By Kristen Griffith, The Whetstone
Sophomore Chantel Spotswood said she attended Psychology Club and Legal Society’s professional panel only for extra credit. She enjoyed it in spite of herself.
“It was very informative and I’m glad I came,” she said.
Spotswood said she most enjoyed Delaware prosecutor Abigail Layton, one of the seven panelists at the 6 p.m. event March 29 in Malmberg Hall, rooms 114-116.
“I liked Abigail because she was very straight up with you,” she said. “She engaged me. It made me very interested in her profession.”
The rest of the panel included Family Court Attorney Erin Fitzgerald, Dover Police Officer Robert Cunningham, Family Court Judge Mardi Pyott, Forensic Psychologist Dr. Robin Timme, Sociology Professor and Child Advocate Dr. Jessica James and Psychiatrist Maryellen Carbaugh.
Each one shared insight on their professional backgrounds and day-to-day lives to about 40 students.
Fitzgerald has been licensed for 10 years and is in the courtroom almost every day. Cunningham works in Dover Police’s street crime unit. Pyott, a University of Delaware graduate, worked in family court for 16 years. Timme, a creative writing major, occasionally works with inmates in prison.
Layton originally wanted to be a park ranger, but now works in the child pornography unit at her firm. James became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer through her sorority and spends time with foster children. Carbaugh sometimes deals with extreme mental health cases.
Sophomore Sydiera Laws said she also liked Layton.
“I like her demeanor,” she said. “She’s really professional. She knows what she’s accomplished.”
Laws said she also took interest in Timme, the forensic psychologist.
“His career is kind of interesting but I wouldn’t see myself doing that,” she said. “I liked that he gets to see different things on a day-to-day basis and not just seeing the same thing every day.”
Sophomore Tymara Holman did not only attend for extra credit, but because she’s taking a family law class.
“I was interested in seeing the types of fields that are in that occupation,” she said.
She said that Layton and Fitzgerald stood out to her the most but she enjoyed listening to all of them.
“I liked that not all of them had that realm already decided while they were in college,” Holman said. “Nowadays we’re pressured to do what we we’re going to school for but you can drift off and try different things.”
Fitzgerald said one the most important pieces of information said was work-life balance.
“That may not be something you think about as a college student, but it’s so important to take time for yourself,” she said. “As professionals, I think we feel guilty about taking time for ourselves, but I think you have to do it and it will make you a better professional.”
Freshman Adrian Hunter said he thought the panel discussion was going to be broader.
“I thought it was mainly focused on juveniles,” he said. “If you were thinking about how to help juveniles and kids growing up in foster care this is perfect for you.”
Hunter, the criminal justice major and psychology minor, said he thought there would be therapists to give him an idea of what profession he should pursue.
Junior Luis Arteaga said the panelists helped encourage what he wants to do.
“The forensic psychologists caught my attention and I saw we had attorneys on the panel so I came here to get a chance to speak with them,” he said.