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Kara Pogue Kessel ’09

Director of the Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services Program
at Salisbury Behavioral Health d/b/a New Story

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Master of Science in Psychology

Pine Manor College, Psychology Major

Bermudian Springs, York Springs, PA

Life After Graduation

After graduating from Pine Manor, Kara attended Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania earning a Master’s Degree in Applied Clinical Psychology in 2011 and then completed coursework to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Florida Institute of Technology earning her BCBA in 2014. Kara’s first job was as a “behavioral/therapeutic support staff. I then was promoted to a Program Coordinator position which then led to my promotion to the Assistant Director Position. Currently I am the Director of the Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services program and am responsible for administrative, clinical, and other program functions.” Kara aspires to be promoted into senior management positions in mental healthcare settings.

Kara has stayed in touch with the Pine Manor Psychology faculty since graduating. She would recommend that a high school student with a background similar to hers attend Pine Manor College as preparation for a successful career in health care or the biomedical sciences because of the mentoring and “personalized opportunities” that Pine Manor provides.

How PMC Helped Me

Kara graduated in 2009 with a degree in Psychology, graduating from Pine Manor in three years. Kara was a highly motivated student who was able to take advantage of our Pine Manor Scholars Program which rewards full-time students carrying a full course load who achieve a semester GPA of 3.50 or higher by allowing them to enroll in a fifth course free of charge the following semester. By taking several “free fifth courses” and a few summer session courses, Kara was able to graduate one full year early! This personalized attention was exactly what drew Kara to Pine Manor in the first place, “The small campus setting provided comfort and the ability to individualize my education according to my academic and career goals.” Kara also felt that our Liberal Arts focus helped with her success, “I was able to experience a diverse academic experience while maturing in a safe environment. The individualized attention helped me to feel like I was important to my professors in the same manner my education was important to me.”

Kara was a leader and role model while a student at Pine Manor. She feels she was “adequately prepared for my course work as a graduate student” and served as a role model to other students by serving as a teaching assistant (TA) in three different psychology courses. Two of those courses were our Research and Statistics courses taught by Diane Mello-Goldner, “Kara was always an excellent student and very approachable and for this reason I asked her to serve as a teaching assistant for my fall and spring Community Based Research and Statistics courses. Kara was a very effective TA who helped grade the exams and homework assignments, and she also served as my ‘sounding board’ when I was unsure about a particular activity or student. She also sat in on group meetings to assist with the planning of the class research projects and provided useful assistance to the students and myself.”

Kara completed her senior internship at the Castle School, a private, special education school, and felt that her internship experience was “the most valuable asset in advancing my admission into graduate school. Additionally the ability to take a diverse set of courses tailored to my career aspirations allowed me to gain basic information to be used in the future. My internship provided me with hands on and in the field experience that benefitted me during my first job.”