Ashley (Maehr) Alexander PSY.D. (’07)
Clinical Psychologist and Fellow at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
- What was your favorite experience when you were majoring in psychology at Oglethorpe?
I really enjoyed creating my personal autobiography during History & Systems. This assignment encouraged me to look at my personal history and life experiences in a new way. I still have a copy of what I created for this assignment and take a look at it from time-to-time to see what has changed, how I have grown or how I am different, and to remind myself of the constants in my life.
- What was your favorite psychology class and why?
It is very difficult to choose just one course, but I would have to say I enjoyed my Abnormal Psychology course with Dr. Carton more than any other class at OU. I thought it was so fascinating to learn all of the diagnostic criteria, prevalence rates, and various treatments for such a wide variety of psychological diagnoses. If I had to pick a second, I would say Introduction to Psychology (also with Dr. Carton) was what really cemented my interest and passion for the field of Psychology.
- What did you do immediately following graduation from OU and how did it affect your path in life to date?
The fall after graduating from OU, I began graduate school at the Georgia School of Professional Psychology (Argosy-Atlanta) to pursue my Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD). Choosing to attend graduate school has impacted my life path in too many ways to count. I recently completed my internship and I am currently halfway through my postdoctoral fellowship. I defended my dissertation and passed the national licensing examination along the way. The decision to attend graduate school in the field of psychology was exactly right for me. It has allowed me to learn the basic skills and advanced tools that I will need to continue a long career in therapy and assessment. I truly feel that my undergraduate work at OU prepared me for success at more advanced levels of training.
- What are you doing today and what inspired you to enter that field/profession/position?
I am currently a postdoctoral psychology fellow in a pediatric hospital setting. I work with children and adolescents (and their families of course) who have been diagnosed with a variety of medical illnesses. Following the completion of my fellowship and acquisition of my license, I plan to venture into the world of private practice where I hope to do therapy and complete assessments with children, adolescents, and families. My niche area will be with the pediatric/medically ill population, but I would like to continue working with a broad variety of psychological diagnoses and concerns as well.
- How do you use your psychology undergraduate experience in your work or life today?
I utilize my undergraduate training on nearly a daily basis. I still remember, use, and discuss so many of the seminal psychology studies, taught during Introduction to Psychology, that have shaped the field. Having this foundation of information really allows me to understand how the field of psychology has been shaped and has transformed over time. In addition, the incredible foundation I received in social psychology, stats and research methods, theories of personality, and abnormal psychology continue to serve me well when working with my clients and when completing research projects. The skills I received while at OU certainly helped get me through graduate school and to the place I am today.
- What advice do you have for students earning a degree in psychology at OU or who might be considering your profession?
I think pursuing a degree in psychology is amazing because it allows you to choose so many different avenues. You can take a traditional psychology approach, like I did, and continue on to graduate school to earn your PsyD or Ph.D. But you can also market your skills and your understanding of human behavior to so many other fields such as social work, business, PR, or education, just to name a few. In terms of advice, I think that it is important to truly enjoy and be passionate about whatever it is that you choose to do in life. Make sure that your time and effort spent in undergraduate classes reflects that!