Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier University of Louisiana
Department of Psychology

Xavier University of Louisiana
1 Drexel Drive
New Orleans, LA 70125
504-520-7400 (ph) 504-520-7952 (fax)

Dr. Lisa J. Schulte
Department Head


Beverlin del Rosario '17

Pursing a PhD in Health Psychology and Clinical Science at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York

I switched from Biology to Psychology after shadowing surgeons for a summer. I realized that although learning about the human body is fascinating, my true interests were in understanding the human mind—how people behave, think, and interact. As a Psychology major, I found various resources that enriched my experience at Xavier. The MARC and McNair programs enabled me to develop both as a researcher and a scholar by funding my projects and conference presentations. Furthermore, connected with passionate and caring professors, I was in the adequate environment to thrive as an independent thinker. Additionally, courses like Health Psych, Cognitive Psych, and the Psychology of Stereotypes and Prejudice transformed my life. Not only did I learn about the theories, but I also applied them to my daily life. From changing my eating habits and exercise regimen to understanding my own biases in how I appraise the world, I grew as a person. I gained some understanding as to how the world functions, how people operate, the cognitive processes responsible for decisions we make daily—the learning is priceless. Today, as a PhD student studying the cognitive-emotional factors leading to self-injurious behaviors, I can apply skills that I acquired at Xavier to my current research projects. Xavier plays a significant role in my being the scholar that I am today.

Candice Claiborne '09

After graduating from Xavier University in 2009, I was awarded a full fellowship to pursue my doctoral training in a combined psychology program at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Throughout my graduate school career, I learned that my true passion for psychology lies in psychological testing. I completed assessment practicums at UCSB's Psychology Assessment Center and Santa Barbara Juvenile Justice Mental Health Services to expand the repertoire of my psychodiagnositc skills and assessment techniques with both clinical and forensic populations. At these sites, I conducted assessments of clinical disorders observed among children and adolescents, as well as risk assessments of offenders in mandated treatment. After that, I completed my pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship at Riverview Psychiatric Center, which is the state of Maine's only inpatient forensic hospital. I provided long-term individual psychotherapy to clients who have been deemed not criminally responsible due to their mental illness. I obtained my doctorate of philosophy in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology (Clinical Emphasis) from UCSB in 2014.

Currently, I am a post-doctoral fellow at Atlanta Psychological Services, a group practice that specializes in comprehensive psychological evaluations for children and adults. My primary professional goal is to become a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Georgia. Another professional goal is to move forward with my dissertation research and apply it to clinical practice. My dissertation examined the effects of culture-specific projective tests on cultural competence and therapeutic alliance with ethnic minority clients. In moving forward with this area of research, I plan to enhance my competence in culturally-informed psychotherapy and advocate for the use of culturally sensitive assessment to appropriately evaluate the psychological functioning of ethnic minority clients.

Cyrell Roberson ‘13

Pursuing PhD in School Psychology at the University of California Berkeley

The first semester of my junior year at Xavier University of Louisiana marked the beginning of my career as a researcher. As a psychology major, my introduction to courses such as Research Methods, Statistics, and Advanced Research provided fundamental skills that I’ve applied in my doctoral training. In addition, courses such as Social Psychology, Psychology of Learning, and Black Psychology sparked my curiosity and influenced my decision to pursue my current research interests. My research interests focus on identifying the positive, psychosocial variables that enable high achieving, low-income, minority students to overcome adversity and excel in academics. Because of the rigorous coursework and expertise of my professors, I was well prepared to pursue and successfully complete summer research programs at UC Santa Barbara’s Academic Research Consortium in the Brain and Psychological Sciences Department and at Educational Testing Services (ETS) with leading experts in their fields. These early research experiences along with the skills that I acquired at Xavier provided the foundation for the work that I’m currently involved in as a doctoral student in UC Berkeley’s School Psychology Program. I’m certain that without the rich, theoretical foundation and analytical skills provided by the supportive faculty at Xavier, as well as the generosity of the Ronald E. McNair Program, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Kathrina McGary ‘14

Recieved Masters of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling at LSU Health Sciences Center
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor

