Alumni Profiles

Elon Psychology graduates are working in a number of vocations all around the world. Read about some of our alumni below:

Robert Perera, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics

Elon ‘05

Majors: Psychology and Computer Information Systems

Mentor: Tom Green

My experiences at Elon directly influenced my career path. Although I was a double major in computer information systems (CIS) and psychology, my initial plan was to pursue a career applying the skills learned as a part of my CIS major. During my sophomore year at Elon I was approached by Dr. Tom Green to work on a research project examining the effects of presentation mode (paper vs. electronic) on recall of information. This opportunity, along with my statistics and research methods courses, made me realize a passion for research design and statistics. As a result, I applied to graduate school to develop expertise in statistical methods and study designs for research in the social sciences. After graduating, I completed my graduate training at attended the University of Notre Dame where I received my M.A., and Ph.D. in quantitative psychology. After receiving my Ph.D., I came to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA as a post-doctoral fellow spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Health at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where I helped develop a test to measure health literacy in cancer patients. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics. My position primarily involves collaborating on a wide range of substantive research including health, behavioral, and social science research, and conducting methodological research geared toward improving the statistical methods used in research. In addition, I teach graduate level statistics courses, mentor PhD students, and serve as the statistician for the university Scientific Review Committee. If it were not for my experiences as a psychology major at Elon, I certainly would not find myself in my current career where I have the opportunity to improve science through collaboration and methods development.

Caitlin Tarantiles, School Counselor

Elon ‘14

Major: Psychology

Mentor: Kim Epting

After graduating Elon, I went to UNC Chapel Hill and earned my master’s in education in school counseling. During my master’s program, I interned at a high school, but also had cross level experiences working in elementary and middle schools. I was also able to work on research with one of my professors in the area of grit. Now after graduating with my masters, I am currently a high school counselor in Raleigh, North Carolina for students in grades 9-12. I am the junior year program coordinator, Professional Learning Team Leader, and I run a women’s leadership group. I focus on the social/emotional transition to high school, post-secondary planning, and also have a big role working with the ELL (English Language Learner) students. Working with these ELL students in particular has allowed me to utilize what my research at Elon on linguistic relativity has taught me.

Justin Sun, Senior Laboratory Technician

Elon ‘10

Major: Psychology

Mentor: Amy Overman

I am currently a senior laboratory technician at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research who is working for the department of Neuroprotection and Neurorestoration. Our department is tasked with researching possible therapeutic treatments for individuals who have traumatic brain injury, including penetrating ballistic brain injury and concussive brain injuries. The experience I obtained at Elon as a part of my degree in Psychology is a cornerstone of the work I do now. Studying neuroscience allowed me to better understand the acute and chronic effects of a traumatic brain injury, and working as a research assistant at Elon prepared me for working in that environment on a full-time basis.

Cara McClain, Graduate Student in Clinical Psychology

Elon ‘14

Major: Psychology

Mentor: Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler

I am currently a first year student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. I chose the program at UTK because it provides excellent clinical training from both cognitive-behavioral and psychoanalytic perspectives along with ample opportunities to engage in research and to teach. My mentor at UTK is Dr. L. Christian Elledge, and we study how school-based mentoring programs can improve psychological and social outcomes for bullied children. Before I came to graduate school, I spent two years in Boston completing AmeriCorps service with City Year. I served in a low-income K-8 school as a mentor and tutor for ESL students. I found the work to be deeply inspiring, but I was curious about how to make mentoring programs more effective, which led to me work with Dr. Elledge on applied intervention research. My time at Elon was absolutely foundational for where I am now because it inspired in me a deep love of learning and research. At Elon, I was lucky enough to have Dr. Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler as my mentor, and we spent three years investigating how experiences in natural environments impact preschoolers’ psychological development. I came to realize that research enabled me to seek the answers to questions I was genuinely curious about. While at Elon, I discovered my passion for psychology and the valuable real-world applications for both research and clinical practice.

Many of our students partner with the Criminal Justice Program and pursue careers in legal/forensic settings.

Read about these alumni here: