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"As far back as I can remember I have been fascinated with trying to understand why people behave as they do. I guess you could say I was interested in Psychology before I knew it was a field of study."
Doctoral Student, Counseling & School Psychology
"As far back as I can remember I have been fascinated with trying to understand why people behave as they do. I guess you could say I was interested in Psychology before I knew it was a field of study," says Ashley Chason, a student in the combined doctoral program of Counseling Psychology and School Psychology.
Ashley credits part of her enthusiasm for the field to an "excellent teacher" at Okaloosa-Walton College, as well as experience she gained as an undergraduate research assistant here at Florida State. "These experiences convinced me to get a doctorate so that I could serve, in addition to my counseling practice, as an adjunct professor at a community college—I want to help others in the same way."
Steven Pfeiffer, professor of Educational Psychology, has edited Handbook of Giftedness in Children, which is now in press. Ashley and her major professor James Sampson co-authored a chapter for the book, entitled "Helping Gifted and Talented Adolescents and Young Adults Make Informed and Careful Career Choices." She says, "It was an extremely rewarding experience to collaborate on it with him. Dr. Sampson has a genuine concern for students' well-being, an upbeat, positive attitude, and an ability to present criticism in a constructive and caring manner."
Serving as the doctoral student representative for the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Ashley "worked with other student leaders to plan and organize graduate program orientation and faculty-student socials."
"As a counseling psychologist, I will be providing assessment, consultation, and interventions to those in need," she says. To more fully understand and develop the qualities of a leader, someone her patients can look up to, she recently completed a Student Leadership Training seminar put on by Dr. Laura Osteen of the Center for Leadership and Civic Education.
Her second love, ballet, has played a large part in her life. From the age of 11 to college age, she attended ten classes per week, plus all-day rehearsals on Saturdays. "I've attended summer programs at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and was a two-time scholarship recipient from the Joffrey Ballet School."
At the age of 19, she became a teacher of ballet and is now conducting classes at the Performing Arts Center of Tallahassee. In 2006, she was awarded First Teacher of the Month. She says, "I have seen how much ballet can enhance one's life, even if it isn't pursued as a career. I am interested in advocating for opportunities in the Arts that will help strengthen children's self-esteem, and I hope to start a program that would offer serious ballet training to underprivileged children."