Notable Alumni from the MS in Psychological Science Program
Talley Bettens graduated from the Psychological Science program in 2021. During her time at UTC, she worked with Dr. Amye Warren and was lab manager of the Psych-Law Lab. She additionally served as the graduate coordinator and an instructor for research methods lab, and taught Introduction to Psychology. Talley is currently working on her doctorate in Criminology, Law & Society at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and continues to teach research methods for UTC during summer semesters. Her research examines wrongful convictions, confessions, guilty pleas, and adolescent legal decision-making. Her work at UTC prepared her for her PhD by providing her with multiple opportunities to conduct research and teach, while also developing her analytical, presentation, and critical thinking skills.
Dr. Jessica Hacker graduated from the UTC Psychological Science program in 2018. While at UTC, she served as an instructor and coordinator for the research methods labs, as well as the manager of Dr. Jill Shelton’s Cognitive Aging, Learning, and Memory (CALM) lab. Her time at UTC allowed her to gain invaluable teaching skills and advanced training in statistics. Jessica successfully defended her PhD dissertation in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program at Louisiana State University in February 2023 and is looking forward to graduating in May. During her time at LSU, Jessica worked under the supervision of Dr. Emily Elliott. She is currently on the job market with the intention of pursuing a career in academia in order to continue her passion for research, teaching, and mentoring.
Dr. Emily Pica graduated from the Psych Science program in May 2012. During her time at UTC, she worked with Drs. Amye Warren and David Ross and served as a statistics lab instructor and taught Introduction to Psychology. She now works as an Associate Professor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She teaches Research Methods, Forensic Psychology, Career Development, Wrongful Convictions, and oversees students’ research. Her current research focuses on ways to improve eyewitness identification, factors that impact juror decision making, and the lived experiences of those who have been wrongfully convicted. Her work at UTC prepared her for her teaching role and improved her analytical, critical thinking, communication, written, and presentation skills, which are all essential for her teaching and research roles.
Zachary Swanson graduated from the UTC Psychological Science MS program in 2022. During his time in the program, he was able to gain experience in grant writing, the peer review process, and publishing research. Dr.’s Hood and Shelton were mentors who guided him through the PhD application process, and he is currently in the Psychology PhD program at Claremont Graduate University on a full academic ride. His research interests are in optimal human development, which includes studying the positive development of character, purpose, and worldviews. Because of the work he is doing at CGU and did at UTC he feels he can make a difference in the lives of others by helping them practice self-awareness to become adaptive to life, while highlighting for others the power of service and values on living a fulfilling life.
Cindy Williamson is the Director of Assessment & Planning and SACSCOC Liaison at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). In this role, she leads the assessment processes for continuous improvement of academic and non-academic initiatives and programs throughout UTC, including planning, implementing, and directing institutional assessment and effectiveness activities for accreditation and strategic planning. As SACSCOC liaison, she is responsible for ensuring UTC’s compliance with all accreditation standards. Additionally, she is responsible for several campus-wide evaluation processes including Course Learning Evaluations and Faculty Rating of Administrators. Most important is her ability to analyze assessment and evaluation results and communicate effectively with a wide variety of faculty, students, administrators, and community partners.