Featured Alum: Lindsay Scott ’04, ’13
Lindsay is a Psychology II for the New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Her primary job responsibility is conducting Forensic Risk Assessments for the purpose of informing treatment and service planning for people with disabilities who have become criminally involved.
She also provides crisis and training consultation to families and community agencies.
Please describe your path from SUNY Brockport to your current position.
I attended undergraduate school at Brockport from 2000-2004. I knew I was interested in the field of Psychology but was never certain what I wanted to do. I picked up the Psychology major pretty immediately and looked for practical ways to expand my options such as other compatible majors and internship programs that would be feasible with my schedule.
I ended up picking up a second major in Applied Communications and a minor in English. During this time, I began working per diem as a direct support worker for Continuing Developmental Services, an organization that provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD).
Following graduation, I took a full-time position in the field of ID/DD with Lifetime Assistance, Inc (LAI). I started growing my family and with tuition assistance through my employer, enrolled in SUNY Brockport’s Master of Psychology program in 2010, fulfilling requirements for both the research and clinical tracks. At this point, I knew I was interested in the field of developmental disabilities but was uncertain if I wanted to pursue a clinical or more administrative role.
My thesis focused on an Industrial Organizational Psychology topic and was directed by Dr. Laurel McNall. Specifically, I conducted a longitudinal study of direct support employees at LAI investigating several variables, but namely, the impact of perceptions of Work-Family Enrichment on critical outcomes such as job performance, job satisfaction, and employee turnover. I was able to glean from this study valuable information on employee retention for LAI, complete my thesis, and adapt for publication in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. I completed my clinical practicum at LAI under the supervision of a licensed psychologist and the Coordinator of Psychological Services. My practicum experience allowed me to apply concepts I cleaned from the Applied Behavior Analysis, Assessment, and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention courses that were part of my Master’s Program.
Following graduation, I immediately got a position as a Behavior Specialist with Epilepsy-Pralid, Inc (now known as Empowering People’s Independence, Inc.) writing behavior intervention plans and conducting staff training. A project central to my position was partnering with the New York State Office of Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to transition several forensically involved individuals from institutional settings to the community which provided me with the opportunity to broaden my skill set to forensic risk assessment and treatment.
After establishing the forensic program locally, I was promoted to Supervisor of Clinical Services at EPI and played a vital role in establishing operations in the Binghamton area. In 2017, I took a position with New York State OPWDD as a Master’s level psychologist. I worked as a clinician in the state operated group home, day habilitation, and family care settings for two years before transitioning to my current role in OPWDD’s Regional Office, primarily conducting forensic risk assessments and providing crisis consultation to voluntary agencies.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned while at SUNY Brockport?
Public speaking. I used to be terrified of it! I took a public speaking course in my undergraduate program and it was one of the most uncomfortable things I ever did. Students were required to speak to the class on a different topic each week of the semester. With practice and repetition, I was able to gain the confidence needed to tackle presentations on other platforms such as scholar’s day, poster presentations, thesis defense, and training staff in my various employment settings.
What is your favorite memory from your time at SUNY Brockport?
I look back so fondly to my freshman year of college and dorm living at McLean! It was such an exciting time.
What advice would you give to current SUNY Brockport students? Any special advice for our psychology majors?
Be flexible and don’t get too caught up on any one particular outcome. Follow your interests, take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, and build relationships whenever you can. Everything else will fall into place.
What learned skills and/or experiences from your time at SUNY Brockport were the most transferable or useful in your current position?
Specific to the technical aspects of my career, Applied Behavior Analysis, Assessment, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Intervention have been the most useful. Research methods/statistic courses are also essential to be able to apply assessment tools and to critically consume information. More broadly, the cumulative impact of each of the courses (both undergrad and grad) in the areas of Social Psychology, I/O Psychology, and Communications provided me with a depth of interpersonal, sociological, and organizational understanding that is applicable to any work setting and I believe has been a major contributor to my success.
Please describe any challenge/obstacle you faced while at or since leaving SUNY Brockport and how you overcame/dealt with it.
Procrastination! Especially with daunting tasks such as thesis. The best way to overcome is to link with an advisor who has a clear interest and experience with the research you are conducting and excels in the areas you might not be so great at. Dr. McNall is extremely organized and well-versed in the research process, including publications. We had an excellent system of communication and timelines for drafts. She was invested in my work, not only because she cares about her students, but also because my work was central to her own research interests. Without her support and patience, it would have been extremely difficult for me to get through the entire process independently.