Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society, the international honor society for the social sciences, has awarded its Marvel Stockwell Scholarship to Allison Stein, a University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) alumna.
Stein ’20 is using the scholarship to support her doctoral studies at Immaculata University in Pennsylvania, where she is in the second year of the PsyD in clinical psychology. While at UMGC, Stein was active in Pi Gamma Mu. She currently is president of the society at Immaculata University.
“The profound support and guidance I received at UMGC cannot be understated. During my time there, it became apparent to my professors that I had a true passion for psychology and research,” Stein said. “Being on the executive council for Pi Gamma Mu-Theta Chapter at UMGC led to fabulous leadership opportunities where I was able to engage frequently with the student body and encourage other like-minded students to pursue higher degrees after UMGC.”
Stein called her experience at UMGC life changing. She credited the valuable long-time support and encouragement she received from Kathy Im, associate professor and director of the behavioral sciences and gerontology program.
“The scholarship itself is great news, but I think Allison's personal journey to earn her bachelor's degree with UMGC is pretty remarkable,” Im said. “The ending to her story thus far is that Allison created opportunities for herself that allowed her to stand out among other excellent students, and now she is pursuing a PsyD from Immaculata University.”
Stein began her college career at Wake Forest University after high school but shortly after decided to take some time off and return to the Baltimore-area to focus on some family needs. During her time off, Stein was employed as an assistant in downtown Baltimore at a criminal law firm. This experience resulted in Stein deciding she wanted to finish her bachelor’s degree in social work and help individuals with addiction and mental health challenges. She also became a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care.
“My main drive to going back to finish my bachelor’s degree stemmed from engaging with the community in Baltimore City ... [that was] struggling with profound substance use disorders and after the subsequent difficult loss of a very close friend due to accidental opioid overdose,” Stein said. “These compounding elements crystalized my desire to finish my degree so that I could help others with these unique needs.”
As part of a collaboration with medical doctors and clinical psychologists at Johns Hopkins who specialize in addiction treatment, Stein was further encouraged to pursue a higher degree. “I want to advocate and provide interventions for marginalized populations,” Stein explained.
As a doctoral student, Stein is residing in Manayunk, a suburb of Philadelphia. Along with her studies, she has gained career-related experience through internships. In addition to her time with CASA, she works remotely for a child therapist in Washington, D.C., and is a research assistant on community-based participatory research at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She also interns for Dee Preston-Dillon, PhD, who is an adjunct professor of psychology and founding director of The Sand Therapy Training Institute and the Center for Culture and Sandplay.
“Because of UMGC and Pi Gamma Mu, the connections I have made have strengthened me both professionally and personally and provided me with unique experiences that could never be replicated without their influences,” said Stein.
The Pi Gamma Mu’s website notes that the Marvel Stockwell Scholarship was funded to memorialize the late Marvel Stockwell, Pi Gamma Mu international’s first vice president. Pi Gamma Mu has approximately 150 active chapters in the around the world.