesus will always be my Valentine.

No, I am not cursing myself into permanent singleness and solitude. When I do get into a relationship, I will have an official “Valentine.”

Nonetheless, I am saying that Jesus is and should always be the love of your life.

Here are some reasons why he is the perfect “Valentine.”

Unconditional Love

God is our creator. He made us in his image and sent his son Jesus to die to pay the price of our sins. His love for us is deeper and greater than any human being can possibly have.  Even when we do wrong and we fall on the wayside, he is still there for us. He will never let us done.

Far Beyond the Physical

Focusing too much on the physical aspect of a relationship can hinder the emotional connection. However, with Jesus, you don’t have to worry about that. When you connect with God, the intimacy that you share with him goes far beyond any physical relations.

Stress Free

When you are single and make God your Valentine, you don’t have to worry about scurrying to find the perfect gift. The only gift that God wants from you is you. He wants to know you and to be able to have a relationship with you. He’s not looking for what he can take from you. Rather, he wants to give you an abundant life.

While there are many more reasons why Jesus is the best Valentine. I feel as those three summed it up pretty nicely.

If you want more content relating to V-day, or love in general, please feel free to comment through the Contact section of the blog.

 

That’s all for now.

Have a blessed day,

Abisola XoXo

 

 

 

 

 

Black History Month Spotlight: The Black Women In My Life, Who Give Me Life

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Figure 1: My Mom, Sister, and I

Hello everyone,

For those of you who don’t know, in the U.S. February is Black History Month. This is the time of the year in which the contributions, culture, and essence of black Americans in this country are celebrated and appreciated. As a black Nigerian-American, I am so grateful for this time in the year to truly embrace my culture. With this in mind, I would like to appreciate the black women in my life who have made a positive impact. As black women, I feel as though it is important to build each other up, and each individual in which I am going to mention have done that in their own unique way. So sit back and let’s get into it.

My Mama

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I could talk about all the wonderful aspects of my mother from today until tomorrow and still not be able to capture the essence of her fabulousness. My mother has taught me so many life lessons and shaped me into the woman that I am today. My mother embodies grace, poise, wisdom, and a caring and compassionate heart. She has instilled in me Godly values and has shaped me into what it means to be a strong black woman. She taught me to love myself as a black woman. She has taught me that despite what society my think “My black is beautiful.” Moreover, as an African she exemplifies queen-like behavior. This post is not solely about my mother so I must move on. However, leave with this knowing that my mother has played the biggest influence on my life.

My Sister

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This woman right here is my other half. If the definition of soulmate was not based on romance, she would exemplify everything that a soul mate has. Even things that I do not feel comfortable to share with my mother, I can share with her. I look up to her and put her on such a high pedestal because she is truly an amazing. She radiates pure unadulterated joy and compassion for others. Her smile truly lights up the world and her laugh causes the birds to sing.  I can always count on her for her advice and wisdom. As a black professional and future doctor she is the epitome of black excellence and black girl magic.

My Grandma

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My grandma, the matriarch of the family. She is sassy, fierce, and tells you things the way it is, without sugar coating it. Despite her age, her zest and passion for life prevails. Her love for God and spiritual level is one that I aspire to reach. I can always rely on her for interesting stories and honest critique. Because of her I have a place in New York. She is truly BK’s (Brooklyn’s) Finest.

My Cameroonian Sister

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Although biologically, I only have one sister, throughout the years, Cassie Angu has become an honorary sibling. For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while now, you may remember Cassie from our interview about college. The relationship that I have with her is strong and unique. We are both extroverts, and although that may think that would cause a personality clash, we actually compliment each other. I can always count on her to give me a good laugh, be a support system, and simply vent. We have so many memories together. I have watched her blossom into a confident, beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate woman. Her melanin runs deep and she slays her life effortlessly. I thank God for our relationship.

Well, there you have it. These black queens have all blessed my life in distinguishable ways. While there are other people that have influenced me, these individuals deserved a shout out. Who has played a major role in your life. Let me know in the comments. (Via Contact  section)

 

Stay Blessed,

Abisola XoXo