October 10, 2011

Ruth Yoda-Bunnelle

Ed.S. in School Psychology ’12
Ed.S. in School Psychology ’12


Why did you end up coming to Lewis & Clark instead of somewhere else?

I really liked the fact that it’s a small liberal arts school. When I moved to Portland and found the program here, I was elated. The classes are small. You’re not a number; you’re known by name, and that’s important to me.

The program was also NASP approved—that’s pretty much the best certification a program can have and is transferable to lots of other states.

In your practicum, working in a school setting as you prepare to become a school psychologist, have you had a light bulb moment with a student?

Yes! Recently, a student was being recommended for special education services [she was therefore required to be evaluated to see if she qualified, something school psychologists help with]. She was a half Japanese student, which I strongly identified with. I started working with her in the classroom. She was making progress, but slowly—she was very careful. I discovered a girl who is lower in her reading, the only Japanese student at her school, an introvert surrounded by a lot of loud boys. I felt it was an anxiety issue. We were able to pull together what was needed to help find her eligible for extra support. Her mom was thrilled that we could do that—find her eligible and get her the extra support she needed to be successful in school.

How has your graduate study changed you?

It’s changed me a lot. Before this, I was a classroom special education teacher. I felt like there was always pressure to go, go, go—to meet standards and benchmarks. Not all teachers feel that, but I did. Being a school psychologist helped me pull back and view children within an ecological environment. I love being able to slow down and work with teachers, families, and outside agencies—all to support a kid who needs it. Everyone at the table is an advocate for the child.

Learn more about becoming a school psychologist at Lewis & Clark.