Federal grant supports Minot State Psychology students

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 9:46 PM CST
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MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) – Minot State University’s school psychology program has received a $4.3 million grant from the Department of Education.

The series of events that leads someone to decide where to plant their career goals is unpredictable.

Taylor Smock, a first-year graduate student at Minot State, has a family loosely connected to the field. Her dad was a special ed teacher, for example.

“I was like, ‘What is school psychology?’ Then I got into it and I was like, ‘Oh, this looks really interesting,’” said Smock.

Another student said they got advice from an aunt who works as a school psychologist in Grand Forks schools.

“She was like, ‘This is a good opportunity. I know you would do well. You’ll really excel in your courses. This is something you should really look into.’ I’m so glad I listened to her,” said Kandace Desjarlais, student.

Current and incoming students to the MSU school psychology program will get tuition, books, fees and other resources covered by this grant.

“It’s a wonderful thing and a difficult grant to get, too, which speaks to Dr. Craven’s work on that,” said Dr. Ethan Valentine, assistant psychology professor.

The grant includes childcare allowances and funding for training opportunities outside North Dakota.

“To be honest, it feels really good. Not only will I get to work with people on the reservation, like Native Americans on the reservation, which I’ve never done before; and going to NASP (National Association of School Psychologists),” said Smock.

The $4.3 million grant will be spread across five years to serve roughly 30 students.

Dr. Penny Craven, director of the school psychology program, said it has increased applications.

“The purpose was to really lift all barriers from students from diverse backgrounds and from low-income backgrounds,” said Craven.

Craven said there should be one psychologist for every 500 students, but as it stands there is currently one psychologist for every 1,700 students.

Once their schooling is over, recipients have a three-year service requirement at a North Dakota school in need of school psychologists.