Rebecca and Dr. Kessler
Student, Class of 2025
McMinnville, Ore.
Rebecca and Dr Kessler

Why did you choose Oregon Tech?

While I was at PCC one of my professors, Cynthia Golledge, suggested I contact Dr. Kessler and apply to Oregon Tech for my bachelor’s program. I knew as a single working mother I didn’t want to commute to PSU. I also prefer and excel better in smaller classroom sizes which Oregon Tech could offer. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I was compelled to continue on and complete my graduate degree here because of the amazing instructors and sense of community.


What do you like most about your program?

I have always felt a sense of belonging while at Oregon Tech, my strengths were exemplified, and my weaknesses strengthened. All of my professors made it clear that their goal was to make sure I excelled at anything I put my mind to. I got to choose projects that I was interested in and was guided to subjects that I never knew I could be so passionate about. I was given many opportunities to learn and grow in intercultural relations, communications, and psychological research.


What are you passionate about changing within this particular field and why?

I am passionate about destigmatizing mental illness, along with working with first responders. I define a “first responder” as firefighters, EMS, police, and emergency department staff. I have found that there is much more research to be done regarding first responders and the effects of their job on their mental health. I want the field of psychology to grow, continue to learn best practices from research, and find a way to make therapy accessible to everyone who needs it. 


What would be your dream job?

Ultimately, I would like to get my doctorate in clinical psychology, specializing in PTSD. I want my own clinic, and I would also like to teach at the collegiate level. I would also like to have my own art studio (I am a painter) on top of clinical work to save myself from burnout.


What have been some of your favorite classes and why?

At Oregon Tech my favorite psychology course was the psychology of eating, after taking this course, I was the teaching assistant for it as well. I like to say I loved this course so much I took it twice, I learned a lot about my own habits, and felt I could really be open with my friends about issues I have in my relationship with food, which prompted them to open up to me about their issues, which is an amazing feeling. Another favorite course of mine was advanced technical writing, I enjoyed this class because I could choose my assignments and gear them specifically towards things that would progress my knowledge in my field.


Is there anything about Oregon Tech that you wish everyone knew about?

That is has an amazing psychology program! I feel so many people in the Portland area would come here if they only knew it was available. I am so grateful my professor told me about it and how strong of a community it is.


Have you participated in any internships or externships during your time at Oregon Tech? Did you gain valuable experience from them?

I was a TA for Dr. Huntoon for three terms, I helped grade assignments and interacted with the students when they needed direction. I learned how much effort our instructors put into our courses and how much they want us to succeed. During this time I found a passion for teaching psychology as much as I wanted to practice it as a therapist.

I was also an educational assistant for Dr. Warford, she taught me about forensic psychology, and put together a complete curriculum for a course that can now be offered at OIT. This included collaborating to find a textbook for the course, putting together a syllabus, slide show presentations for each chapter covered, along with a test bank of questions for the course.  


Are you conducting any research projects currently?

My third term working with Dr. Huntoon, I assisted her in presenting at a poster session at Western Psychological Association convention in downtown Portland. The presentation was regarding Dr. Huntoon’s work in which she collaborated with a diverse group of instructors in putting together an open educational resource (OER) for social psychology, along with ancillaries for the course that would be available to instructors. OER’s are free online textbooks, and their purpose is to create more accessibility to students and adaptability for professors. Along with this I also helped edit an OER which an OIT instructor was putting together for an online course here.

My senior project included putting together a proposal for a mental health educational program for first responders, in which they would have the opportunity to hear from those suffering from mental health illnesses, and their interactions with first responders. Along with other learning opportunities included in the curriculum.


Is there anything more that you would like to share with future students about campus, what you wish you knew before attending Oregon Tech or anything else?

I would want new students to know how much your advisors and professors want you to succeed, they make every effort regardless of circumstance to help you pursue and excel in your academic and even personal goals. I felt so much support during some very difficult times including but not limited to a global pandemic, and personal tragedies. They are devoted to make sure the skills you learn at OIT will be transferable to your desired career field. They may even broaden your horizons and guide you to dream bigger and achieve more than you ever imagined.