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Friday, May 5, 2017

School Psychology Grad Featured in U.S. News and World Report

Elaine Chen
As a child, she was placed in a special education program because she was falling behind in school. Tests soon revealed that Elaine Chen did not have a learning disability. A language barrier was what was preventing her from excelling in school. Chen’s native language was Mandarin and she didn’t learn English until kindergarten.


Now that she is a school psychologist and behaviorist, Chen’s task is to work with struggling students to determine why they’re falling behind. Her goal is to determine the student's educational abilities through comprehensive and accurate testing to make sure the child is placed in the appropriate program and receives the support and resources needed.

Her job and professional experience were recently highlighted in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report ranking of Best Graduate Schools, which placed the College of Education at No. 57.

“I feel very humbled and honored to have been selected to be featured,” said Chen, 28, who works for San Mateo-Foster City in Northern California. “I am fortunate that my own experience in elementary school, allowed me to find a passion in education at a young age. By the end of high school, I knew I wanted to work in education. However, it was not until college that I found my love and passion for school psychology.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and global studies, Chen enrolled at the School Psychology Program in the College of Education. In May 2014, she got a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in counseling. Two years later, Chen obtained her educational specialist (Ed.S.) degree in school psychology. While at San Diego state University, she also completed her coursework to become a behavior analyst.

“I truly loved my experience at San Diego State. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to train under renowned professors in the field of school psychology,” said Chen, adding that as a professional she wants to make sure all students referred to her are placed in the most appropriate setting so that they can succeed in school.

“As a psychologist, I am given the sole responsibility of determining whether a child meets eligibility for special education. Therefore, I work closely with staff members to understand a child and their needs based on a battery of assessments including observations and interviews,” Chen said. “I also serve as an advocate for children in school because I want to make sure that all students are provided the appropriate support based on their abilities. My wish is that none of the students and families I work with will experience what I experienced as a child.”