I had the wonderful pleasure of interviewing my professor Dr. Audrey Ervin, who is the academic program director for Graduate Counseling Psychology and an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at Delaware Valley University. I am currently taking her Multicultural Issues in Counseling Psychology course, and it is absolutely blowing my mind. It is one of the most eye-opening and thought provoking courses I have ever had, and we are not even close to being done with it. Dr. Ervin has a way of making everyone from all different walks of life feel comfortable and accepted; it is truly an art form. I am so lucky to have her as an advisor.
When I asked her what made her want to go into the field psychology, she said she had a psychology class when she was a senior in high school, and it was the most interesting class she ever had. She then decided to attend East Stroudsburg University where she received her undergraduate degree in psychology. Then, she received her Master of Arts degree in psychology from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. She completed her Ph.D. at the University at Memphis, and did her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Delaware, where she specialized in diversity issues and mindfulness-based interventions.
Dr. Ervin was a professor at Delaware county Community College when the “career fairy” landed on her shoulder. Delaware Valley University was looking for a counseling psychologist who specialized in diversity issues to teach courses at the school. She fit the bill perfectly, and was happy to stay in her hometown of Doylestown, so the commute is great.
In addition to teaching at DelVal, Dr. Ervin also has her own private practice. She likes both teaching and counseling and could never pick one over the other. She always wants to do both. She believes that it is exciting to train new counselors but her knowledge base is not just from textbooks, the practice helps to keeps it fresh. She absolutely loves helping people make proactive life decisions, which she gets to do everyday. She said, “I love working with students and clients and helping them come to ‘aha’ moments where suddenly their thoughts, perceptions or awareness changes.”
In our classes, she is always talking about becoming a social agent for change, and making a difference in the world around us. She began her own quest for social change in 1996, when she sailed one Semester at Sea, which is a study abroad program where you circumnavigate the world while studying on a ship. She went to many countries, such as Hong Kong, japan, Turkey, Greece, Israel, Morocco, among others, and really saw how systemic inequalities inhibited people. She then began to focus on diversity issues. Then when she returned to the United States, she began to focus on issues like homophobia, heterosexism, and gender discrimination.
An organization that really impacted Dr. Ervin’s life was the Association for Women in Psychology. It really helped to shape her and allowed her to realize she could be a change agent for marginalized individuals and groups alike, and just how to be a better advocate.
Dr. Ervin is someone I have learned an immense amount from, and I believe if I study under her for the rest of my life I still feel like I would not even begin to tap into her worldly knowledge. Moral of the story is she’s great and one of the most unbiased people I have ever met.