Courtney Duhning

Courtney Duhning

Psychology major
Class of 2016


"I received more from SJC than I would have ever imagined. The experiences that I received outside of the classroom truly changed me as not only a student, but as an individual. I used to be the quiet girl who just sat in the classroom and, although I did well in school, my experiences at SJC changed me for the better. I came out of my shell a lot through extracurricular activities and learned how to be more outspoken in a professional manner."

Six Months After Graduation

"The lessons I learned at SJC were extremely valuable — they haven’t only prepared me for graduate school, but for life."

"I’m currently enrolled in St. John’s University School Psychology Psy.D. program. As a school psychologist I want to assess the academic, emotional and behavioral needs of children and reinforce constructive coping skills. It’s important for me to have the opportunity to provide them with a safe, supportive and positive environment regardless of familial issues, socioeconomic background and diversity to enhance not only their academic progress, but their well being.

"I’m super grateful for the experiences that I had at St. Joseph’s College — they really prepared me for graduate school, especially the research. While St. John’s has a large clinical component, St. John’s really emphasizes a scientist-practitioner model. The skills I learned at SJC really transferred over into my graduate setting where I have been able to further apply my statistics background, research methods knowledge and critical thinking skills. 

"The skills I learned at SJC really transferred over into my graduate setting where I have been able to further apply my statistics background, research methods knowledge and critical thinking skills."

"Besides the dense coursework and research component, I’ve had the opportunity to teach. I have been implementing an abuse prevention program for children with disabilities, which allows them to understand the fundamentals of abuse and reinforces positive decision making skills. It’s amazing to be lucky enough to work with such a diverse range of children and give them the peer interaction that they yearn for. I love watching the children grow and gain confidence in their decisions, especially knowing I played a role.

"I’m looking forward to coming back and visiting SJC. I’m very grateful for the education that I received, both in and out of the classroom. The lessons I learned at SJC were extremely valuable — they haven’t only prepared me for graduate school, but for life."

Fall 2015 • Senior Year

"SJC integrates classroom and experiential learning. You will receive individualized attention and won't just be a number on campus. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces each day and knowing I was always able to stop into the psych wing when I needed help with classes or if I just needed some advice."

"I always wanted to work in a school, originally as a teacher, but now as a school psychologist. I always loved being at school and learning!

"I started off with one semester a LIU Post and then transferred to SJC. As soon as I began my studies at SJC, I knew that it was going to be a remarkable experience. It is a small campus and I loved the individualized attention I received. I really appreciate how SJC integrates classroom and experiential learning because it allowed me to apply my classroom knowledge into the real world. I am actively involved on campus and it has made a tremendous difference in my college experience.

"Throughout my life, I have seen the need for assessment and intervention, as I have seen many people struggle with mental illnesses and learning disabilities both in my home, as well as at a mental health clinic where I observed a variety of struggles.

"It is fascinating to understand that every individual is unique and needs personalized support to maximize their potential. As a well-rounded leader I aspire to further my research and enhance my knowledge of school psychology to provide the best support and intervention to students to ensure prosperity at school, at home and in life. As a firm believer that my childhood experiences have shaped me into the person I am today, I aspire to promote a positive environment for other children in hopes that they will aspire to impact others as well.

"I am currently applying to doctoral programs and masters programs in School Psychology with a specialization in neuropsychology.

"I received more from SJC than I would have ever imagined. The experiences that I received outside of the classroom truly changed me as not only a student, but as an individual. I used to be the quiet girl who just sat in the classroom and, although I did well in school, my experiences at SJC changed me for the better. I came out of my shell a lot through extracurricular activities and learned how to be more outspoken in a professional manner."


Who was your favorite SJC professor?

"While several professors have made an impact on me, Dr. McGoey truly made my college experience the best.

