Department of Psychology Title The Ohio State University

Alumni Spotlight

Curious about how to use your Psychology degree?
Every month we spotlight an OSU alum who graduated with a degree in Psychology. Check out how our alumni are using their psychology skills in a diverse array of professional areas!

Check out the bios below for this year's featured alumni:

2016 Alumni of the Month

Mandi HintonJune 2017: Mandi (Grumm) Hinton
Educational Audiologist

Mandi works as an educational audiologist at the Ohio School for the Deaf. During her psychology undergraduate experience at OSU, she was active in psychology research, participated in the psychology study abroad trip to England in SU08, was involved in the scholars program, and held a work-study position at the psychology undergraduate advising office. Mandi pursued dual bachelors’ degrees in psychology and speech and hearing science, and continued on to graduate school at The Ohio State University where she graduated with a doctorate degree in audiology (AuD) in 2015. 

In her current position, she enjoys working on a team with students, families, teachers, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other educational specialists. A background in psychology has helped build a strong foundation for providing audiologic counseling for a diverse range of students at the Deaf school. Mandi's advice for current students is to begin exploring potential career paths early, get involved (research, volunteering, etc.), and take risks when selecting elective courses, because you never know what interests and skills you may develop through those "extra" classes. Go Bucks!

To see Mandi at Stonehenge rocking the O-H-I-O, visit our Facebook Page!

David MurphyMay 2017: David Murphy

Meet David Murphy, a Pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. David received his B.S. in Psychology from Ohio State, a Master’s in Human Factors Engineering from Wright State University, and a Master’s in Theology from Wartburg Theological Seminary. David says there is no typical day; he spends his time writing, reading, and visiting with people, along with handling administrative tasks, working with finances, and helping those in distress. David loves serving people and hearing their stories, and he greatly enjoys when he can help someone walk through life’s challenges. 

David says it’s important to be able to manage his time and to translate his academic knowledge into the contextual language of the people he serves. His advice to undergraduates is to always ask questions and be open to new areas in which your psychology degree will be beneficial. To read more about David’s experience, search “pastor” on our Ask-an-Alum page.

To see Eric studying on the Oval as an undergrad (circa 1999), visit our Facebook Page!

Eric SullivanApril 2017: Eric Sullivan
Clinical Psychologist

"Making a difference in others' lives, opportunities to solve problems creatively, [and] great opportunities for continuing education and growth" are a few of things Eric loves about his career as a clinical psychologist at the Columbus Veterans Affairs Ambulatory Care Center in Columbus, OH. Eric received his BA in Psychology in 2004 and then completed his Ph.D. in 2010 at Suffolk University in Boston, MA. He is now able to do a variety of work that includes presenting at conferences, treating patients, consulting, writing, researching and many other things that he says would not have been open to him without a Ph.D.

"If you know you want to become a psychologist, it is imperative that you get experience with presenting and publishing research." Getting involved in a lab or having a job involving research after completing your undergraduate degree, he says, is the first step towards a future of possibilities. To read more about Eric's background and experience, search "veterans" on our Ask-an-Alum page.

To see Eric visiting France as an undergrad, visit our Facebook Page!

Megan CotrellMarch 2017: Megan Cotrell
Hotline Follow-Up Specialist

March's Alumni Spotlight is on Megan Cotrell, whose volunteer experience during college led to a full-time career opportunity following graduation. Having volunteered with Suicide Prevention Services helped Megan "hone the skills necessary to communicate with someone in a life or death situation" and to find a career path that she truly enjoys. Following graduation, Megan started with HelpLine as a Suicide Prevention Educator, working with middle and high school students, as well as providing professional trainings to various organizations. When HelpLine received a national grant, Megan moved into her current position, following up and providing emotional support, resources, and referrals to suicidal individuals following their discharge from local hospital Emergency Rooms.

Megan is looking forward to applying to an MSW/MPA program and becoming more involved in social justice issues. She "truly believes that getting real work experience before graduate school is a necessity" for finding "what you are and are not interested in, what you are or are not skilled at".

You can read more about Megan's background and experience using our website’s Ask-an-Alum page. Search "hotline."

To see Megan as an undergrad during the Buckeye Campaign Against Suicide RUOK event, visit our Facebook Page!

Kalee Brenner

January 2017: Kalee Brenner
Student Financial Services Specialist, OSU

“Being open to positions that don’t seem like typical ‘psychology’ careers” is what led Kalee to her current position. Kalee is a Student Financial Services Specialist, and loves being part of the OSU community again. The variety of work each day is one of her favorite aspects of the job. Kalee particularly enjoys the opportunity to work with students and people in organizations from all over the world.

