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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Amy E. Ellis

The AU Faculty Spotlight is a series that recognizes faculty members who promote student success at AU.

Meet Dr. Amy E. Ellis, AU’s Junior Research Associate with the Institutional Center for Scientific Research and past Assistant Professor in the Undergraduate Psychology Program. Learn more about her below.

Where are you from?
I'm originally from Long Island, New York. I moved down to Florida to pursue my doctoral degree about eight years ago. I was hooked immediately on the warm weather and can't foresee myself going back, though I'll always feel like a native New Yorker.

Where did you go to school?
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hofstra University in NY, my Master of Arts in Preclinical Psychology from Adelphi University in NY, and both my Master of Science in Psychology and my Doctorate of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University in FL.

What brought you to Albizu University and what do you hope to accomplish while here?
A good friend and colleague, Dr. Scott Hyman, recommended that I apply for a position in the undergraduate department at AU. Since coming to AU, I've focused my efforts on teaching research methodology and abnormal psychology, advising undergraduate students, and developing and writing research. I hope to continue guiding students in their journeys as emerging professionals, and to bolster my own career by focusing on research.

What are some of your hobbies/leisure activities?
So much of my leisurely activities are built around my profession, because it's what I'm most passionate about. Outside of my time at AU, I have a thriving private practice, dedicate time and efforts towards leadership activities at APA, and act as a reviewer and consultant for APA journals and other professionals. A lesser known fact about me is that I am the Editor of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy website which has challenged me in more ways than one as running a website is a bit outside of my comfort zone! But, I've found a true love and passion for that site, and division, and encourage any and all students interested in psychotherapy to join.

What advice do you have for students to maximize their success at AU?
Lesson 1: Think in terms of learning and process, not outcome and grades. It can be frustrating to work hard on an assignment, sometimes spending hours on it, and end up with a grade that you feel is disproportionate to the effort placed. It feels defeating. Hard work is not something that should be overlooked and your perseverance will pay off, but hard work alone is not enough. Knowing and grasping content is also essential. For example, if you were in medical school and you lost a patient due to an error on your part or not knowing how to do a procedure, the response would not be "but you tried hard." You may have tried, but you have to learn from those mistakes and grow from them.

Lesson 2: Do not wait until the last minute (even the last week) to begin assignments. I suggest this for two reasons. One, you never know what life will throw at you. Even those assignments that are relatively benign can prove to be major obstacles when your car gets a flat tire, your boss is calling extra meetings and requiring overtime, and you forgot about your great Aunt Sally's 75th birthday party. Build in some added time so that you get the assignment done and out of the way, and leave room for life to do its thing. Two, much of your education will require intense thinking, forethought, and planning. These are not things that can be rushed. It shows very clearly when someone has not put in effort or thought. Some tasks can be completed with 80% effort, and it's up to you to figure out which ones they are, and which ones require you to put in 100%. 

Lesson 3: Talk to me, talk to me, talk to me. (You can replace "me" with any professor, boss, or colleague). The sooner you connect with people and either let them know you're having a rough go at an assignment or task, or talk to them to consult and get an exchange of ideas flowing, the better. Talk to me during class when we review the assignment, or when I ask "any question on the article?" Talk to me at the end of class when I ask "any final questions...about...anything?" Talk to me after class when we're packing up and you're needing more support. Email me your questions and concerns. The sooner you come to me, and the more dialogue we have, the better your conceptualization and assignment will be.

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