Samantha Croney, a first-year graduate student in the master’s in developmental psychology program, is the recipient of the 2018 Berk Developmental Graduate Teaching Fellowship.

Croney was born and raised in eastern Washington. She earned an Associate of Arts degree from Columbia Basin College in 2015 before transferring to Washington State University (WSU) to pursue a B.S. in Psychology. During her undergraduate experience, Croney made the Dean’s List three times, all while receiving awards for outstanding interfraternity contribution and for her scholastic achievement in Psi-Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Croney took off a year to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA member working in Whitman County, Washington. There, she worked to implement STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs for underprivileged, rural elementary students in the local community.

Croney’s AmeriCorps experience inspired her to pursue a graduate degree in psychology in order to continue to work with children in under-served populations. Her decision to specifically pursue developmental psychology came from her past research experience in the Social Cognition lab at WSU. During that time, she formed her research interests in children, temperament, and socioemotional development. She also gained direct experience working with children at a local child care agency for two years.

Upon competition of her master’s degree at Illinois State, Croney plans to move back to the Pacific Northwest and become a licensed counselor. She hopes to work for a government agency, continue to work with children in underprivileged communities, or work as a developmental specialist in a child care center.

Distinguished Professor of Psychology Emerita Laura Berk established the Developmental Psychology Graduate Teaching Fellowship for a master’s student admitted to developmental psychology. The fellowship supports a second-year graduate student with an assistantship for teaching a developmental psychology course. The department also provides the student with a full-tuition waiver. Each year the developmental psychology faculty selects a first-year graduate student as the Fellow; the student’s faculty mentor helps prepare the student to teach a college-level class during the following academic year.

The Berk Developmental Graduate Teaching Fellowship awardee will be recognized at the Department of Psychology’s 2018 Alumni Day Awards Ceremony Friday, October 12, 2018, at 3:30 p.m. in 551 DeGarmo Hall. The department will also hold its annual Alumni Day Dinner later that same evening at Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano.