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3 psychology alumni speak on career paths and life after Eastern

Published on December 06, 2021

3 psychology alumni speak on career paths and life after Eastern

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Department of Psychological Science held a series of three alumni events this fall. The events featured presentations from three alumni who spoke with current students about their careers and life after Eastern.

Brett Gelino ’16.
Brett Gelino ’16

“It is very helpful for our current students to hear from former students about their paths and the work that they’re currently doing,” said James Diller, professor and chair of the Psychological Science Department. “These events also provide the opportunity for our students to make connections with professionals in areas that they’re potentially interested in.”

The first presentation was held virtually on Nov. 3 and featured by Brett Gelino ’16, a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas in its Applied Behavioral Science Program. Gelino’s presentation was titled “Scaling up: Behavioral psychology and the pursuit of sustainable policy,” which focused on ways to reduce climate change by looking at behavior analysis and behavioral economics.

Gelino spoke of his undergraduate experience at Eastern and faculty mentorship with Diller. “Professor Diller’s style is one of empowering his students with understanding and confidence to make an informed career decision,” said Gelino, who also spoke on alumni engagement with current students. “Seeing and hearing from alumni and the paths they’ve taken since graduation might just provide that spark of inspiration to explore some new application, focus area, research topic or other avenue of specialization.”

Kaylee DeFelice ’18
Kaylee DeFelice ’18

The Psychological Science Department presented Kaylee DeFelice ’18 on Nov. 10. She’s a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying school psychology. DeFelice’s presentation focused on school psychology along with the factors and experiences that made her choose that field. DeFelice’s presentation was titled “From research to practice in the classroom: Pursuing graduate studies in school psychology.”

After acquiring her undergraduate degree, DeFelice left Eastern with a passion for researching and supporting child development. She shared how Eastern has equipped her with important skills and knowledge. “I could not be more thankful that I studied psychology at Eastern, as my experiences there made me feel well prepared for my graduate studies, and the undergraduate coursework I completed still remains meaningful to this day. I believe the expertise and support from the psychology faculty is a key reason I feel well equipped in my graduate work now.”

Andrew DiFiore ’10
Andrew DiFiore ’10

The final presentation of the series was held on Dec. 1 by Andrew DiFiore ’10, a licensed clinical social worker who presented on evidence-based practice in psychotherapy. DiFiore specializes in depression, anxiety, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and several other mental health conditions. DiFiore has brought his expertise to correctional and mental health facilities; his patients include families, adolescents, adults and couples.

“Get your own therapy,” said DiFiore when addressing one of the best ways to understand this line of work. “Not everyone needs therapy, but it’s a really good idea to sit in the other chair and try to understand it from the patient’s perspective.”

Many psychology students attended the presentations and saw how a psychology degree can lead to a fascinating career that is also beneficial to society. “(The events) showed me that the Psychological Science Department at Eastern is effective in dispersing information that is relevant outside of a classroom setting and can be appropriately generalized in a range of career fields," said junior psychology student Zané Chase.

Junior Christina Haynes added, “It was fantastic to see former students finishing up their Ph.Ds and advancing in their chosen fields. Seeing them made the idea of pursuing advanced degrees less abstract, doable and very much worth it.”

Written by Bobbi Brown