Alumni Spotlight: Courtney Parent ’19, Psychology

head shot photo of Courtney Parent
Courtney Parent ’19, Psychology

Courtney Parent ’19, Psychology

First-year Master’s student at Teachers College, Columbia University

We recently interviewed Courtney Parent about her UNE experience and her current career.

Describe your career path and key professional choices to this point?

CP: Right now, I am currently a First-Year Master’s student studying at Teachers College, Columbia University. I’m getting my degree in Developmental Psychology and upon graduation in the spring of 2022, I will work for my PhD in the same field. I plan on pursuing a career in academia to teach and conduct research on children who have congenital heart disease (CHD).

How did your time at UNE impact you as a student, a person and a professional?

CP: My time at UNE was very influential to my current and future plans for many reasons. When I first came to UNE, I was actually a Pre-Med/Biology major, but after taking a Lifespan Development course, I wanted to study psychology more. So, I switched majors and tried my best to get involved as much as I could. I was a teaching and research assistant in Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour’s Reading Comprehension and Cognition Lab during my last two years at UNE. Working in this kind of environment allowed me to immerse myself more in the field of psychology, specifically with regard to teaching and research. These experiences allowed me to challenge myself both in the lab and in the classroom, which in turn, helped me to get to where I am today.

What advice would you give to current students who may be job searching or graduating soon?

CP: My first piece of advice is something that professors at UNE have taught me: Trust the process. I took a gap year before going to grad school and sometimes, that time is all you need to rest and regroup from the demands of undergraduate studies. During my gap year, I also applied to many jobs and received nothing but rejection (it was quite a humbling experience). Everything happens for a reason so don’t give up, be persistent, and trust the process.

What is your favorite UNE memory?

CP: My favorite memories of UNE mostly revolve around my experiences in the lab. Dr. Stiegler-Balfour is a wonderful mentor and is truly an inspiration. I feel fortunate to have been granted opportunities that not many undergrads experience, such as presenting research at regional conferences - my personal favorite was attending a conference in New York City! Through these experiences, I’ve grown professionally and personally. I will always be grateful for the opportunities from the lab, and I will always be grateful for UNE’s amazing network of professors, such as Dr. Stiegler-Balfour and others in the Psychology Department.

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