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New Faculty Focus: Kristy Kelly

September 26, 2017

Title: Assistant Clinical Professor, Educational Psychology (School Psychology Area)

Hometown: Menasha, Wisconsin

Educational background: B.S. in psychology in 2001; M.S. in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2006 in Educational Psychology, all from UW–Madison.

Professional background: Internship and postdoctoral position with the Northern Suburban Special Education District (2005-2009), where I provided school psychological service and systems-level coaching, with an emphasis on addressing the needs of children with significant social, emotional, and behavioral challenges; adjunct faculty at Loyola University Chicago (2007-2008); Associate Professor and Director of Applied Professional Practice in the School Psychology Program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (2009-2016)

How did you get into your field of research? During my undergraduate studies, I became very interested in the concepts of risk and resilience and the relationship to mental health outcomes in children and adults. I had a strong interest in understanding how to promote good mental health and understood the importance of prevention and early intervention. What ultimately led me to the field of school psychology was my realization that school settings played a critical role in children’s development well beyond that of academics, including social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes. Broadly, my research now focuses on clinical supervision, professional development of school psychologists, and issues related to clinical and school-based intervention.

What attracted you to UW–Madison? I distinctly remember admiring the position of my predecessor when I was a graduate student in the department. I knew at that time that I wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to focus on the professional development of school psychologists, particularly as it relates to clinical training. My experience in Chicago over the past 10 years prepared me for a return to the department in this capacity and I am delighted by the opportunity to contribute to the distinguished training in the department of Educational Psychology.

What was your first visit to campus like? My first visit to the UW–Madison campus was in the late 90’s as a young and prospective undergrad. I remember being drawn to the amazing energy and opportunity that is so characteristic of this campus.

Favorite place on campus? While the Terrace is an obvious favorite, I also love the view from the top of Bascom Hill down State Street all the way to the Capitol.

What are you most enjoying so far about working here? I just love the energy around ideas and innovation on this campus and it is inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented people each day.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how. My work in our training clinic offers a direct link between student training in the program and outreach/service to local Madison and larger Wisconsin communities. I train and supervise students to provide clinical service to a wide range of school-aged children, college students, and families in the community. There is also opportunity for this clinical work to spark interest in unique scholarship and research projects that help to advance work in our field.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties?  The field of school psychology emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to a range of social reforms, such as compulsory education, resulting in a diverse range of learners within American school classrooms. There was a need for experts to identify students for placement into special services and school psychologists filled that role becoming what has largely been referred to as the “gatekeeper” to special education.

Hobbies/other interests: running, reading, dining/food, and spending time with family and friends.

Tags: faculty