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MSU Profiles

Expertise inspires school psychologists

Experience is something Joseph Engler, assistant professor of psychology, believes is an important part of a student's university career. He does all he can to allow them to gain as much experience as possible before entering the workforce.

"I think it is so important to keep students' interests in mind," Engler said. "I do that by including them in presentations I give and exposing them to as much as possible."

Engler has ample opportunities to do just that. When he was hired by Minot State University in 2014, he was also elected president of the North Dakota Association of School Psychologists. Having written three publications and three book chapters since 2014, he's been asked to speak at a number of conferences regionally and nationally. He also presents regularly to school districts and school associations throughout North Dakota.

A number of opportunities arose after Engler was chosen to present at a regional conference promoting college attainment and retention for low-income and first-generation students in Spokane, Wash.

"Being elected NDASP president has facilitated good relationships with school psychologists around the state," he said. "Because of that, our students are doing practicums and internships at a number of sites around western North Dakota. I'm proud it's giving students great opportunities to see what school psychologists do."

Engler earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from MSU and a doctorate from the University of South Dakota. During his time at Minot State, he saw all that the Magic City had to offer, so when a job opportunity arose, there was no question in his mind that MSU is where he wanted to be.

"I fell in love with the community and people," he said. "There's so much support from the Alumni Association and the community as a whole, and it always stuck with me as a student. When I moved back, I was surprised at how open people are to new ideas and change. So many other places have to go through so many processes to change, and that stalls growth. That's not happening here."

This was all reassuring to Engler and his wife, Calissa, who are raising a 2 ½-year-old daughter, Sienna, and expecting a second child in May.

"I found that people in Minot love their kids," he said. "They want the next generation to have better opportunities. Being in school psychology, I spend my time working with the next generation. It fits perfectly with what people of North Dakota want to accomplish. Ultimately, I want to impact students at MSU, as well as students in K through 12."