UHV psychology assistant professor advocates for America’s youth

First-year University of Houston-Victoria assistant professor Elise Hendricker is using her personal experience to inspire a new generation of educators.

It’s an experience that has been rewarding.

Elise Hendricker

“I’m not only working with the students, but I’m making a big impact because each student is going to go on and touch hundreds of children’s lives,” said Hendricker, a Texas Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Specialist in School Psychology.

As an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Hendricker watched as her family and younger brother, who was then about 12 years old and was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, struggled through the web of junior high school counselors, doctors and psychologists.

“I saw my family work with the school psychologist and school professionals to get him the help he needed,” Hendricker said. “I thought maybe that was what I wanted to do.”

The path she wound up on came together by chance, she said.

Hendricker went on to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees in school psychology from the University of Missouri in Columbia and completed her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston. Her research and publications focus on prevention and early intervention, as well as interventions to address behavioral concerns for students.

“If a child gets on the wrong trajectory, it’s hard to take 10 steps back,” Hendricker said.

“But if you can set him on the right path early, you can help children and families be more successful in life.”

Hendricker, who teaches in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences, said there’s an aspect to school psychology that goes under the radar.

“There’s a lot of research about the cost benefits of providing children with a meaningful educational experience, and school psychologists play a key role in this process for at-risk children,” she said.

Those benefits include keeping children out of the juvenile system, out of jail, and can even lessen the dependency on social programs later in life.

She wants to see UHV’s program, and the field as a whole, continue to grow. With high demand for school psychologists, she hopes it will keep gaining popularity.

“A big sell of our field and program is that no day is alike,” Hendricker said. “Every day may be different and challenging, but you walk out at the end of the day and know you’ve made an impact on multiple students, teachers and families, which is what really matters.”

The Faculty Feature is an online feature highlighting faculty members from each of the University of Houston-Victoria’s four schools. To nominate a faculty member, email Paula Cobler , UHV director of marketing and communications, or call her at 361-570-4350

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.