Latest Installments of Speaker Series Connect Students with Educational Psychologists

Photos of CUNY SPS faculty and psychology professionals Dr. Mahoney and Dr. Paisha-Zaidi

The psychology program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) recently hosted two installments of its popular long-running Day in the Life series, in which students meet highly accomplished psychology practitioners and learn about their career trajectories and day-to-day experiences.

The Spring 2023 speakers included Nausheen Pasha-Zaidi, PhD, MEd, (pictured above left) who serves as director of the Honors College at Houston Community, and Dr. Lauren Mahoney (pictured above right), a school psychologist and behavior analyst for New York City’s Department of Education in District 75. Both speakers are also adjunct faculty at CUNY SPS.

The first Day in the Life segment, held in March, featured an in-depth conversation with Dr. Pasha-Zaidi, who discussed how she collaborates with international and marginalized populations as part of her work as an educational psychologist.

During her presentation, Dr. Pasha-Zaidi described her “very non-linear” yet very rewarding career path, which included living seven years abroad and earning degrees in International Organizations and Systems, Educational Psychology, Language Education, and Speech Communications. She also discussed how her time living in the Middle East and Africa, as well as her experience coming to the US from Pakistan as a five-year-old, contributed to her desire to better understand the “culture shock” felt by immigrants and minorities and led to her career in educational psychology.

“Even though I am kind of focused on Muslim populations, in my research I am interested in larger ideas of culture. . . and I love listening to the wonderful ways in which human beings are diverse,” Dr. Pasha-Zaidi reflected. As she walked students through her multi-faceted career, she also encouraged them in their own, noting “If you are in a position where you have changed your field, or you’re not quite sure where you are now or where you are going tomorrow, it’s okay—you will find your way.”   

In the April segment, Dr. Mahoney took students through her professional journey, first as a psychology major, then as a behavior analyst, and finally as a school psychologist with a particular focus on supporting students with autism and other significant needs. At District 75, Dr. Mahoney helps young adults with a wide range of challenges—as well as their teachers—by providing counselling, behavioral support, crisis intervention, and transition guidance.

Despite the challenges of her work, Dr. Mahoney describes her days working with high school students as “where the magic happens.”  She explained, “It is a really tough job emotionally. I have to take a nap when I come home…to shift into a different mode [as a single mother and professor].”  Nonetheless, she has found that, “There is really something beautiful about the connections and the relationships I have [with students] that keeps me coming back every day.” 

Dr. Pasha-Zaidi’s presentation was moderated by Dr. Carla Marquez-Lewis, academic director for the CUNY SPS psychology program, while Dr. Mahoney’s talk was moderated by Dr. Isabelle Elisha, associate director for the psychology program. Both sessions were followed by a lively Q&A session that was held via Zoom chat.

Watch recordings of the talks with Dr. Pasha-Zaidi and Dr. Mahoney here or visit the Psychology Event series on the CUNY SPS YouTube channel.  

About the CUNY SPS Psychology Programs

The CUNY SPS MA in Psychology online degree program prepares students for employment opportunities and advanced studies that require a deeper understanding of behavior motivations, along with strong research, communication, and teamwork skills. The program’s fully online format makes it the first and only degree of its kind offered at the City University of New York (CUNY). The online format allows students to read course materials, participate in class discussions, and complete assignments on a more flexible schedule. In addition to the MA program, CUNY SPS also has a fully online BA in Psychology program that has been ranked #4 in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Psychology for 2023

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

As New York's leading online school since 2006, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) offers the most online bachelor's and master's degree options at the City University of New York, and serves as the University's first undergraduate all-transfer college. With 26 degrees and numerous other non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who wish to finish a bachelor's degree, progress from an associate's degree, earn a master's degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers. Consistently ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report for its online offerings, CUNY SPS has emerged as a nationwide leader in online education. The School's renowned and affordable online programs ensure that busy working adults may fulfill their educational goals on their own time and schedule.

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