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Mary Jean Rainsford, PsyD/School Psych '21 
PsyD in School Psychology


July 29, 2021
PCOM school psychology graduate Mary Jean Rainsford, PsyDWhat inspired you to pursue a career in school psychology?

I wanted a career in which I could help others. I've always had a passion for education and children's mental health, and school psychology seemed like a great opportunity to advocate for these passions in my work.

Why did you choose PCOM for your graduate education?

I earned my Master's in School Psychology from PCOM in 2016. Initially, I planned to continue my enrollment as a student in the Educational Specialist (EdS) in School Psychology program, but the opportunity to transfer to the new PsyD in School Psychology program came up so I pursued that one instead. The PsyD program provided the opportunity to deepen my knowledge in the field while also providing more training experiences and flexibility in my future career. 

Were there any faculty or staff members that were influential during your time at PCOM? 

The entire school psychology faculty is fantastic! I appreciate their emphasis on the practical application of what is taught in the classroom. They have been genuine in their support while also challenging me to continue improving. I am incredibly grateful for them.

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your life or your time at PCOM?

I am most proud of my dissertation on school psychologist burnout and self-care. Professional wellbeing is crucial to the work that we do as school psychologists. I loved getting to learn more about this topic and what it currently looks like in the field. Also, I defended my dissertation (virtually, due to COVID-19) in May 2020, meeting my personal goal to defend before starting my internship.

What impact do you hope to have after graduation?

After graduation, I am starting a postdoctoral fellowship with Springfield Psychological and their school-based REACH program. During my postdoc year, I plan to apply for licensure in Pennsylvania. In my career, I hope to continue to serve youth and their families by supporting their mental health and educational needs. I also hope to help train future psychologists someday through supervision.

What advice would you give to a graduate student that is starting their journey?

Start self-care now! A good self-care practice is constantly present and always evolving. Getting that practice set in place as a student will serve you moving forward as you go through classes and field experiences. As mental health professionals, we cannot take care of others if we do not take care of ourselves.

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