Miranda Bernier puts her trust in the saying, “What is meant for you will come to you” and believes she was destined to pursue a career in school psychology. Her two years spent at Minnesota State University Moorhead were integral to that destiny coming to fruition.
Miranda Bernier is a school psychologist at Hopkins North and West Junior High Schools in Minnetonka, Minn. She attended MSUM before transferring and eventually earning a graduate degree in school psychology. Despite transferring, she believes her time in Moorhead shaped her path going forward.
“I enjoyed how small and close-knit the MSUM community was. The campus is beautiful, and the professors see education as a doorway for students and how important it is to provide equitable access to education for all people,” she said.
She believes MSUM was a necessary and influential step on her journey to becoming a school psychologist.
“If I hadn’t heard about this career field from my professors, I wouldn’t have gotten here,” she said.
Miranda started in the elementary education program and was quickly interested in her Intro to Psychology class with Dr. Lisa Stewart. This encouraged her to get on track to becoming a school psychologist instead of a special education teacher.
"Miranda is an amazing advocate for students and a fantastic school psychologist. It is so rewarding to see our advisees and students find their passion,” says Dr. Lisa Stewart, professor of psychology at MSUM.
MSUM’s undergraduate psychology program is a four-year program which offers the choice of three different minors. The Leadership and Innovation in Aging Studies (LIAS) program allows psychology undergrad students to work towards completing a second major in the time it takes to finish one.
"I believe many solutions to the world's problems can be found in the brains of those whose voices have been silenced or forgotten," she said.
She advocates that Minnesota needs more school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists and school nurses, to nurture what is lacking and help students succeed.
According to childrensmn.org, 28% of 11th graders considered suicide at some point. LGBTQ+ students are as 3 times as likely to consider suicide than heterosexual students.
MSUM offers a psychology graduate program including a one-year full time internship in the schools. As a part of the National Association of Psychologists Approved Program, the graduates program provides the training needed for school psychology employment in grades PreK-12. With achieving a master’s degree, MSUM offers Specialist degrees alongside.
The lack of resources provided by the state is detrimental to how kids grow up and learn to deal with not only mental health but also their own feelings.
As much as talking with and supporting our youth during a mental health crisis brings awareness, implementation of mental health services is important to proactively educate students.
“Starting small with talking to kindergarteners, asking them what their body feels like when they are mad or sad, and building upon that is very important,” she says, “I love how kids are much braver about talking about mental health.”
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