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September 27, 2012 / Liz

Psych – They’re Back!

by Andrea Idso, ’12

Among Whitworth’s new arrivals this fall, you’ll find three “Tenners” in the psychology department:  lecturers Cara Bellwood, ’08, and Joelle Czirr, ’06, and assistant professor Elizabeth “Bethy” Campbell, ’05. We thought we’d introduce you to these Whitworth boomerangs by sharing a bit about their backgrounds, what they’ve been up to since graduation, their mutual love for Tigger, and what brought them back to the pines.

Cara Bellwood, ’08

Birth place: Corvallis, Ore.

Hobbies: Playing and coaching rugby, cooking, knitting, crocheting, reading, camping

What is your life motto? It’s not what you do or where you go, it’s the relationships you make.

Best high school class subject: Psychology; Anatomy & Physiology

What have you been up to since you graduated from Whitworth? I moved back to my hometown of McMinnville, Ore., for a year while applying to graduate schools. I attended a master’s program at the University of Oregon (GO DUCKS!) in Eugene, and then obtained a master’s degree in psychology (with specified interest in developmental-social-neuroscience) in June 2010. I taught multiple psychology course for Chemeketa Community College (Yamhill Valley Campus) in McMinnville, Ore., for two years. During this time I was also involved in coaching and running high-school boys’ and girls’ rugby teams.

What activities were you involved in at Whitworth? Hawaiian Club (4 years), Psi Chi (3 years), theme house residents (2 years).

Which Whitworth professor(s) most influenced you? Every faculty member in the psychology department contributed great influence over my time at Whitworth. The faculty member that influenced me the most is Dr. Patty Bruininks. I only had one year with her, but she encouraged me academically and personally. I was able to learn classroom management from her, that I now apply to my classes, obtained great research experience as a study coordinator, and went on to U of O, where she also studied.

What led you back to Whitworth to teach? I greatly enjoyed my time teaching at community college, but was debating what my next step would be. My interests in the field of psychology are in teaching and in research. I had kept in contact with the department over the years and learned of an open lecturer position. I had such a positive experience at Whitworth as a student that I was honored to get the position.

In transitioning from a Whitworth student to a professor, what’s changed for you? Having previous teaching experience has helped with the transition. My old professors (that I still look up to) have now become my colleagues. I am definitely at an interesting stage in my life where I am no longer a student, but not quite settled either. It’s an exciting time though!

What advice would you give to current Whitworth students? The same advice that someone gave me: make sure you find a balance in your academic and social life. Your studies should be your number one priority, but seeing friends and being involved in extra-curricular activities is also important. And sleep – make sure you get sleep.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that you feel readers should know? I am happy to be back in Spokane. I’m looking forward to meeting students and being involved in the Whitworth community.

Joelle Czirr, ’06

Birth place: Orange County, Calif.

Favorite music: I’m a sucker for pop music! I love anything from Gwen, Katy Perry, and of course, Britney Spears.

Favorite animal: dogs – always dogs

Guilty pleasure: The Twilight books…and the movies

Best vacation ever: Riding bikes in Munich with my husband

What cartoon character best describes you? Probably Tigger. I tend to get extra excited about just about anything.

If you could try anything and not fail, what dream would you attempt? I would be a rock star or actress.

What is your life motto? Be graceful to yourself.

What have you been up to since you graduated from Whitworth? I worked as a youth director, missions coordinator, and assimilations coordinator at New Community Church in Spokane. A year after graduating I married my best friend from Whitworth, Jim Czirr. I then got a master of science in mental health counseling at Eastern Washington University while working as an aerobics instructor at OZ Fitness. I teach turbo kick, step, lift, RIPPED and cycle. After graduating from Eastern, I worked at Spokane Public Schools as a Family Mental Health Therapist working at Rogers High School and Bancroft School. Jim and I are also expecting a baby boy in the beginning of January!

What activities were you involved in at Whitworth? I played soccer at Whitworth for the first two years and volunteered as a junior high leader at Life Center church. I then began an internship with New Community Church as a part of the Certificate for Ministry program. I worked as a teacher’s assistant in a Spanish class for Senora Hernandez. I also worked as a research assistant for both Adrian Teo and James Waller.

