Following a passion

TWU practicum student Jesse Allen shares journey on earning psychology degree


Andrea Plascencia

TWU psychology practicum student Jesse Allen looks through reports on her laptop during block lunch on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

After a long day of work, Texas Woman’s University psychology practicum student Jesse Allen sits at her desk, reminiscing about the stories she heard during the day. There were those that spoke of sorrow and others that were joyful. She couldn’t imagine what those people were going through. Although, this reminded her why she entered the psychology field: to help these people out in any way possible.

I think we all end up in this field [because something] affected us personally.

— TWU practicum student Jesse Allen

Jesse began studying at TWU in 2016 with hopes to become a pediatric nursing psychologist, specializing in children and adolescents who have trouble coping with their illnesses and injuries. Currently, she works with high school students to complete practicum hours for her degree program.

“I think we all end up in this field [because something] affected us personally,” Jesse said. “I had a lot of friends that struggled in school and I always wondered why they learned differently than I did. I had a passion for [psychology] and I think that’s what first started me in this area.”

In August, Jesse interviewed for various schools to complete her psychology program. There, she met school psychologist Gina Moore. Since meeting one another, Gina began mentoring Jesse for her practicum process. By doing so, Jesse is completing one of the requirements to earn her Ph.D.

“She has this genuine care for others, handles [stress] really well and [has a] good sense of humor so when things get a little stressful, she knows how to make a life out of the situation,” Gina said. “[It brings] a little bit of easiness to the room, and I think that’s something that’s critical to what we do and she has that natural ability to do that.”

Jesse’s husband, Daniel Allen, has stood beside her as she studies to become a psychologist. Although they briefly see each other because of their busy schedules, Daniel still supports her decision on following her dream.

“I think it’s a great choice,” Daniel said. “She is clearly passionate about the field and well equipped to work with the clientele. She loves to use big words around us. There have been several situations around the house or at family activities where she has blown our kids’ minds and mine too and explaining why they did it or explaining why the brain translates or reacts a certain way to something that has just happened. It has come in very useful at times, other times it’s just cool that she can show off like that.”

Since studying psychology, Jesse has learned different aspects about the field that helps her understand what people are going through. Throughout the course, Jesse studied about how the brain works and how even the slightest concerns can affect a person’s behavior throughout the day.

I believe in people and I believe we have that innate ability to do good.

— TWU practicum student Jesse Allen

“I think you learn something new all the time,” Jesse said. “One of the bigger impacts have been the reality of our social and emotional health, how that affects our learning [and] learning how to look at the system level of how we impact one another.”  

Throughout it all, Jesse hopes to make a difference. She believes in the ability of people to make a difference and become a refined version of themselves. 

“I believe in people and I believe we have that innate ability to do good,” Jesse said. “We are born with that drive. So I think my favorite [part is] to come alongside and bear witness to that journey as people grow and cheer them on [and] say ‘Hey, six months ago this is not where you were. Look at you, look at the work you’ve done and coming to achieving the goals that you’ve set for yourself.’”