Like many college students, Lindsay Washington’s journey didn’t start with the goal of getting her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Temple.
“At first, I was interested in retail merchandising. I started at Montgomery County Community College with the goal of working in the fashion industry,” said Washington, 22, of Wyncote, who transferred to Temple University Ambler in the spring of 2018. “It didn’t take too long to realize that it wasn’t for me. I wanted to find something where I could help people, where I could make a difference.”
She didn’t have to look far for inspiration.
“My brother Paul has a learning disability; he is on the autism spectrum and requires services from school to be successful. Sometimes, from what I’ve seen, there is a lack of the appropriate services and advocacy for students like my brother,” she said. “I felt that I could do the most good if I studied school psychology so that I could provide that advocacy, so that I could help students be successful.”
During a Child Psychology and Treatment class at Temple, Washington was given an advocacy project that helped crystalize her interest in school psychology even further as she put together a brochure about Asperger Syndrome designed to provide essential statistics and information to state and local representatives and community members.
While support for children with autism and other learning disabilities has increased over the years, “there is still so much more than needs to be done,” Washington said.
“There’s definitely a lack of a call to action. Schools have to fight for the dollars they receive to provide support for students that need it,” she said. “My brother turns 18 in May; he's graduating this year but where is the support and advocacy for him after he leaves high school? These students are capable of doing anything they want in life; they just need the proper support to succeed.”
After attending Montgomery County Community College for two and half years, “Temple was always my first option” to complete a psychology degree, Washington said.
“The transfer process was easier than I ever could have expected. I like the atmosphere of the campus, I love the feel of it — it’s like I’m in my backyard, I feel at home,” she said. “The courses at Montgomery County Community College set me up for success and it was a very smooth transition to Temple. I was ready to take my upper lever Psychology courses without hesitation.”
While completing her degree, Washington was also able to participate in an internship with the Mitzvah Circle Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting people through tragedy and crisis.
“Clothing, basic necessities, the organization tries to assist people in crisis at every level. My role was to talk with individuals to see how they were doing and how their situation had changed,” she said. “I heard a lot of stories about so many different types of hardship — most just needed a little help to get back on their feet. We might see them once or might see them every few months. It really gave me essential insight into how to talk with people who are struggling and connect with them so that we could get them the proper help and support they needed.”
For her next stop, Washington has applied for entry into the School Psychology Master’s program at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Temple University, Washington said “gave me the skills to enter the real world.”
“I had the opportunity to experience my profession while still completing my degree, which truly helped me determine if the field was right for me,” she said. “I know this is the right path for me, this is what I am meant to do. I had classes that spoke to what I want to do with my life and have learned skills that I will use throughout my career. My advice to anyone is that once you find your path give it your all; accept successes and learn from the bumps along the way.”