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ASC About Us: Doctoral Peer Mentors

Christy Fraenza, PhD, Coordinator, Doctoral Peer Mentors Program

Christy Fraenza, Ph.D.

Education
  • PhD in General Psychology (Educational Track)
  • MS in Psychology
Location: Pennsylvania
Research Interests: cultural differences in online learning; imposter phenomenon; first-generation college students
Social Change Interests: animal protection; equal pay
Joined Walden: 2014
About Christy: At Walden, I enjoy supporting doctoral students in multiple ways, as both the Coordinator of the doctoral peer mentor program and in my contributing faculty role in the Academic Skills Center. I have a PhD in General Psychology (Educational Track) and MS in Psychology, both from Walden University. I have experience teaching psychology courses face-to-face and online and have supported online learners as a writing and learning specialist. Outside of Walden, I enjoy hiking, painting ceramics, and spending time with my family and many pets.
 

Robin Bales

Current Walden Program: PhD in Forensic Psychology

Education

  • BA in Mass Communication – University of Missouri
  • MA in Intelligence Studies, Criminal Intelligence concentration – American Military University (current student)

Location:  Missouri (central time zone)

Research Interests:  Crime statistics, organized crime, human and drug trafficking, and law enforcement safety

Hobbies and interests: Exercise/fitness, photography, traveling, and spending time with my dogs

Advice for a new Walden student: Your key to success is time management and scheduling. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant, take it one bite (step) at a time.

Ashley Beverly

Current Walden Program: PhD Social Work with a focus in Clinical Social Work

Education:

  • Associates in Social and Behavioral Sciences- Coastline Community College
  • Associate’s in General Studies- Northwestern State University
  • Bachelor’s in Social Work- Northwestern State University
  • Bachelors in General Studies- Northwestern State University
  • Master’s in Social Work- Stephen F. Austin State University

Location: Arlington, Texas

Research Interests: Mental Healthcare deficiencies in U.S.  Rural Communities and Military/Veteran mental health

Hobbies and Interests: Traveling, listening to music, singing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Advice for a New Walden Student: As you begin your course work use your class café to interact with classmates, develop strong networks at your residencies, and develop alliances with your mentors for added support through this wonderful and challenging process.  Having a solid support system is one of the most helpful parts of this process because that’s where you’ll develop your motivation to keep pressing forward and experiencing growth. You can do it!

Megan Bledsoe

Current Walden Program: PhD in Public Health focusing on Community Education

Education:
  • BA in Biology
  • MS in Clinical Research Administration

Location: Kansas City, MO

Research Interests: I want my dissertation to focus on Community research participation (particularly rural subjects). I currently work at Children’s Mercy Hospital in KC as an Infectious Diseases clinical trials coordinator II. In my daily job, I work in studies involving vaccines, infectious diseases, and community outreach.

Hobbies and interests: I have four dogs, who keep me pretty busy. I’m part of a research organization for the Kansas City area. Whenever I do have free time I like to go see movies (especially Marvel) or read.

Advice for a new Walden student: Make sure you don’t get bogged down in the workload. You need to maintain a work/life balance in order to stay sane!

William Clements

William Clements

Current Walden Program: PhD Program of Public Policy and Administration

Education:

  • BS in Justice Studies
  • MS in Forensic Psychology (I went to Walden for my Master's degree program as well!)

Location: North Carolina. Go Panthers!

Research Interests: I am interested in economic policies, international trade relations, social mobility, educational policies, and social marginalization of target populations.

Hobbies and interests: I enjoy jogging, spending time and conducting research with my wife, video gaming, reading, and speaking publicly at engagements. I also very much enjoy speaking with mentees! It is one of my greatest pleasures.

Advice for a new Walden student: Pace yourself and learn all you can! Don't rush through your courses and let valuable information pass you by. The courses at Walden are informative and a major asset of attending the university. I look forward to sharing in your unique, academic experience.

Deanna Deaton

Picture of Deanna Deaton

Current Walden Program: Forensic Psychology, PhD 

Education:

  • BS Psychology
  • MA Human Services

Location:  Kentucky

Research Interests: Anger Dysregulation and Help-Seeking Behaviors in Combat Veterans; Violent Juvenile Offenders as Adolescent Mothers; Neonaticide, Filicide, Infanticide and Adjudication Disparities

Hobbies and interests: I am a staunch advocate for off-the-track thoroughbreds. Every retiring racehorse deserves the chance at a second career. I also have a heart for three-day eventing, dressage, and foxhunting.

