Alumni Spotlight: Michelle Gagliano '11
Stratford Friends School
My Widener Experience
why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology?
For many years, I knew I wanted to work with children and in education. I come from a strong family of educators. From my background and my interests, I decided to pursue my doctorate in clinical psychology and my school psychology certification. This path allowed me to fulfill my passion for working with children with learning differences.
what made you choose widener?
I wanted a program with strong generalist training in psychology, with the ability to also specialize in school psychology. Widener offered five years of clinical training at various sites in the surrounding area. Each year I had the opportunity to gain different experiences in each setting. Many faculty/professors were also well known in their areas and fields of expertise. I felt that Widener would equip me with the training, skills, and network to be successful in my career.
My Professional Experience
what advice would you give a prospective student considering your graduate program?
A degree in clinical psychology offers many opportunities for careers, from working in a school, residential/inpatient settings, outpatient, private practice, to teaching. If you decide to pursue a degree in psychology, consider a dual degree of interest or a specialization. Become involved in leadership opportunities, approach professors about research possibilities, and become involved in local and national professional organizations. The program is five years and it may seem like a long time when you start, but it goes by fast. So, take advantage of all of the opportunities Widener has to offer early on.
how has widener prepared you for life after college?
There are so many opportunities to become involved in a variety of specialty areas, leadership opportunities, research, and advocacy at Widener. Widener not only gave me the background through classes, practicums and internships, but I had excellent mentors that guided my career in school psychology as well. I also received an MBA and biofeedback certification, which prepared me for work on my school’s administrative team and with my students during mindfulness techniques, respectively. Widener actually connected me with my current position as school psychologist at Stratford Friends School, and it is now my fifth year there.