Spotlight on the OCC Highland Lakes Psychology Club

StilianosDr. Krishna Stilianos has taught psychology at the Highland Lakes Campus for the past seven years. In 2008, Dr. Stilianos, with retired Psychology Professor Meta Lothman, launched the popular Psychology Club. To date, the Psychology Club has hosted more than 55 events with an average attendance of 40 students.

What brought you to OCC?

I had long admired the mission and vision statements of OCC that centered on student success. I appreciate the opportunity to work closely with students, to share ideas of best practices with other faculty and to be part of shared governance. I have met and worked with many wonderful people who have contributed to my success in the classroom.

Why did you start the Psychology Club?

We started the Psychology Club to provide an opportunity for students to learn about psychological principles and themes, to attend professional conferences, to participate in field trips and to attend films and discussions relating to the field of psychology. Our goal was to help students recognize the real world significance of psychology apart from text book reading. Pre- and post-assessments are often conducted for each event to measure student learning. We provide Certificates of Participation and encourage students to build a portfolio for future academic and professional purposes. We also encourage interested students to assume leadership positions in the Psychology Club by joining the Student Executive Board. The Board is responsible for setting the calendar of events and for advertising and staffing. 

What types of speakers and events has the Psychology Club hosted?

This past September, our guest speaker presented his research on the effects of social media on mental health and relationships. The Psychology Club has hosted film and discussions that analyzed credit card debt in terms of the psychological and emotional roots of spending. We have had several events that examined the commercialization of children and the strategies by which advertisers use research in psychology to promote materialism in very young children. For the past five years, the Psychology Club and the HL Counseling Department have conducted Mental Health Screenings (Depression, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar Disorder) for our students in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. To date, we have screened several hundred students. During our debriefing, useful information on how to best meet student needs has often been identified and implemented. 

You started an Endowment Fund at OCC. Why?

As a past President and Board Member of Michigan Women Psychologists, I started the Michigan Women Psychologists Endowed Scholarship with $10,000 from the organization. It was the desire of the Board that this financial gift be used for academic purposes. Every semester, for the past couple of years, a qualified HL OCC student has received an award of $500.00. It is expected that this monetary award will continue for many, many years.

By Margarita Wagerson


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