former master's students:  WHAT ARE THEY DOING NOW?


Robert Carlisle


Robert Carlisle
3rd year Ph.D. Program
Baylor University
Waco, TX

Robert received his M.A. degree in 2009.  He just ended his 3rd year of a Ph.D. program in Social Psychology at Baylor University.  He also teaches as an adjunct at a local community college.  His dissertation research focuses on the factors that help or hinder forgiveness and the influence of religion on the process of forgiveness.

Robert stated that the following were benefits of the Master's Program:  One thing that "helped prepare me the most for what I am doing now is the opportunity that I had to teach a class.  Most other programs don't let you teach your own class without a Masters degree so having that opportunity has been really helpful.  The other thing that has been really helpful was the way the program helped me to be independent and learn to create my own projects.  This has really helped me in my PhD program in furthering the work that my advisor is doing." 

He advises that " as hard as they can in the program, and to work on getting something published while they are in the program.  Both of these things will help them get into a better position when they graduate."

Robert is pictured with his wife, Lauren and son, Quintin (currently 9 months old).

Sarah Forbes


Sarah Forbes
Director of Data Management and Reporting
Rose Hulman Institute of Technology
Terre Haute, IN

Sarah received her M.A. degree in 2003.  She is currently the Director of Data Management and Reporting at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, IN.  In addition, she teaches a course that assists first-year students in their transition to college.  Her current job gives her "the opportunity to travel to conferences a couple of times a year.  This has been a great way to network with colleagues, learn best practices, share ideas via presentations, and explore new cities."

Sarah studied alcohol use in college students while at Indiana State University.  Currently she is interested in investigating Bloom's Taxonomy and student choice of assessment.  She states that "The Master's Program was a great hands-on experience for understanding the life cycle of a research project...Having a background in statistics allows me to check the accuracy of the reports that are generated, and troubleshoot when there are errors."

She recommends that in addition to the thesis project, students should get as much research experience as possible because "As a student, this really helped to apply the skills I learned in class."

Wayne Hawley


Wayne Hawley
4th year Ph.D. Program
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA

Wayne received his M.A. degree in 2008.  Wayne will soon enter his 5th year of a Ph.D. program in psychology at Tulane University in New Orleans.  His dissertation research "primarily focuses on how stress and gonadal hormones modulate learning and memory and affective behaviors in rats."  He has published several papers in peer reviewed journals.

Wayne mentioned that "several aspects of the Master's Program at ISU...helped me prepare for my current position.  Courses such as Research  Methods and Statistics laid the foundation for addressing research questions and analyzing data, which eased the transition into a PhD program and gave me an advantage over other incoming first year students.  Additionally...the thesis at ISU is something that as a PhD student I do not get a chance to do very often: and it was "instrumental in preparing me for opportunities to lecture and for the research talks that I present during our ongoing colloquia series."  Given the two-year time period for the thesis, Wayne recommends beginning research early and tying to answer your research "question in a straightforward manner."  He also encourages students to become involved in the Psychology Graduate Student Organization and departmental activities by serving as a graduate student representative.

On a more personal note, Wayne married Kelly Gerhardstein, a graduate of the Psy.D. program at ISU.  They share their house with a dog, a native Hoosier (pictured with Wayne), and a cat, who is a native to New Orleans.

 Lindsey Paniccia


Lindsey Paniccia
Coordinator for Institutional Research and Adjunct Faculty
Psychology Department
Ivy Tech
Bloomington, IN

Lindsey received her M.A. degree in 2011.  Lindsey is currently the Coordinator for Institutional Research at Ivy Tech Bloomington and Adjunct Faculty in the Psychology Department.  She teaches introductory psychology and human sexuality.

She stated that her passion for teaching was due in part to the opportunity she has as a Master's student to teach introductory psychology and developmental psychology.  She also commented that "Graduate courses in research methods and statistics prepared me to work in an applied research setting and prepared me to disseminate data in meaningful ways.  I am also in the process of trying to publish my thesis!"

Lindsey's advice to Master's students is "to explore your research interests, you will be completely immersing yourself in your thesis" so "make sure your research is something you are passionate about.  Ask for help when you need it and support each other.  A graduate degree does not happen overnight, but the effort is completely worth it in the long run!"

Shannon Sexton


Shannon Sexton
Director of Assessment
Rose Hulman Institute of Technology
Terre Haute, IN

Shannon received her M.A. degree in 2003.  She is currently the Director of Assessment at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN.  Her position entails assisting the Institute in assessing student learning outcomes, helping faculty "design and implement classroom assessment projects," and assisting faculty in writing grant proposals "and managing the assessment of the project if it is funded."  Shannon also periodically teaches psychology courses as an adjunct in the Humanities and Social Science Department.

Shannon commented that "The research methods and stats courses are things I use every day.  They have helped me the most because I'm the one that designs and does these tasks for the faculty for the most part.  It was the extra research studies we undertook on our own though that really helped me to be successful.  Those gave me practice in the IRB process and implementing the full research process...I could not do my job now if I had only focused on the courses...I use the skills and analytical thought process daily."

Shannon encourages students to not "just go to class.  Be active, pursue your interests, explore and determine what you enjoy and what you don't.  Do both research and teach intro.  It's like a mini look into higher ed and I think it helps answer questions about what each student does and does not want to do when they're done.  Exploring everything also helps you find your niche and what you're good at.  Also, collaborate with the other MA/MS students.    Higher ed is all about networking and collaboration.  Start early."

In addition to her work at Rose Hulman, Shannon is pursuing a doctorate with a concentration in higher education in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Media Technology at Indiana State University.  She lives with her two children, ages 5 years and 18 months, and her two soon-to-be step children and fiancé.

 Flex Thoemmes


Felix Thoemmes
Assistant Professor
Joint Appointment Department of Human Development and Department of Psychology
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Felix received his M.A. degree in 2005.  He is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Human Development and the Department of Psychology at Cornell University.  His area of research is quantitative methods in the social sciences.  As he states, "Broadly speaking, I am interested in the areas of causal inference and missing data.  More specifically, I am interested in the application of propensity score methods and in selection procedures for auxiliary variables in missing data problems."

Felix stated that, "More than everything, the Master's Program at ISU showed me a perspective of what I could become and what fields of research I could explore.  Working with several different faculty members during my time as a student helped me to glimpse at the bigger picture of what the field of psychology has to offer."

He advises students to have a good relationship with their mentor.  "Your mentor, as a senior faculty person, knows from firsthand experience how students can best be helped to progress through the program.  Fortunately, at ISU faculty mentors are very interested in you as a person and your academic development, so you are in good hands."


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