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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Shannon Wilson

by Allison Kish, former G.A.

A native of Long Beach, California, Shannon Wilson is one of the most warmly regarded professors at the Irvine Graduate Campus, not only for her academic dedication to her students but also for the enthusiasm and personal authenticity she demonstrates in the classroom.

Although she started off pre-med working toward becoming an OB-GYN, Dr. Wilson always knew that her true calling was working within the field of psychology. When seeking out her graduate education she said Pepperdine was her num-ber one choice and she completed both her MA and Psy.D. degrees in the program. Once on her career path, Dr. Wilson worked within a group private practice specializing in ADHD assessment as well as being a registered psychologist for the county of Orange. As she found an affinity for testing, Dr. Wilson says that her ability to work clinically and within the world of psychological evaluation allowed for a positive balance.

Beginning work as a professor with Pepperdine in 2004, she stated that she wanted to give back for her wonderful educational experience here. Currently teaching Assessment for Marriage and Family Therapists and Theories of Learning, Dr. Wilson says her love of education and the students she works with is what makes it worth-while for her. At the same time, she regards the flexibility of our field and the ability to create her own schedule as being enormous benefits to her life. Having two children, Luke, 3, and Makena, 1, Dr. Wilson considers the freedom to focus on teaching to be such a blessing, as she is able to spend quality time with them and her wonderfully supportive husband.

Thinking about her roles as a clinician and professor, Dr. Wilson strongly takes to heart how she is presented as a professional and hopes to impart the gravity of the position we hold, as mental health practitioners, to her students. When asked some words of advice for budding clinicians, she emphasized how important humor is to maintain self preservation and to ward off burnout. Correspondingly, once inquired for a message of encouragement to the recent graduates looking for their foot-hold, Dr. Wilson stated that it is vital to ignore the discouragement and to remember if you have passion, there will always be a place for you.