Student Spotlight: Amanda Carlson, School Psychology MA/CAGS Program

Photo of Amanda Carlson with WJC background

My name is Amanda Carlson, and I am a dedicated and determined later-in-life
graduate student. After previously being a college dropout majoring in Special
Education, I made the decision to re-enroll in college for the 2021-22 school year and
finished my bachelor's degree in an online program specifically designed to support
teacher assistants in obtaining their bachelor's degrees.

During my early adult years, I struggled to handle the stress of college courses while
working full time, which led to my decision to leave school. However, after working for
Child Find/Child Outreach for 10 years in Providence, RI, I realized that I wanted to
make a greater impact and complete my education. It was during this time that my son
was facing challenges with his behavior in preschool.

During my time finishing my bachelor's degree, my son was struggling in school. After
almost being expelled from his second program, I decided a change was needed.
Motivated to support his educational journey, I took an FMLA leave to help him access
the necessary supports. After a consultation with my son's pediatrician, we sought the
expertise of a child psychologist to evaluate him. The evaluation revealed that he
possessed strong cognitive abilities but struggled with regulation skills and executive
functioning. He was diagnosed with ADHD, and we initiated the process of developing
an Individualized Education Program (IEP) before he entered Kindergarten.

Throughout this experience, I developed a deep admiration for the role of a school
psychologist, as they have the ability to support teachers in their instructional practices
and help students thrive in the general education classroom. I have always been
passionate about finding effective interventions to promote success in the least
restrictive environment for all students. Discovering that the role of a school
psychologist aligns perfectly with my skills and aspirations has been a dream come true.
I am committed to furthering my education and professional development to become a
knowledgeable and compassionate school psychologist. With my personal experiences
and dedication to supporting students, I am confident that I can make a positive impact
in the field of education.

As a mother of two, it has been a struggle to attend school full time for three years.
Leaving a full-time job to pursue my education was a difficult decision. Juggling the
responsibilities of parenting, managing expenses, and maintaining a single income
household can be incredibly demanding. However, I remained dedicated to pursuing my
education despite these hardships.


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