Advice for a new Walden student: Do not let the excitement of your journey drain your stamina.  Remember to take a mental break, even if you do not feel the need to do so.  Also, remember that this process and your dissertation entails a perpetual learning experience, thus always focus on maintaining progress before perfection.​

Rachel De Los Reyes

Current Walden Program: PhD Higher Education Leadership & Policy

Education:

  • MS Higher Education - Walden University
  • BA Psychology emphasis in Developmental Psychology -- University of California, Davis

Location: Elk Grove, CA

Research Interests: Early Intervention Advising, STEM Education, Imposter Syndrome, Growth Mindset

Hobbies and Interests: Reading mystery novels, Muay Thai kickboxing, spending time with my two daughters, everything Disney, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Marvel.

Advice for a New Walden Student: Believe in yourself and your journey! Doctorate programs are meant to be challenging, if it was easy, everyone would have a PhD.

"It always seems impossible until it is done" Nelson Mandela

Justin Goldston

Current Walden Program: PhD Management - Leadership and Organizational Change

Education:

  • BS Supply Chain Management - North Carolina A&T State University
  • Master's Degree in Supply Chain Management - Penn State University

Location: Pennsylvania (Eastern Time Zone)

Research Interests: online student retention, management, leadership, and enterprise applications

Hobbies and Interests: officiating baseball and offshore fishing

Advice for a new Walden student: Begin thinking about your dissertation topic early. This will allow you to integrate your research into the coursework, giving you a head start on your final study.

Emir Gonzalez

Picture of Emir Gonzolez

Current Walden Program: PhD Curriculum and Instruction

Education:

  • BS Biology
  • MA Secondary Education

Location: California (Pacific Time Zone)

Research Interests: academic intervention, articulation process between high school and colleges

Hobbies and interests: Reading, working out, and spending time with my family

Advice for a new Walden student: The journey will be a marathon so embrace the experience, be patient, and enjoy every step of the way. You will go through some difficulties but be mindful that overcoming these difficulties will make you a better person!

Sheree H. Keitt

Picture of Sheree H. Keitt

Current Walden Program: Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Education:

  • BA in Advertising - Michigan State University
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Health - University at Albany, SUNY
  • Master of Management in Public Administration - University of Phoenix
  • Master of Public Health in Community Health - Walden University

Location: Maryland

Research Interests:  Health disparities, racial equity, life course theory, and maternal and child health

Hobbies and interests: Reading, community service, traveling, and spending time with family

Advice for a new Walden student: Be patient, stay motivated, and keep pushing. Every sacrifice you make now will pay off later and every step you take, you are closer to the finish line.

Mitch Luker

Current Walden Program:  PhD Nursing – Education

Education: 

  • MSN - Nursing Education - Western Governors University
  • BSN - Western Governors University
  • RN Diploma - Baptist Health School of Nursing

Location:  Oconto Falls, WI

Research Interests:  Student success, decreasing student attrition, and decreasing the activation of COMT genetic allele in students

Hobbies and Interests:  When I am not working, I enjoy kickboxing, rock climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, fishing, cooking, and just generally being outdoors.  My partner, Dean, and I have 4 cats (Gussie, Talula, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Cheddar) and a dog (Eva). 

Advice for a New Walden Student:  Firstly, get organized and have a plan for how you will get everything done.  It is important to allow time for work, school, and personal life.  Secondly, store all of your work in a cloud storage account.  This allows you to access your work even if your computer crashes.  Last, enjoy the process.  It will be long and hard, but find the joy in it so that you can get the most out of your education.

Kimmy Porter

Current Walden Program: PhD in Educational Technology

Education:

  • BS in Early Childhood & Elementary Education - Salisbury University
  • MS in Curriculum & Instruction - Hood College

Location: Maryland

Research Interests: Educational Technology, Professional Development, Educational Trends, GSFE

Hobbies and interests: Baseball (Go O's!), traveling, and spending time with my family & friends

Advice for a new Walden student: You are stronger and capable of much more than you believe. Take a breath, believe in yourself - you can do this!!! Follow your passion and trust your gut - it will lead you to your dissertation topic.

Luis Sanchez

Current Walden Program: PhD in Clinical Psychology

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - Inter-American University of Puerto Rico

Location: Iowa

Research Interests: Generational trauma, vicarious trauma, religion in psychotherapy, masculinity, fatherhood stress,  adverse childhood experiences

Hobbies and interests: Taekwondo, Latin dancing, traveling, Netflix!!!

Advice for a new Walden student: Identify your dissertation topic early in your journey and connect with faculty members that can guide you in your research process.  There is no better way to address your dissertation fears than to connect, connect, and connect!