UTSA | COEHD | University of Texas at San Antonio | College of Edcuation and Human Development
Fri, August 23, 2019

COEHD alumna to change lives 7,000 miles away

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Six years ago, Shehreen Tariq set out on a journey to become a school psychologist. The England native knew she wanted to make a difference in the lives of children around the world. This drive brought her to The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the College of Education and Human Development’s School Psychology program.

“I chose the program at UTSA initially for location, but learned quickly that my peers and professors are what made it even better,” said Tariq. “Through the program, I developed resilience, self-awareness, and a good understanding of the needs of special needs children and young people.”

As a student, Tariq was an active member of the School Psychology Graduate Student Organization, attending a multitude of programs and events around campus. She completed her school psychology practicum experience with Alamo Heights ISD and her internship with Granbury ISD in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“Shehreen was an outstanding student and team player,” said Dr. Felicia Castro-Villarreal, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. “She brought energy and inquiry to the UTSA school psychology program and was especially noted for her ability to develop rapport with families and students. Her subsequent applied international work serves to showcase the diversity of the School Psychology profession and also highlights the UTSA School Psychology program for preparing students to work in international contexts.” 

After graduating in 2015, Tariq returned home to England and worked as an educational psychologist for the Reading Borough Council and provided private work for families needing additional assessments.

Just recently, Tariq accepted a position as an educational psychologist with the Ministry of Education in Auckland, New Zealand. In this position, she will be part of the ministry’s Learning Support Office, working to ensure that the policies, services, and resources offered effectively support the children and young people in Auckland. 

Tariq also qualified as a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer with the hope of offering free coaching classes for those with special needs, such as autism, and social and emotional mental health difficulties.

“UTSA gave me some of my best years and fantastic training to set me up for life,” said Tariq. “I could not have gotten here without the support and patience of my professors, friends, and colleagues.”

Her advice for future school psychologists, she said, is to never lose their passion and drive to make a difference.

“My best advice is to keep going,” said Tariq. “Some days are going to be harder than others. Challenges arise throughout and can feel beyond your capacity, but tap into the help around you and your resilience within.”

For Tariq, that help and support was prevalent during her time at UTSA, and for that, she said, she is forever thankful.

“UTSA offers some of the most nurturing and well-experienced staff members whom I was fortunate to learn from, grow with, and still remain in touch with today,” said Tariq. “I am very thankful to all of them for helping me get to this place in my life and professional career.”

From Nov. 12ththrough the 16th, schools across the United States are celebrating School Psychology Awareness Week to highlight the importance and contributions of school psychologists.

“School psychology is an applied psychology discipline where clinicians complete psychological assessments, conduct therapy and counseling, and consult with systems and educators on all things mental health, student learning, and development,” said Castro-Villarreal. “The profession and the preparation here at UTSA is really very wide in scope, offering breadth and depth of training.”

The Department of Educational Psychology’s Master of Arts in School Psychology program prepares students for careers as school psychologists in educational and non-profit settings in the United States and around the world. The program is accredited through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Learn more about the M.A. in School Psychology.

Learn more about the UTSA Department of Education Psychology

Photos courtesy of Shehreen Tariq


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