Georgia State’s School Psychology, Ph.D. program is one of the best in the nation, and that made it a no-brainer for doctoral candidate Jhanelle Adams to elect to attend. Adams won a fellowship with the Southern Regional Education Board- State Doctoral Scholars Program. The program offers financial assistance, research funding, and career counseling.
Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Adams received a B.S. in Economics and International Affairs with a minor in Law, Science, and Technology, and a Master of Public Policy from the Andrew Young School at Georgia State University.
What made you choose Georgia State University and the College of Education & Human Development over other schools in the area/country?
I was initially pulled in by the balance between the research and the school psychology curriculum which directly addressed my passions of continuing research and becoming a school psychologist. Additionally, I also thought my research priorities meshed really well with existing faculty. However, after my interview, I felt at home. The faculty and the existing students were amazing – you could sense the community. I also knew that it wasn’t a show for interview day, but that the people involved in this program (faculty and students) had a genuine interest in my holistic success as an individual and not just my matriculation through the program.
Why do you want to become a school psychologist?
I want to become a school psychologist because it enables me to combine my desire for conducting research, and equipping leaders with the necessary knowledge to interpret and use data meaningfully with my desire to work with and for children by understanding their psychological development and advocating for their entire well-being.
What fascinates you about research? Or not? What has surprised you about what you’re learning/have learned?
The program evaluation aspect of research is part of my daily job, so I can’t say I’m surprised by much. However, I love using research and evaluation outcomes as a tool to advocate for social justice especially for underrepresented groups. I think it’s important to use data from valid and reliable research to make good decisions for our kids. My hope is that as I go through my doctoral program, I’ll learn more advanced research methods which can then refine my approach to advocacy from a technical lens, while also becoming more involved with the communities I wish to serve, to help me become a better social justice and equity advocate.
Is there a professor you’d like to highlight?
I am beyond grateful for Dr. Roach and the entire School Psychology faculty. I’ve had quite a number of unforeseen challenges and surprises during my first year, which could be easily dismissed at other places. However, they truly accommodated me and supported me through my new chapters and made sure that I was okay, which is a big deal!
What tips can you give a student just starting to help them be successful?
Be transparent about what your needs and challenges are. Build true and meaningful relationships with your cohort and your faculty.
Give us either a favorite quote, a song lyric or poem, or something a professor said to you that you find inspiring.
I use my high school key club’s major emphasis theme quite a bit – “Children: Their Future, Our Focus.”