Devin Noel-Harrison ’22

Devon Noel-Harrison

Hometown: Tacoma
Degree: Master of Science — Research Psychology

When Devin graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2021 with a bachelor’s in clinical counseling psychology, he was looking for ways to get more research experience.

As a student, he had been working on two studies — one in SPU’s Child and Adolescent lab looking at parents’ mental health and concerns about children’s emotional development during the pandemic; and a second focused on parents’ attitudes and experiences discussing race with their children.

However, due to COVID, data collection for family studies were temporarily paused, and as a former Running Start student, Devin already had fewer years to dedicate to research. So when he heard about SPU’s new program, Master of Science — Research Psychology, it seemed like the perfect way to take a year to discern whether a PhD was right for him.

Now he’s a research assistant at MultiCare, where he works on two projects in adult and pediatric neurology — one examining multiple sclerosis and a second looking at how shingles and flu vaccines interact with the COVID booster. Just recently he accepted a position as a research analyst at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), where he supports and evaluates research, programs, and policy related to student improvement, student learning, student well-being, and the opportunity gap of students of color.

And he attributes both of these successes to SPU’s Research Psychology MS program — to faculty support and to new opportunities for networking.

“That’s what I’ve been noticing about the program,” Noel-Harrison says. “As I develop in the program, I’m finding more of my interests and skills. The professors are really good at helping guide us into what we want to do.”

Now, his goal is to spend two to three years working as a data scientist or health researcher, while he continues his discernment around pursuing a doctoral degree. During that time, he’s confident that his coursework and master’s thesis will provide essential experience in grant-writing, conducting literature reviews, designing research studies and conducting statistical analyses.

Opting to write a master’s thesis for his capstone project, Noel-Harrison is using data from associate dean of research Lynette Bikos’ lab to look at how racial identity either strengthens or weakens the relationship between post-traumatic stress and/or post-traumatic growth for Black adults who have witnessed racially traumatic events on the news, social media, or online media.

It’s a project that’s been fostered by faculty support — professors connecting him with raw data-sets to be analyzed, and capstone committee members providing mentorship and guidance throughout the process.

“This has been a very positive and formative experience,” Noel-Harrison says. “Psychology faculty and the SPFC community in general are very supportive. They’ve been offering a lot of support in difficult times. They’ve helped me see myself more as a researcher.”

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“I appreciate how faculty push me to problem solve on my own initially,” Northey says, “which allows me to grow as an independent researcher.”