Total involvement in best University’s psychology program best describes Amber Lazarus’ collegiate experience being involved more than allowed the Hills dale, NJ, resident to compete successfully against about 350 applicants for the six to eight positions in Emory University’s PhD.

Program in clinical psychology

Lazarus will enroll at Emory, located in Atlanta, this fall and work with Dr. Marshall P. Duke, director of the clinical psychology program. She will receive full tuition remission and a monthly stipend. At some point in the program, she may also be a teaching assistant for a statistics class.

At Rider, she was an outstanding student who graduated sum-ma cum laud on May 11. She conducted research with two professors, was co-author of eight papers with them, and made several professional presentations based on the papers.

She had two meaningful field placements at Princeton Child Development Institute (PC DI) for autistic children and Medallion Care, a treatment program for adults with a variety of psychiatric needs. She also had a minor in social work.

“The psychology courses I took at Rider were great and all the professors were very encouraging,” Lazarus said about her Rider experience. “The support I received was very important.” She noted Professors Gary Briticism, Michael Epstein and John Super were especially helpful to her.

Lazarus conducted research on children with disabilities with Briticism, who also coordinates the psychology field placement program. She also conducted research with Epstein, her advisory, on memory and learning as it related to his Immediate Feedback-Assessment Testing (IF-AT) procedure. They will have an article published on the IF-AT procedure in the spring issue of The Psychological Record.

Before taking super’s class, “Theories of Psychotherapy,” she read a book he wrote about his experiences. “That opened my eyes, and that is when I wanted to become a clinical psychologist,” she said.

She enrolled at Rider as an education/mathematics major. She said she loves math and also likes psychology. In her first semester, she met Epstein and became in interested in majoring in psychology. “It just felt right,” she said about her decision.

“Amber is an outstanding student who proved our psychology graduates can compete with anybody,” Epstein said. “Emory has a fine, highly reputable program in clinical psychology. She demonstrated competence in a variety of research projects and has participated in every phase of our program.”

The three papers Lazarus wrote with Briticism and the five with Epstein were all presented in poster sessions at the Eastern Psychological Association meetings the last three years. Conducting research, writing papers with their professors, and then presenting them at conferences is an experience several Rider psychology majors have enjoyed over the years. Defending their work before faculty, graduate students and undergraduates from other schools helps give them a competitive edge.

Although she has graduated and her internship with Medallion Care has ended, Lazarus continues to work part-time at the center through the summer. She also worked part-time last summer at PC DI after interning there during her junior year.

That’s being involved in your college career. Of her decision to attend Rider, Lazarus simply said, “It was probably the best decision of my life.”

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