I transferred to Xavier as a Psychology major in Fall 2010, after my sophomore year. I was coming from a larger university where it seemed like I just could not find my place in the grand scheme of things. In the two and a half years I was at Xavier, I was provided with opportunities that I otherwise would not have experienced. My classes and experiences thoroughly prepared me for anything I would want to pursue post-graduation. I was involved with research and had the opportunity to design my own research study as part of one of my courses. The classes I took as an undergraduate exposed me to the type of material and class structure that I would encounter in the graduate setting. My undergraduate experience in the Psychology department prepared me in ways that some of my peers missed out on. I attended LSU Health Sciences Center for my master's degree in Clinical Rehabilitation and Counseling. I'm happy to have found a field that integrates mental health, physical health, and overall well-being. The things I learned and accomplished in undergraduate are still opening me up to new opportunities even two years after graduating. Due to my background, I was able to continue my involvement in research and I am still doing well academically. The Psychology department at Xavier gave me the tools I need to succeed in future endeavors--whether I enter the workforce or pursue my PhD. The material I learned has been extremely useful, but the skills I gained were even more valuable and integral to my success.

Ninma Fearson ‘10

Received Masters in Public Health from George Washington University. Works as Program Associate, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)

I currently work as the Program Associate at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) in Washington, DC. I obtained my Masters in Public Health from George Washington University and  Bachelor's in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana. My Psychology degree provided me with a comprehensive understanding of how social contexts & behavior influence health and other illness. This in turn has equipped me with an understanding of how to address health issues that plague societies.

One of the most beneficial experiences I had at Xavier was participating in the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program during the summer of 2009. This is a program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health whose primary focus is to provide underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to carry out health disparities research. Some of the goals of the program include: -Training in experimental research designs with the application of current scientific literature; Development of culture and ethics at foreign sites which train those interested in pursuing international careers in health disparities research. My research took place in Suzhou, China. I was immersed in a foreign culture and had to adapt to my surroundings. Engaging in this program helped me to collaborate with other graduate students in research to address health disparities from a global health perspective. I particularly specialized in data analysis of risk factors between metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular events in a Mongolian population in China. During this time, I developed increased awareness about some of the pertinent health issues existing within the Chinese population. The experience gave me a bit of insight on working in the Public Health field and increased my knowledge in research methods which still impacts my work till date.

Frances Olajide ‘07

Pursuing doctorate in Educational Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Frances is currently a Dean's Council Leadership Fellow pursuing a Doctorate of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) at Harvard Graduate School of Education.  The Ed.L.D. Program is preparing Frances for systems level education leadership. The program builds on her psychology background and builds her knowledge from the fields of education, business, and public policy. Through this practitioner based doctorate, candidates pursue course work at HGSE, the Harvard Business School, the Harvard Kennedy School, and the other schools at Harvard.

Following graduation from Xavier, Frances joined the New York City Teaching Fellows program after working as a teacher, tutor and camp counselor during her time at Xavier. She has worked as a teacher, coach, curriculum designer, and consultant and has served schools and communities in New Orleans, Ghana, New York and Newark. Her study of psychology at Xavier and commitment to community service propelled  her work at KIPP: Infinity Charter School and helped her realize how connected education was to her love for psychology. 

Frances' work passion is helping teachers manage classrooms and plan rigorous, culturally relevant curriculum to drive student achievement. Some of her work to date is highlighted in the first year curriculum for Relay Graduate School of Education's MAT degree and teacher certification programs and The Center for Transformative Teacher Training's No Nonsense Nurturer Course.

Frances is most invested in research and practice that facilitate building pipelines into the teaching profession for traditionally under represented communities, teaching reading and writing, growing instructional leadership and capacity, school culture, culturally responsive teaching, and community and family engagement.

