Student Spotlight April 2016

    Danielle Henderson

    Danielle has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry, with minors in Music and German, from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Louisville.  Danielle has already completed and successfully defended her dissertation in Clinical Psychology and is now working to finish her degree by completing her 1 year internship requirement.




    1. What brought you to the University of Louisville?

    I came to the University of Louisville to continue my education.

    2. Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

    While in graduate school, I have worked in the Neurodevelopmental Sciences Lab with my mentor, Dr. Carolyn Mervis. In the Lab, we work with individuals with 7q11.23 deletions or duplications. I became interested in working with these individuals and their families after working as a research analyst in the Lab and learning about their unique experiences and needs.

    3. How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to your grandmother?

    Research has shown that there are relations between how a parent interacts with his/her child and the child’s outcome; for example, children whose parents are rated as having a positive interaction style perform better on measures of intellectual and language abilities. In my research, I am interested in the relations between the interaction style of mothers of children with Williams syndrome and child language abilities.

    4. What made you go into this field of study?

    Prior to beginning my graduate studies, I worked with Dr. Mervis for one year. I really enjoyed the work she was doing, so when I decided I was ready to pursue graduate studies, I chose to continue working with her.

    5. Awards, honors, publications:

    I have been an author on three peer-reviewed publications. I was on fellowship for the first two years of graduate school. I have also received travel awards that have helped me attend professional conferences.

    6. How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

    I am not sure if I can predict how my advanced degree will change my role in society…I do know that I will be the first in my family to earn a Ph.D. I also know that earning this advanced degree will allow me to feel confident in achieving any future goals or aspirations.

    7. Long term goals/aspirations?

    I aspire to work as a clinical psychologist at an academic teaching hospital, administering assessments and therapeutic interventions to individuals throughout the lifespan and supervising graduate students.

    8. What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

    I’m most proud of having defended my dissertation and matching to a pre-doctoral internship. I am also proud that I have many lifelong and fulfilling friendships.

    9. What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?

    I have enjoyed being in an environment that has challenged me academically and has taught me to think critically. I have also enjoyed having the opportunity to attend lectures by nationally and internationally renowned speakers on diverse topics.

    10. What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

    I cannot speak for others, but I know my biggest challenge as a graduate student has been having the confidence in myself to successfully complete program milestones. Seeking out and fostering supportive and encouraging relationships has been critical in overcoming this challenge.

    Fun Facts
    A talent you have always wanted: The ability to choreograph good, quality dance routines in a variety of styles. I enjoy watching dance competition shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. I am always amazed by the tremendous skillsets choreographers must have in order to produce quality work.
    Favorite book: A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
    Favorite quote: "No man is a failure who has friends." ~Clarence the Angel in "It's A Wonderful Life"
    Favorite Vacation Destination: La Jolla, CA
    If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? I’m not sure…perhaps teaching middle school or high school.