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The Buzz

Waynesburg graduate discovers her passion and goes on to pursue a Ph.D.

Kayla Ayers Jun 1, 2023
2023 WU graduate Tess Marlin

Class of 2023 graduate Tess Marlin’s undergraduate journey was more than simply earning a bachelor’s degree—it led to the discovery of her calling and passion in the field of psychology.

“I came to Waynesburg [my] freshman year as a forensic science major, and while I loved it, I discovered that it wasn't the right path for me,” explained Marlin. “When I eventually switched my major to psychology, I immediately knew that was the right path, yet still didn't know what to do.”

The abundance of the discipline left Marlin with an array of specialty areas to focus her career, which she explained was overwhelming in the beginning. Through taking a variety of courses, she began to learn what felt right for her.

“I started learning more about school psychology and fell in love with it. I knew that was what I was meant to do,” added Marlin.

Now, Marlin is continuing her educational journey at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, in order to obtain a Ph.D. in school psychology. During the program, she will complete four years of coursework and a fifth year in a clinical psychology internship.

The encouragement from University faculty members, like Dr. Marissa Mendoza, assistant professor of psychology, was a driving force in Marlin’s discovery of her passion for school psychology.

You won't find a community that fully supports you and a place to grow in all aspects of life like you will at Waynesburg University.”

Tess Marlin ('23)

Marlin recalls of Dr. Mendoza, “She pushed me to go for my Ph.D. right after graduation because she believed in me and my abilities. Without the mentorship and the classes here, I may have not been headed in the direction I’m going now.”

And that personalized encouragement carries through the program, according to Marlin.

“Waynesburg University’s psychology program really pushes you to grow independently,” shared Marlin. “Our professors are incredible people who want us to succeed but won't do the work for us. They teach, guide, mentor and celebrate.”

Through a new internship site established by Dr. Mendoza, Marlin had the opportunity to intern at Chartiers-Houston School District in Washington, Pennsylvania, during her senior year. Within this internship, she was able to gain hands-on experience in her desired field.

As an intern, she had the opportunity to lead small groups of students within the counseling office and shadow different personnel within the school system, including her supervisor Nicole Bockstoce, coordinator of student services and special education director. The broad experience Marlin received during her internship included areas of school psychology, school counseling, social work and special education.

As she looks back on her time at Waynesburg, now as an alumna, Marlin said she “wouldn’t trade these years for anything in the entire world.”

“You can go to pretty much any school and get a degree in psychology,” explained Marlin. “But Waynesburg's program teaches you to not rush college just to get a degree and get out. The time you have here at Waynesburg is special, and it goes by in the blink of an eye. You won't find a community that fully supports you and a place to grow in all aspects of life like you will at Waynesburg University.”