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Making change for a safer community: Forensic Psychology

As a police officer in metro Detroit, ASU Online student Alycia Mosher understands the level of self-discipline required to balance school with work and family commitments. Both on the job and in the classroom, she has learned the importance of managing her time so that she can care not only for her family and friends, but also for herself.

“You have to take the time to be healthy mentally so that you can get the most out of everything,” she says. “It may mean occasionally skipping a party to study. If you don’t, then you’ll immediately feel the impact in your test scores or assignments.”

While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology, Alycia was able to directly apply her coursework to her police work. Though her previous undergraduate experience on campus at a large university had left her disappointed, at ASU she found a close-knit, community-driven environment with her teachers and classmates.

“It’s being at a big university with a lot of opportunities, quality classes and high rankings, but still getting that small school feeling,” Alycia says.

Her positive experience with the program, combined with ASU’s commitment to obtaining student feedback, inspired her to choose ASU for her master’s degree in forensic psychology.

“I felt stuck after my bachelor’s because there weren’t many schools offering the degree,” Alycia says. “ASU noticed I was taking law and psychology classes, and asked what my thoughts would be if they had a forensic psychology program. I told them they were reading my mind. Lo and behold, my last semester they announced the all-new program.”

She has since used what she’s learned to help people in her community, standing up to talk about issues such as mental illness, responding to juveniles with autism, and addictive behavior. In the future, she hopes to further integrate her police work with the mental health field and work to become a subject matter expert in areas such as human trafficking.

“There’s so much work to be done, and these areas aren’t talked about enough or given the resources they should be,” Alycia says. “For me, it’s not just reactive policing anymore. Everyone is different, and the more we learn about different personalities and idiosyncrasies, the safer it will be for us and for the people we serve. I want to be seen as the point of contact at the police department on these issues.”

Much of Alycia’s success at ASU Online has been self-directed, as she understands that with school, you get out what you put in.

“The people who get the most out of their classes are the ones posting to the discussion boards early in the week in order to give or receive feedback,” she observes. “They help facilitate conversations between other classmates.”

But Alycia is also quick to credit ASU resources like her Success Coach and advisors for providing constant support to help keep her on track.

“My Success Coach checks in to see how my semester is going and to share helpful links to resources,” Alycia says. “It seems impossible for a month to pass without someone from ASU reaching out. In my previous college experience, there were times where it was one or two months before I could even get in to meet with someone. It was completely counterproductive.”

She adds, “At ASU, I’ve never gone more than two days without getting some form of response in the three years I’ve been here. That immediate access is something I haven’t found anywhere else.”

When it comes to advice for her fellow students, Alycia stresses the importance of finding supplemental materials to support what’s being learned in the classroom.

“Reach out to classmates or instructors to see if they have movies, documentaries, academic papers, or other ways that you can get more out of school without feeling like you’re doing homework,” she says.

Bottom line: do your research, and make the time to find the right school and program for you.

“I can see ASU being very inclusive and the right school for the majority,” Alycia says. “The professors in my program make sure the course materials relate to people of different socioeconomic levels, etc. They are sensitive to real-world issues and it’s perfectly clear that they care about their communities. They want their students to go out and make change.”

Learn more about the ASU Online master’s degree in Forensic Psychology

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