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Psychology Graduate Student Awarded Dissertation Grant

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 08:31am | By: David Tisdale

Stefanie SchrieberA University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Psychology graduate student has earned a prestigious grant that will support her dissertation research.

Stefanie Schrieber of Pekin, Illinois recently received the Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP) Dissertation Grant Award, which encourages high-quality training in research with the goal of encouraging students to continue their work in productive settings, ultimately advancing the field of school psychology.

The grant may be awarded to up to four graduate students who have submitted proposals, which are evaluated based on the significance of the research, innovation, approach, methods and analyses, mentorship plan, and budget plan. It will cover the costs associated with Schrieber’s dissertation project, which focuses on school-based consultation.

“Specifically, I am evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention titled ‘Test-Driving,’ which is an intervention utilized to improve treatment integrity (the extent to which an intervention is implemented as it was intended),” Schrieber said. “The Test-Driving intervention allows teachers to briefly implement, or test, different interventions with a student they have referred.

“After they have tested these interventions, they can choose which intervention they prefer and would like to implement for a longer period of time.”

An important element of the school psychologist’s role is provision of consultation to teachers and staff regarding student behavior and academics, recommendation of interventions and supports to improve these areas, and to use the data collected in order to make decisions about whether students may need additional supports in the school.

“We often observe interventions being implemented without full integrity (e.g., missing or skipping steps of the intervention), and the main concern, then, is that students are not getting the full intervention packages as they are prescribed, and thus we cannot be sure whether a lack of student progress is due to an incomplete intervention, or due to an actual student need,” Schreiber said.

“Test-Driving serves to decrease the likelihood that any steps are missing during intervention, because it allows teachers to test a variety of different interventions before selecting which one best fits their expectations.”

Schrieber plans to pursue a career in academia following completion of her program at USM, continuing her research in school-based consultation and behavioral interventions, as well as teaching and mentoring the next generation of school-psychologists.

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to experience grant writing, reporting, and fund-allocation firsthand as a graduate student,” Schrieber said. “Securing grant funding is an experience I can include in my CV, and potentially increase my marketability when applying for faculty positions after graduation.”

The USM School of Psychology is housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Learn more about the School at https://www.usm.edu/psychology/index.php.

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