"Like I said, I used to be a shy student who paid attention in class, did all her work, and never caused any problems, but Dr. McGoey helped me grow into a bigger and better individual. I have taken several classes with Dr. McGoey and have been working closely with her in an interdisciplinary lab since sophomore year.

"I remember telling Dr. McGoey years ago that I wanted to apply to doctoral programs and she has supported me and guided me ever since ... never once doubting my efforts. Dr. McGoey has guided me in conducting research studies, which gave me the confidence to present my research at conferences in front of my peers. I would have never imagined doing that in my college years. I really appreciate all the time she spent helping me with classes, helping me with my schedule, and just being there for when I needed someone to talk to.

"Dr. McGoey has been an inspiration and I hope to inspire my students, as a school psychologist, like she motivated me."

Favorite book? Quote?

"My favorite book is How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker "

"'Don't let anyone dull your sparkle' is my favorite quote. There will always be negative factors in your life and there will always be people who will try to bring you down, but if you stay positive and focus on your goal, you will achieve it."


What has been the biggest influence on your life?

"My mom has by far been the biggest influence on my life. She has always stuck by my side and put me first, even when it was hard for her to do so and for that I am blessed. It’s an honor to have there as my mom and she is one of the reasons why i will refuse to give up on my dreams. My mom taught me to never give up. I have seen her struggle financially and emotionally throughout my life, and not once did she give up on providing me with an amazing life. My mom is a fighter and I am truly grateful to have such an amazing role model in my life."

Have you been a part of any service activities that were meaningful to you?

"I have been a part of the Dean's Service Circle since sophomore year. As a Dean’s Service Circle member, I annually volunteer at events like Freshman Parent Orientation and Investiture to make incoming freshman comfortable when entering St. Joseph’s.

"This college promotes being well rounded, which begins with intellectual engagement and providing service. I was amazed at how much emphasis was placed on community service, and not just grades. I am extremely proud of my outstanding academic accomplishments and my service to others. Providing service to my college and community is something I truly value. I strive to not only be the best individual I can be at that present moment, but to contribute more than I did the day before."

What was the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

"My biggest challenge was overcoming my anxiety. I was a perfectionist and still am to a certain extent, but Dr. McGoey taught me how to aim high without negatively criticizing myself.

"Another struggle was balancing my time. Because I wanted to be so active in my college community and focus on my studies it was difficult to balance my home responsibilities and social life. I had to put my social life on hold for a bit to work two jobs and help support my family as my father left us with nothing. My mom has been an inspiration and helped me get through all the bumps in the road. I hope that one day I can repay her so that she can finally relax."


What is the best advice someone has ever given you?

"My mom taught me to believe in myself. She never once doubted me, which taught me that believing in myself was important. Although I had a rough childhood with my father passing away and my mom raising my two brothers and I, I never once saw her give up. She has been there for us since day 1 and it has shown me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it."

Aside from content material, what is the best lesson a professor taught you in class?

"Dr. McGoey helping me overcome my challenges. My biggest challenge was overcoming my anxiety. I was a perfectionist and still am to a certain extent, but Dr. McGoey taught me how to aim high without negatively criticizing myself. It's mind over matter and you have to think positively in order to live a positive life."

What do you do in your spare time?

"I am a Beachbody coach. I love health and fitness and I enjoy helping others achieve their goals. As a student who has learned about the psychology of health, I have lost 60 pounds in my college career. It has been an amazing change and I want others to achieve the confidence that I now have."

What have you learned about yourself while at SJC?

"I've learned that it is important to come out of your comfort zone. While it may be scary to take a risk and do something you don't usually do, it's important in order to grow as an individual. I never expected to be a top student in my class while holding so many leadership roles at SJC. I transformed from being a quiet high school girl to a woman who has been giving back to her community.

"I encourage students to take that leap of faith and give back. I have had the honor of being vice president of the Psychology Club, vice president of Psi Chi, holding membership in five honor societies, presenting my research at two conferences and so much more. It's been remarkable to see the changes that I have made in the past four years."