Six Students Complete New Doctoral Programs at Lee

Behavioral and Social Sciences, Helen DeVos College of Education, News
Pictured (left to right) are Dr. Jesse Wood, Dr. Joe Parker, Dr. Kristen Early, Dr. Allen Clark, Dr. Roy Chan, and Dr. Bill Estes.

Students from Lee’s Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Marriage and Family Therapy recently became the university’s first doctoral graduates in their respective programs.

Three EdD and three Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) graduates successfully defended their dissertations this semester and received their degrees during the university’s spring commencement, which took place earlier this month.

Lee’s first EdD graduates include Dr. Allen Clark, Dr. Kristen Early, and Dr. Joseph Parker.

“As the inaugural EdD program director, I am so proud of the accomplishments of our first terminal degree graduates in the Helen DeVos College of Education (HDCOE),” said Dr. Roy Y. Chan, director of graduate studies in education and assistant professor of education. “The quality of the work they produced was outstanding and each graduate – all working full time and raising a family in Cleveland – has earned the right to be called a doctor.”

Clark currently serves as administrative director at Trousdale School, and his dissertation evaluated independent living skills of adults with intellectual disabilities in a postsecondary program.

Early works as an assistant principal at Blythe-Bower Elementary School. Her dissertation work focused on the gamification of mathematics instruction on student growth and proficiency in a suburban middle school.

Parker serves as a fifth-grade math teacher at Black Fox Elementary School. His dissertation examined pre-service teacher perspectives on self-care and the impact of training on those perspectives.

Lee’s first MFT graduates are Dr. Daneille Gray, Dr. Eboni Long, and Dr. Joel Lyon.

“We are thrilled about our first graduating class of MFT doctoral students and are proud of the academic training and compassionate care they have exhibited throughout their time in our program,” said Dr. Brandon Rodgers, director of graduate studies in counseling. “We believe they are poised to make a significant impact in the world of marriage and family therapy and positively influence the lives of others.”

Gray is an independent marriage and family therapist based in Cleveland, Tennessee, specializing in racial identity, women’s issues, and relationship issues. Her dissertation focused on the increased awareness of racial trauma and its connection to training pastors in cultural competence.

Long works as a marriage and family therapist under Votive Counseling Services, LLC, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and she specializes in trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her dissertation work explored how traditional trauma treatment addresses racial trauma.

Lyon is an independent therapist based in Dalton, Georgia, specializing in trauma and PTSD, depression, and anxiety. His dissertation examined the effects of burnout, trauma, and training on the efficacy of foster parents.

All six graduates were recognized during a special hooding service, which took place in Pangle Hall as a part of the commencement ceremonies.

Launched in fall 2020, the EdD Program in Professional Practice seeks to develop passionate and empathetic educational leaders through the practice of ethical action, redemptive service, and responsible citizenship in the church, community, and the world. The program was developed by faculty in the Lee University HDCOE and Local Education Agency partners.

The mission of the Lee University Marriage and Family Therapy Doctoral Program is to prepare leaders in the marriage and family field that serve the underserved through Christian organizations and their surrounding communities. The core priorities of the program are to develop each student to become an innovative clinician, a proficient educator, a systemic supervisor, and a pragmatic researcher.

For more information about Lee’s EdD program, visit academics/graduate/edd/.

For more information about Lee’s PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy program, visit graduate/ and click “Graduate Studies in Counseling.”

Pictured above (back row, left to right) are Dr. Julie Gardenhire, Dr. Joel Lyon, Dr. Trevor Milliron, Dr. Edward Stone, and Dr. Brandon Rodgers, (front row, left to right) Dr. Kirstee Williams, Dr. Danielle Gray, Dr. Heather Quagliana, and Dr. Eboni Long.
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