by Natalie Maier '17, School of Journalism and Communication
Margaret Rosencrans sat with her legs crossed on a bench in the HEDCO lobby sipping her iced coffee while the rain poured mercilessly outside. When discussing all things related to her area of study — children with developmental delays and disabilities — Margaret spoke with candor and passion. It’s clear that she has found a career niche and several opportunities catering to her interests here at the University of Oregon.
She just started her fourth year as a PhD student in the school psychology program. The program, which is part of the Special Education and Clinical Sciences department, is designed to train students to provide support to children through collaboration with other school-based professionals and families, and to conduct research in related areas.
In addition to gaining real-life experience outside the classroom, she was the ’15-’16 President of the Association for School Psychology Students and last year she won the Three Minute Thesis People’s Choice Award for her research and presentation on parenting self-efficacy.
"Margaret Rosencrans, Practicing Professional," read a university badge on her shirt, a tangible sign of her competence and professional involvement at a local elementary school where, among other activities, she implemented a curriculum for kindergarteners "to identify feelings and coping strategies". She worked at this site last academic year as part of a practicum experience for her program. When talking about the children she works with, Margaret smiled, "It’s so fun and so cute!"
Margaret became interested in psychology during her junior high years but decided to pursue it as a career after receiving her undergraduate degree from Tulane University. A New Orleans native, she double majored in both French and Psychology.
"After I graduated I had to decide between going down the French route or going down the Psychology route," she said. "I had an interview with an antique shop, to be a French translator, or I was going to provide behavior therapy services for kids with autism."
She took the job in the clinic.
While working there, Margaret noticed that the children behaved well in the clinical setting, but their behavior didn’t translate into other settings outside of the professional setting, such as home or school.
"I didn’t communicate with the parents as much as I would’ve liked. And that’s something that became interesting to me and that’s one of the things that drew me to [the University of Oregon]," she said.
One area of study Margaret has focused on has been co-parenting in families with children with developmental disabilities.
"When I think about co-parenting I’m thinking about the support you’re getting from your co-parent," she said. "So usually your romantic partner is also your co-parent. But that’s not always the case. You might be co-parenting with a grandparent. I’m interested in to the degree to which the co-parent is providing support to the other parent [the primary caregiver] in their child rearing endeavors and the extent to which they are undermining that co-parent’s authority."
She explained co-parenting as a spectrum: "On one end is ‘support’ and the other end is ‘lacking support and undermining behavior’". Margaret plans to use this research to write her dissertation.
After Margaret graduates in Spring 2019, she plans to work in a clinical setting providing services to children with developmental delays or disabilities.
"I’m interested in the idea of ‘training the trainers’ so that’s why I like the idea of being a director or supervisor — to train people who are directly providing services [to the children]."