Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2021
As our children and loved ones make their way into the school year, we're thankful for alumni educators and professionals, one being Dr. Leah Hunter '13. During her time at Westminster College, she majored in Psychology and is now a licensed psychologist, having received her Master's in Education and Ph.D. in School Psychology from Penn State University.
Her research evaluates intervention initiatives for young children, where she and her colleague, Dr. Karen Bierman, study a program that evaluates preschoolers' social, emotional, and academic skills through teacher professional development. Benefits of the program—called REDI—continue into middle school.
Hunter credits her career path to professors and alumni connections. Her connection to Dr. Amy Herschell, a Westminster alumna from the University of Pittsburgh, led to her first research position through an internship at the University. That experience, rigorous coursework, and research projects prepared Dr. Hunter for graduate school.
Dr. Hunter is grateful for the support of Westminster faculty and alumni. She believes that personalized undergraduate training prompted invaluable educational experiences and success post-graduation. Dr. Hunter feels that her learning was worth her professors' time, and appreciates that experience.
She also thanks alumni who supported her education and allowed her to prioritize academic growth. Alumni donations allow students to engage in internships, advanced Capstone projects, and Undergraduate Research and Arts Celebration (URAC) presentations. These endeavors give Titans top-tier educational benefits, and, according to her, are possible because of alumni donors.
She urges students to ask for what they need, and ask if they don't know what they need. "Your persistence in both your academic ambitions and your investment in mentor relationships will serve your own career and enable you to provide opportunities for future students."