Symielle Gaston ‘07

Earned PhD in Epidemiology at the LSU Health Sciences Center Completing a Postdoctoral Program at EPA

I obtained my Masters in Public Health from LSUHSC in December 2012 and went straight into the PhD program after.  Being in the Psychology program at Xavier helped tremendously to prepare me for a future career in research.  Though I worked for a few years after receiving my bachelor of science and before continuing my education, my experience as a MARC scholar prepared me to become an independent researcher.  Additionally, the mentorship from my advisors and mentor, Dr. Hammer, gave a nice personal touch that you don't receive when at larger universities.  At Xavier and in the Psychology department, the faculty truly care about their students and know you personally. This type of relationship continues well after graduation from the program.  I find that in many larger universities, they are not as focused on the one-on-one relationship in which they can know you well enough to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and assist you in your development as a person, student, independent thinker, and leader.  Being an alumna of the Psychology Department of Xavier University is something I appreciate, for it prepared and cultivated me to become not only a researcher, but also a better person who is more understanding of the world around me.

Gabrielle Gloston ‘14

PhD student at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston

Currently, I’m a first-year student in the Neuroscience Department at the UT Health Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. My undergraduate career at Xavier, in addition to outside experiences, has proven beneficial in both the lab and the classroom. While the introductory psychology courses were important for laying a foundation, the upper level course material and structure prepared me for the courses I’m taking now in terms of structure and what is expected of me. In the lab, I have been able to use some of the basic skills (ex. data analysis) that I learned as an undergraduate research assistant. The lab that I’m rotating in uses tools like fMRI, EEG, tDCS, and MEG to study cognitive processes in a psychiatric population, which is ideal because I get to implement some tools/knowledge from my undergraduate career along with the information that I’m learning now. I’m thankful to the Psychology Department’s faculty for providing me with a broad knowledge of mental functions and human behavior, allowing me to further explore behaviors/cognition with respect to the nervous system.

Brittany Blackwell, MS ‘08

Psychology Instructor at Northwestern State University

I believe that Xavier University as a whole as prepared me for graduate school and the work world in so many ways. The rigorous course load taught me to be strong and to have a good work ethic. Being that I was Psychology Pre-med and also involved in campus organizations, I had to learn to balance everything and develop time-management skills which I continue to use now as a Psychology Instructor who is also an advisor. Furthermore, due to the great faculty in the Psychology department at XU, I developed a deep love for and understanding of Psychology. I felt very prepared and competent when entering graduate school. My Psychology classes at Xavier definitely gave me a leg up in many of my Clinical Psychology graduate courses. Because of influential teachers and classes, I was inspired to become a Psychology instructor and even incorporate assignments that were similar to assignments I did in my undergraduate Psychology classes. If I had to do it all over again, I would not choose any other school or major.

Nelanhta Riley ‘11

M.A. in Clinical Psychology, working as a Mental Health Professional

During my time as a graduate, I really came to appreciate my ability to comprehend and to compose research oriented literature. These abilities were an essential component to completing my master’s thesis. Although intimidated, I was able to approach thesis work with confidence, as I was sure of my abilities to compile peer reviewed articles and argue why my research addressed gaps in the current literature. If it were not for the McNair Program and the dedicated professors in Xavier’s psychology department, I would not have been as successful in my graduate career. Since graduating with my Master’s in Clinical Psychology, I was recently employed at the Rehabilitation Services of New Orleans as a Mental Health Professional. I am looking forward to working as a therapist and providing quality mental health services to my community

Alycia Boutte’ ‘11

Master of Public Health degree from University of Texas

Attending Xavier University of Louisiana was one of the best academic decisions I could have made. I attended Xavier from Fall 2007- May 2011 as a Psychology major and Sociology minor, and graduated Summa Cum Laude. The faculty in the Department of Psychology provided me with excellent mentorship, challenging coursework, opportunities to conduct and present research, the opportunity to update a chapter of a psychology textbook as a research assistant, and facilitated the process of having my research published in XULAneXUS undergraduate research journal. Participation in the McNair Scholars program, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Psychology Club, and Psi Chi (International Honor Society in Psychology) helped me focus my career goals while being a well-rounded person outside of the classroom. My undergraduate experience in psychology thoroughly prepared me for excelling in my Master of Public Health program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Austin, TX. During this time I was able to build upon my research skills, investigate behavioral health issues on a broad scale, and look at the problem of obesity from an individual level, environmental level, school level, community level, and policy level. Xavier's psychology department provided me with a solid foundation for the next step in my career. I'm looking forward to attending a doctoral program in public health in Fall 2015, researching nutrition, obesity prevention, and emerging technology for improving health behaviors in minority communities.