While a student at OSU, Kalee was involved in the Psychology Department's Peer Mentoring program, and the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. In addition to being open to new and different opportunities, Kalee offers students this advice: “Not to be discouraged if <students> aren't sure what exact career path they plan to pursue upon graduation. It can take time to find your passion but once you do, all the time and effort put in really pays off!” You can read more about Kalee's background and experience using our website’s Ask-an-Alum page.

To see Kalee in Florida for Spring Break as an undergrad, visit our Facebook Page!

Alexandra Otte

December 2016: Alexandra Otte
Shopper Insights Analyst

December’s Alumni Spotlight is on Alexandra Otte, a Shopper Insights Analyst. Alexandra’s interest in consumer behavior began at OSU when she worked as a research assistant on judgment and decision making behavior. According to Alexandra, “the ability to analyze and apply large pools of data, and then present and persuade, are key skills in market research.”

Alexandra enjoys the diversity of working with data and consulting with clients. She analyzes product and category data for suppliers and retailers and then creates actionable presentations and reports that solve her clients key business issues. Gaining practical, hands-on experience through job shadowing, informational interviewing, volunteering, internships, and joining young professional organizations is the advice Alexandra gives to undergraduates. To read more about Alexandra’s career path check out her profile on Ask-an-Alum page.

To see Alexandra hiking through Utah as an undergrad, visit our Facebook Page!


Elise Burgess


November 2016: Elise Burgess
Development Writer, Brand & Marketing, OSU

Elise provides creative consultation and leads projects for The Ohio State University's Philanthropic Communications team. She writes, designs, edits and advises on custom communication pieces; each of which is created to help Ohio State alumni and friends make positive change in their communities.

Elise enjoys using her knowledge of human behavior and motivation, as well as her creative skills, to empower and connect with others. Elise has been working at OSU since 2011, and in non profits and NGOs in The United States and abroad since 2005. She absolutely loves her work!

Her advice to students is to take time to really get to know yourself, where you want to go in life, and what kind of impact you want to make in the world. Whatever it is that you are passionate about, give your full heart and energy to it, and know that psychology can service you in whatever work you choose to do. Elise also thinks it's important to celebrate your successes and learn from challenges along with way. It's all part of the process. Even if it takes awhile to achieve your goals, it will definitely be worth it. You can read more about Elise's background and experience on our Ask-an-Alum page.

To see Elise at an OSU football game as an undergrad, visit our Facebook Page!

Kathy Fox

September 2016: Kathy Fox
Director of ASPIRE at Haughland Learning Center

Get to know our September alum of the month, Kathy Fox, Director of the ASPIRE program at Haugland Learning Center in Columbus. Kathy started her career with Haugland as an aide, then as a classroom teacher, before being promoted to Assistant Director then Director. Kathy loves seeing students make progress and also really enjoys helping staff create success in the classroom. “Be open to new opportunities!” is her tip to undergraduate psychology students, and “to get as much experience and make as many connections as possible”. Kathy believes the “possibilities with a psych degree are almost never-ending” and encourages students to take advantage of the “big OSU Psychology community and the many resources available to them to try things and find what they like best”. You can read more about Kathy’s background and experience using our website’s Ask-an-Alum page!

To see Kathy hanging out with her college roommate as an undergrad, visit our Facebook Page!


Katie Knostman August 2016: Katie Knostman
Veterinary Pathology

Meet August’s alum of the month, Katie Knostman, a Veterinary Pathologist here in Columbus. After earning her B.S. in Psychology, Katie went on to attend OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine to become a veterinarian.

Having begun in clinical practice, Katie soon realized that her passion was research; specifically, finding “precise solutions to complex medical problems”. She works in contract research, interpreting microscopic slides and generating study reports for use by commercial clients, government and regulatory agencies. Katie believes that “getting a BS/BA in psychology leaves the door open for all kinds of careers”. To check out her full bio on Ask-an-Alum, search for “Veterinary Pathologist.”