Which Whitworth professors most influenced you? Dr. James Waller and Kim Hernandez. Dr. Waller was my academic advisor and I worked as a research assistant for him as well. Waller encouraged me to continue on in academia and taught me to be confident of my gifts and abilities. Kim Hernandez was like a mother to me during college. She and her husband took me in and mentored me and helped me process life.

Do you have any other Whitworth connections? My husband graduated from Whitworth and has worked for Whitworth for the past five years. He currently works for Institutional Advancement as a director of development. My sister Karina Boslet graduated from Whitworth seven years before me and worked at Whitworth as a resident director and in service learning. Finally, my cousin Briana Gordon attended Whitworth and graduated in 2004 with a nursing degree.

What advice would you give to current Whitworth students? Don’t worry about the grades, worry about the learning. Whitworth has so many opportunities for growth and learning and taking the easy way to get a better grade is never satisfying in the end. Soak up as much as you can for you and for no one else.

Elizabeth (Bethy) Campbell, ’05

Birth place: Spokane

Favorite book: The Grasshopper Trap by Patrick McManus. Hilarious!

Favorite quote: “A man has to work so hard so that something of his personality stays alive. A tomcat has it so easy, he has only to spray and his presence is there for years on rainy days.” -Albert Einstein

Favorite animal: Cats! I’m a crazy cat lady.

We’d be surprised to know that… My husband and I are avid geocachers and have found over 3500 caches. Geocaching is basically an outdoor treasure hunt. We use a handheld GPS device to locate containers, called geocaches, hidden all over the world. There are even a few hidden on Whitworth campus!

I collect… smashed pennies and amusingly-shaped stress balls

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Middle Earth

What cartoon character best describes you? Tigger from Winnie the Pooh because he’s curious and excited by his interests, goofy, caring, and… he’s a cat.

If you could try anything and not fail, what dream would you attempt? Make the Star Trek universe a reality, minus the interstellar conflicts.

If the whole world was listening, what would you say? “Thank you for all the good you contribute to this world. Let’s do more.”

If you could go on a road trip with anyone, who would you choose and where would you go? Doc Brown in the DeLorean and we’d go any when we wanted. “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

What have you been up to since you graduated from Whitworth? After graduation, I moved to Denton, Texas, where I earned my master’s and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from University of North Texas. During school, I also worked as a therapist and psychology instructor. In 2011, I moved back to Spokane and worked at Whitworth for a year as a lecturer in the psychology department and was promoted this year to assistant professor. My husband and fellow alum, Casey Pettitt, ‘04, and I got married in 2009. We just bought our first home and have nine-month-old twin boys: our kittens, Sagan and Ramsey.

What activities were you involved in at Whitworth? I double-majored in psychology and sociology. I was president of our Psi Chi chapter and played flute and piccolo in the wind symphony. I loved the trips and study abroad opportunities I had as a student: touring with the wind symphony in California and Hawaii, working at a psychology practicum in inner-city Chicago, learning about cultural anthropology in Oahu, and studying art in Rome and Munich.

Which Whitworth professors most influenced you? My psychology professors supported me through pivotal moments in my life as a student and continue to inspire me now as colleagues. Dr. Strauch inspired me to study at Whitworth; Dr. Wescombe encouraged me to consider graduate school; and Dr. Wiersma helped me discover my career path. It is through their outstanding dedication to teaching and mentoring that I discovered my vocation and model my own work with students.

What led you back to Whitworth to teach? As an alum, I know and value Whitworth’s outstanding education and transformative “mind and heart” mission. Having personally experienced how Whitworth transformed my life, I am eager to share this most amazing gift with my students. I was so eager, in fact, that I returned to Whitworth a week after I completed my graduate degree!

In transitioning from a Whitworth student to a professor, what’s changed for you? What has stayed the same? There are certainly a few more buildings and a few others are missing! My first question when I returned to campus was, “Where did the rest of the Village go?” But the important things about Whitworth remain the same: the community remains close-knit and incredibly supportive. The students are dedicated to learning and incredibly insightful, and they continue to inspire me each day.

What advice would you give to current Whitworth students? I encourage students to embrace Whitworth’s vision to have “courage at the crossroads.” Fearlessly seek answers to tough questions by opening your mind and heart to explore a broad range of perspectives and opportunities. Show empathy and compassion for each other while celebrating your similarities and differences.  … And have fun along the way!

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