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Helping Others Navigate Difficult Times

Jennifer Arnold is now a licensed clinical psychologist after graduating from Lebanon Valley College

When Jennifer Arnold ’13 started at LVC, one of her first classes was General Psychology with Dr. Kerrie Smedley. 

“I still remember a lot of what we learned—focusing on sleep cycles and how the brain functions during sleep—and being totally fascinated,” said Arnold.

She enjoyed Smedley’s teaching style so much that she took another class with her before Smedley left LVC for private practice, and Arnold continued her education as a psychology major. The pair recently reunited when Arnold accepted a position as a licensed professional counselor at Smedley’s Annville Psychological Services, just a few blocks from LVC’s campus. 

Although their relationship has changed, Arnold said she still sees many of the same qualities in Smedley as a supervisor that she saw as a professor.

“She has this constant willingness to teach, help, and provide guidance,” said Arnold. “When I started here, I felt like I didn't have a lot of focused clinical knowledge or training in evidence-based practices. I had broader knowledge and she was, and still has been, so welcoming, motivating, and encouraging.”

A full-time counselor, Arnold primarily treats adolescents and adults with various mental health concerns including anxiety, stress, depression, substance abuse, relationship issues, OCD, and behavioral issues. 

“I really enjoy the connections and impact I’m able to make with people while helping them navigate through difficult times in their lives,” said Arnold. “I also appreciate our work environment, where I can ask co-workers questions and consult freely.”

Before joining Smedley’s practice, Arnold completed her master’s degree and worked part-time as a psychiatric assistant at Philhaven in Mt. Gretna. She also spent time as a psychometrist in the Neurology Department at Penn State Hershey Medical Center as part of her master’s practicum experience.

“LVC prepared me very well,” said Arnold. “It made transitioning to grad school a breeze and the workforce less intimidating than it could have been. I learned the foundations of how to conduct and interpret research and how to determine if research was valid—thanks to Dr. Lou Manza—which has been incredibly useful in my personal and professional life. I also still give credit to Dr. Michael Kitchens for teaching me how to write a well-constructed APA research paper.” 

Arnold said she thrived at LVC through researching alongside professors, presenting at conferences, and even conducting her capstone research project. She recognizes perseverance is one of the keys to her success.

“When I was in college, I had a plan all figured out for after graduation,” said Arnold. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I was going to get there. It all went out the window, and I went about reaching the same goals in a totally different way with multiple different stepping stones. Don’t ever give up on the goals you have for yourself.”