Angela Claffey Pidala
Angela (Claffey) Pidala is a member of Marist's M.A. in School Psychology Class of 2016. She holds a BA in Psychology from SUNY New Paltz and is currently employed as a School Psychologist for the Barnstable Public School District.
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions.
Prior to attending Marist, I worked at Victoria’s Secret as a sales associate and at a local pizzeria as a hostess and waitress. Although these positions were not directly related to my current field of study, I was provided with the opportunity to build upon my communication skills and ability to work as a team member. The ability to effectively communicate and be a member of a collaborative team are imperative to my current role as an intern and future role as a school psychologist.
What are your career goals?
My ultimate goal is to be an effective school psychologist who can competently advocate for the academic, social-emotional, and behavioral success of all students.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist?
I chose to pursue my degree at Marist for several reasons. One such reason was the size of the School Psychology program’s cohorts; I believed that being a member of a small cohort would greatly facilitate relationships with other candidates, as well as faculty. The faculty was yet another reason why I chose Marist because they all have had experience working as school psychologists, which brings a refreshing dynamic to class discussions and learning how the material learned in our courses is relevant in the school setting. There are also opportunities to work with faculty members on research projects and other activities that can build upon a student’s interests and further their professional development. Of course, the campus is beautiful- an added bonus when choosing to pursue my degree at Marist!
What was the best experience you had as a student?
As a student at Marist, my greatest experience was working closely with both my peers and faculty members on collaborative projects. The program, as a whole, challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone; therefore, working on major projects and presentations was a challenging, yet amazing and unforgettable learning experience! Such collaboration led to presentations at school psychology conferences at both the state and national levels, which has helped me greatly as a practicing school psychologist.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development.
I completed the Academic and Behavioral Interventions course in the Spring of 2015, which was during my second year of the program. This course enabled me to research various web resources and evidence-based interventions that can be used in the school setting. The final project for this course was to create one academic and one behavioral resource handbook that contained such resources and interventions. These handbooks have been particularly meaningful to my internship year, as I have shared such resources with my internship site and have consistently referenced the handbooks throughout my experience in the schools. Additionally, presentations based on these resource handbooks were accepted at the New York Association of School Psychology (NYASP) state conference, as well as the National Association of School Psychology (NASP) national conference. Presenting such valuable information at both the state and national level was an amazing experience and an asset to my professional development as a future school psychologist.
How has a degree from Marist and your course work enhanced your career?
A degree in school psychology has broadened my horizons and opened doors to new opportunities. Upon graduation from the program, I was offered a position on Cape Cod, Massachusetts that ended up being an unexpected, yet life changing experience. I am excited to see what the future holds as a school psychologist and a Marist alumni!
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master’s degree at Marist?
My biggest piece of advice to a student considering pursuing their Master’s degree at Marist is to put in what you want to get out of the program. The Marist community, faculty, and coursework are all amazing aspects of the Master’s programs, but you can learn so much more about yourself and your field of interest by challenging yourself and applying all of your efforts.
If you took an online class or had online learning as part of a regular course, tell us about your experiences – any tips or suggestions to pass along to future students?
As part of the program’s course requirements, students are assigned to take two summer courses during the first and second year of the program; during my first two years in the program, one summer course was completed on campus and the other was completed online. While many students may enjoy online courses, I prefer to take courses on-campus and have face-to-face interactions with classmates and the professor. However, the online experience was fairly interactive in both courses for the School Psychology program. If I had to pass along any tips or suggestions to future students, it would be to learn how to manage your time well and keep a schedule of when assignments due. It is easy for due dates to come up so quickly with busy summer schedules, so you need to stay on track and keep ahead of the syllabus.
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Alumni
Major: School Psychology
Academic School: Social and Behavioral Sciences
Campus: New York