Dr. Ann Shillingford is completing her first year on the School of Education faculty in the School Psychology and Counselor Education (SPACE) program. She matriculated in 2009 with a Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida program in counselor education.
Dr. Shillingford was drawn to William and Mary for several reasons; her advisor at UCF was a William and Mary graduate, so she knew the program well. The school's academic reputation drew her as well as the enthusiasm of the doctoral students she spoke with during the interview process.
She was impressed by how open and positive William and Mary students are. "They are eager to go out and change the world," Shillingford said.
Similarly, Dr. Shillingford found the SOE faculty to be open and supportive. "One surprise or disappointment that I experienced at the College is the limited diversity. It is always nice to see faces that look like yours or hear voices that remind you of home. Nonetheless, the faculty members, particularly, the ‘SPACE cadets' have been very generous with their time and support. When they are present, their doors are open and welcoming and even when the doors are closed and I know they're there, they accept my interruption with a smile," Shillingford states.
She feels particular support from Dr. Trice-Black, another first-year faculty member. "I have to say that working with Dr. Trice-Black has been the emotional and mental 'saving grace' for me. Even though we are different in many ways besides racial and ethnic backgrounds, we share similar professional and personal values that makes us a successful team."
Dr. Shillingford's current research interests include developing leadership practices and skills in school counseling students. By encouraging students to be assertive and training them to take leadership, Shillingford hopes that school counseling graduates will be better equipped to work in the school environment.
Another research interest she has is the wellness of minority women in higher education. "We are familiar with what the challenges are," she states. Her interest is what keeps them in higher education.
Additionally, Shillingford is involved with a study, along with Dr. Shannon Trice-Black, and Dr. Charles (Rip) McAdams, concerning school counselor understanding of the cycle of aggression.