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Behavioral sciences graduates share their early-career experiences

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, August 13, 2019/Categories: Students, Academic Affairs, Alumni, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Faculty, Psychology, 2019

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Kerry Tarrant graduated from Black Hills State University in May 2018 with degrees in psychology and mathematics. He quickly landed a job as a research assistant in a lab studying addiction, learning and memory, and sleep.
Behavioral sciences degrees including psychology and human services are some of the fastest growing and most popular majors at Black Hills State University. Recent graduates share their early-career experiences in the field.

Alyssa Gonshorowski from Evanston, Wyo.
Q: Tell me about your first job after college. How did you use your degree?
A: The Eating Recovery Center in Denver was my first job after graduating from Black Hills State. Working with individuals who have eating disorders is complicated and intense. It is a hard journey but I’ve been very grateful to see patients keep showing up to programming, regardless of their struggles, and continuing to work to better themselves.

Q: Why did you choose the behavioral sciences field?
A: I worked as a nursing assistant at the age of 16. I thought I wanted to be a nurse. I completed my associate’s degree at Western Community College and took my first psychology class. I realized I really enjoyed psych. My Clinical Psychology course at BHSU with Dr. Emilia Flint really grounded me to wanting to work clinically at that level.

Ian Craig from Rapid City, S.D.
Q: Tell me about your first job after college. How did you use your degree?
A: I worked as a floor supervisor at Lutheran Social Services Canyon Hills Center in Spearfish. The Psychology Department at BHSU did a great job preparing me for the realities of working with children at Canyon Hills. We worked with the children and young adults on behavioral therapy with both their actions and their cognitive skills. I enjoyed our collaboration with the Matthews Opera House & Arts Center to help our clients express themselves through art.

Q: Why did you choose the behavioral sciences field?
A: I grew up in a military family and my parents fostered many young adults and adolescents. Learning about their behavioral issues made me want to work with teenagers and adolescents to be able to help more.

Megan Schinestuhl from Gillette, Wyo.
Q: Tell me about your first job after college. How did you use your degree?
A: I moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where I received a job as a behavioral interventionist working one-on-one with children with autism and a variety of mental health issues. I work with elementary through high school students to improve their behavior in a social setting. My psychology background from BHSU has helped me understand triggers for human behavior, build rapport with clients, and deescalate situations using psychological or behavioral techniques.

Q: Why did you choose the behavioral sciences field?
A: BHSU professor Dr. Cheryl Anagnopoulos changed my world. Her General Psychology class intrigued my understanding and I wanted to learn more about human behavior. In my current job, there are many rewarding moments when clients are able to fulfill a target behavior independently, request items or breaks. That’s great reinforcement for us as interventionists!

Tristan Atak from Pierre, S.D.
Q: Tell me about your first job after college. How did you use your degree?
A: I started working as a residential counselor with kids aged 10-17 at Canyon Hills Center during my senior year at BHSU. I continue to use what I learned in the Abnormal Behavior course providing living services and therapeutic services. I remember reading through reports on my first day on the job and being able to identify the disorders of individuals I would be working with, thanks to case studies we completed at BHSU.  

Q: Why did you choose the behavioral sciences field?
A: I really enjoyed psychology class during high school and I knew Black Hills State had a good psychology program. My job is difficult, but it is also very rewarding. What keeps me going is being able to provide a safe and positive environment for kids at our facility with other trained professionals.

Kerry Tarrant from Rapid City, S.D.
Q: Tell me about your first job after college. How did you use your degree?
A: I’m working as a lab manager and research assistant for a university lab studying addiction, learning and memory, and sleep. At BHSU I was a psychology and mathematics major and I often seen the intersection of psych and biology in my work. The courses I took at BHSU prepared me for my job. I assist with experiments and make sure the lab runs smoothly with compliance, environmental health and safety, and animal welfare.

Q: Why did you choose the behavioral sciences field?
A: I participated in undergraduate research with Dr. Eric Clapham at BHSU. He was a big influence on my trajectory, because at the time I wasn’t sure which career path to take. With psychology there are many job types you can pursue. After several years of research experience alongside a faculty member at BHSU, it’s great to experience that much of what I learned is applicable to my job.

About the BHSU School of Behavioral Sciences
The BHSU School of Behavioral Sciences oversees the majors of psychology, sociology, human services, exercise science, and outdoor education. With a 100 percent job placement rate for student interns, the School of Behavioral Sciences is your link to a bright and successful future in the field you decide to pursue. As you discover truths about human nature, you will find new opportunities. Follow in the footsteps of previous students who continue to achieve amazing success in the workplace as well as in graduate and professional schools. Our outstanding faculty will help guide you through your education with classroom interaction, advising, internships, and research to assist you with your career goals.
 
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