Dana Riley: Drawing Inspiration from Work and Home

Dana Riley

Psychology major Dana Riley’s decision to return to the classroom was inspired by three major factors — her work experience, personal experience and her daughter.


“Prior to coming to Temple, I was the Assistant to the Director of Operations at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College while I was also taking classes part-time at Montgomery County Community College. My experiences there, I think, provided me with some insight that influenced my decision to return to school full-time,” she said. “I had a rough childhood and I also have a daughter who has struggled with a learning disability and traumatic loss in her life. I was inspired by my therapist of 10 years, who eventually became somewhat of a mentor to me — he recently passed away and I would like to continue his work.”


Riley said making the transition to full-time courses at Temple was made simple thanks to the support of university advisors and administrators.


“I found it easy to get to know the administrators and my advisor — I probably call her at least once a week with a question. It makes it easy when everyone is so informative from the start — navigating the process is simple and there is a good support system for new and transferring students,” she said. “When I meet with my advisor to schedule my classes, she’s very good with helping me choose the courses that are relevant to what I want to do in the future. There are a lot of classes available every semester, whether virtual or in-person; I’m really able to take everything that I need.”


Riley said Temple provides numerous opportunities to take part in internships and workshops or to get involved and connect with her fellow students, expanding her educational experience far beyond the classroom.  


“I took on the role of vice president for the Temple Ambler Psychology Club and that has been a wonderful opportunity as well. We have had a lot of speakers talk to us about what working in the field is like,” she said. “The speakers also provide us with a lot of advice if we are going to go on to graduate school, what kind of certifications we might need, things that they ran into along the way.”


In the classroom, Riley said, “the professors have been very supportive and offer great feedback and real-life advice.”


“I love that our professors work in the fields they teach,” she said. “I think working hard in class also doesn’t go unnoticed.”


When she has her degree in hand, Riley is planning to continue her journey at Temple by pursuing a master’s in school psychology or counseling.  


“The best advice I can give students who are thinking about returning to school is to make connections with other students; get involved and take advantage of internship and workshop opportunities,” she said. “If you need help, speak up because the faculty and staff at Temple are supportive of their students and want to see them succeed.”