Colleen Pacanowski

July 2016: Colleen Pacanowski
Internet/Social Media

Interested in an internet/social media career? Colleen Pacanowski, our July alum of the month, just celebrated 4 years at LinkedIn, first as a Product Consultant and now as a Global Program Manager. “Busy and fun!” is how Colleen describes her typical work day, enjoying the travel and public speaking aspects of her job, in addition to the team environment and culture at LinkedIn. Having started her career as a recruiter opened many doors for Colleen, who says that “Psych majors are so much more marketable than you think” and encourages current students to take advantage of opportunities while in school to learn practical, transferable skills. Her specific advice is to “work in a research lab, TAKE STATISTICS, and last, but not least, get on LinkedIn!” Colleen was recently elected Secretary of the OSU Alumni Club of Chicago and would love to hear from you if you are in Chicagoland. To check out her full bio on Ask-an-Alum, search for "Global Program Manager."

To see Colleen at her OSU undergraduate graduation as well as rocking the OHIO with her brother and two best friends at her wedding, visit our Facebook Page!

Bre Beck

June 2016: Breanna "Bre" Beck
Physician Assistant

Bre Beck, our June alum of the month, is a Hospitalist Physician Assistant who works as an intermediary between the emergency room and hospital. Bre sees patients in the ER (history, exam, testing orders) and then admits them to the hospital, where she also sees patients in consultation when they have been admitted by another service (cardiology, general surgery, etc.). After completing degrees in Psychology and Athletic Training at OSU, Bre worked as a clinical research assistant and athletic trainer while completing pre-requisite coursework before applying to Physician Assistant programs. Bre’s advice is to say “yes” when opportunities arise, even if scary or challenging, as this opens more doors and possibilities. Appreciative of the opportunities provided her, Bre is happy to give back and help both current undergraduate students and PA students. For more information about Bre’s career or other Psychology Alumni, visit our Ask-an-Alum page!

To see Bre tailgating with her Delta Omega Kappa sorority sisters before an OSU football game, visit our Facebook Page!


May 2016: Rebecca "Becca" Bridge
Public Health

Not sure where your psychology degree is going to take you? Meet Becca Bridge, our May alum of the month, who loves the versatility that a psychology degree offers. Upon graduating with a BA in Psychology, Becca moved to Chicago for an opportunity to work as a Human Resources Assistant. While researching graduate programs, Becca discovered her true passion and began a program in Public Health/Epidemiology. She will earn her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago this year. Her research during graduate school gave her the opportunity to spend a summer in Kenya, working closely with a team of Kenyans, learning their culture and exploring the unfamiliar region.

Becca’s advice to students is that it is okay to take time to decide if graduate school is the best choice for you, and that internships are a great way to learn about job opportunities!

To see Becca doing an O-H-I-O in Peru with OSU’s Rotaract Club, visit our Facebook Page!



March 2016: TJ Stewart
Higher Education

TJ Stewart is the Assistant Director of Intercultural Programming in OSU’s Student Life Multicultural Center. TJ initially planned to attend a Clinical Psychology graduate program, but joined a fellows program that led him to Higher Education and Student Affairs. He loves working with college students due to the energy they possess, and encourages students to consider making a career out of working at a university. He strongly believes a background in Psychology is one of the best you can get, as you get a great breadth of training and understanding of the most important component to any job - people! TJ feels that not “underestimating the power of your student experiences” is important, In fact, TJ credits his time in student organizations and leadership roles on campus as the start of his career path. TJ’s advice is to follow your passion, and he believes that if you find what you love to do the money will follow!

TJ is clearly doing what he loves and loves what he is doing! And he is open to talking with any psychology major about his career path. Read more about TJ’s career on Ask-An-Alum. Click “For Students”, and once logged in, type “multicultural” in the search bar to find his profile.

To see TJ doing a Script Ohio with the Athletic Band on ice when he was a student at Ohio State, visit our Facebook page!


February 2016: Beth Schroeder
Physical Therapy

Are you a psychology student interested in a fun, challenging career in health care? That is how our alum on the month for February, Beth Schroeder describes her work as a physical therapist. Beth works with patients recovering from both operative and non-operative orthopedic injuries, and loves that “each day brings a new challenge”. Beth graduated from OSU with a BS in Psychology, and earned a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Delaware. She considers flexibility, problem solving and patience to be important elements of her job, and enjoys the variety: “No two patients are the same, even if they have the same diagnosis”. Beth’s advice to students is to volunteer or shadow careers in which you are interested, and to not be afraid to ask the hard questions when faced with decisions that will influence your future.

Great advice, Beth! Read more about Beth’s career on Ask-An-Alum. Click “For Students”, and once logged in, type “physical therapist” in the search bar to find her profile. Beth is open to talking with psychology majors about her career, and her contact information is listed on Ask an Alum.

To see Beth doing an O-H-I-O while she was an undergraduate, visit our Facebook page!