Walden University students and graduates are generating positive social change with their doctoral psychology degrees.

A psychologist interviews a young man.From providing free mental health intervention for at-risk youth to rehabilitating sex trafficking victims in Uganda, Walden PhD in Psychology graduates are making a difference worldwide with their online education.

Each year, Walden uses its Scholars of Change video contest to showcase students and graduates who are fostering positive social change. The following three alumni are using their online doctoral psychology degrees to help others in the U.S. and around the world.

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Dr. Heather Hefner: Mental Health Intervention for At-Risk Youth

Dr. Heather Hefner, a 2014 Scholar of Change who received her PhD in Psychology, has used her online doctoral degree to provide free mental health support for children at an after-school program called Refuge.

“Schools are not equipped to handle mental health issues students are facing in our society today,” she says. The doctoral psychology degree she earned at Walden helped her develop and implement mental health intervention programs for at-risk youth to help them process their emotions and deal with difficult situations.

Hefner plans to continue utilizing her online education to further build and develop the center’s mental health programs and help children and teens “cope and understand the world around them.”

Dr. Heather Macdonald: New Opportunities for Student Learning

Dr. Heather Macdonald, a 2013 Scholar of Change, used her Walden online education to develop a unique teaching model for students with learning disabilities.

“All children deserve the right to be educated,” says Macdonald, who also earned a doctoral psychology degree. The psychologist spent time “learning from the inside out,” nationally and globally, formulating a tri-optimal learning model that offers students a psychologically sensitive opportunity to learn.

An online psychology degree from Walden provided Macdonald with the tools she needed to develop this holistic educational model, which looks at the full circumstances of every child, including their social and psychological needs.

Courtney Skiera: Rehabilitating and Educating in Uganda

Walden online PhD in Psychology student and 2013 Scholar of Change Courtney Skiera lives in Uganda and splits her time between two causes: holistically rehabilitating women and girls from sex trafficking, and educating some of the world’s poorest children.

Working toward a doctoral psychology degree “has equipped me to work with this population and help train staff in practical and applicable ways,” says Skiera, who also cofounded a nonprofit to help educate children—many of them orphaned—living in a slum area largely populated with refugees and displaced persons.

Skiera chose Walden to pursue her degree so she could not only begin her online education while in Uganda, but because of the university’s focus on social change, “which has brought a very real and practical lens to my studies,” she says. “I’m privileged to be part of the Walden community, a supportive and active body in the world.”

Ready to change your world and the world of others with a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral psychology degree? Discover how Walden’s flexible online psychology degree programs can help you meet your career goals.

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