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Fourth-Year Psy.D. Cohort Granted Internships

By Brett Wilson | February 26, 2014

Kerry McGregor.
Photo courtesy of Kerry McGregor.

Before they can enter the field as professionals, a required step in training for clinical psychology doctoral students is their final year: internship. Although applying for yearlong internship program can become a grueling process for fourth year Psy.D. students, the rewards are sweet.

On Friday, Feb. 21, Regent University's School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) participating Psy.D. students obtained an unprecedented 100 percent match rate from the National Matching Service (NMS), an organization that pairs students with their internship programs.

"This is the best outcome, and it's really an incredible statistic—much better than the national average of student match-ups," said Dr. William Hathaway, dean of SPC. "I'm very happy for the students, and it's just very affirming of how dedicated our faculty is, and it shows how well we've done in this context, particularly from a faith-based program."

According to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), the forum through which each student funneled their applications, the national average this year for Psy.D. programs matching at internships was only 62 percent.

"Regent's reputation is very strong—and this speaks to the caliber of the training program, the excellence of the faculty, the research and the scholarship," said Dr. LaTrelle Jackson, associate professor for SPC and director of clinical training.

Jackson was pleased with the announcement regarding all 21 of the Psy.D. students she guided through the application and internship process, but she was not entirely surprised by the results.

"If you speak to anybody since I stepped into this role in August 2013, I wanted a 100 percent match rate," said Jackson. "It was an interesting process because, of course, people shared their mathematical improbabilities of this. They clarified it as optimism, but I considered it faith."

Throughout Jackson's course dedicated to guiding students through this application process, she encouraged the members of the fourth year cohort to think of obtaining internships in two steps: obtaining an interview, then getting the internship.

"The internship year is such a pivotal year in a person's career," explained Jackson. "Those mentoring relationships that form can last a lifetime."

Jackson speaks from experience, having completed her own internship at Michigan State University; to this day she is still in contact with many of her trainers. Further, one of her former internship supervisors currently serves on the Diversity Board at Regent.

The significance of the internship year is what drove Kerry McGregor, a fourth-year Psy.D. student, to begin making preparations for her own internship.

Through the application process, McGregor was invited to 16 interviews, 13 of which required travel across the United States—touching down in California, Utah, Florida and Massachusetts—and embarked on 23 different flights throughout the month of January.

"Your regular life is put on hold, but you still have to turn in your assignments," said McGregor with a laugh. "It was a very crazy month, but it was all worth it."

Her tenacity in applying and obtaining interviews landed her a prestigious internship at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children's Hospital where she will work with children and adolescents from all over the world. This was McGregor's first choice for an internship site.

Although the process of obtaining an internship was "anxiety inducing," McGregor believes that the process has helped her learn a difficult life lesson: how to submit to God. She explained that the fourth year of the Psy.D. program has given her the ability to relate to others, reinforcing her empathy with future patients and molding her into a professional who strives for excellence.

"I think that part of being a Christian is taking care of others, the way that psychologists do, and doing it with the best of our abilities," said McGregor. "I want to help them in a well-trained way, but also in a spiritual way—we don't just want to be simply adequate, we want to be the best."

Learn more about the School of Psychology & Counseling.


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