Success: Ashley Helle

From Mount Mercy University to a Psychology Fellowship at the Yale University Department of Psychiatry, Psychology Section, Ashley Helle’s educational trajectory has consistently opened possibilities.

“I’m pursuing a career in psychology, and my experiences at MMU jumpstarted my passion for the scientific study of psychology,” said Helle, who is a 2010 graduate. “Every step of the way I’ve had people—especially mentors—who have helped and encouraged me to pursue research and clinical work, and to reach for additional opportunities.”

“Success today began with the connections I made with the MMU clubs, organizations, with the greater community as a whole, and with the professors, who are wonderful mentors and resources.”

Ashley Helle ’10
Doctoral Candidate in Clinic Psychology / Psychology Fellow
Oklahoma State University / Yale University Department of Psychiatry, Psychology Section
Stillwater, OK / New Haven, CT

Helle has a strong sense of community and service, which is a big part of her reason in choosing Mount Mercy. She liked the smaller setting, that students could get easily involved and that it had a “community feel” to it.

“The Mount Mercy community was like a family and I could tell that upon my first visit,” she said. “The community service aspect was also imperative with my MMU professors, including Dr. Melody Graham, former Professor of Psychology and Dean of Graduate Programs. She was an outstanding mentor as a female leader in psychology, and she helped me navigate the process of exploring research and leadership positions. She then helped with the graduate school application process and talked with me about career paths in psychology. She was instrumental in my success of getting to the next step in my academic career.

Helle says one of the biggest impacts she received has been the model of servant leadership that MMU imparts. She didn’t fully realize it before college, but found this as a perfect fit with her own values as a person. She embraced those values at Mount Mercy through serving as Psychology Club President, member of Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, social work organizations, MLK day of service, and as a student ambassador.

“MMU really instills constantly giving back in students and I continue to strive to do so. And academically, I learned how to be a good critical thinker at MMU through working with my research mentors and in each of my courses. It was helpful to weave together the sense of community, giving, and academic aptitude.”

Another Mount Mercy mentor for Helle was Dr. Ron Feldt, Professor of Psychology, who initially encouraged her get involved in research, taught the ins and outs of the research process, and then how to present at conferences. Indeed, one of the memories that stands out the most for Helle is of conducting her very first research project with Dr. Feldt at MMU. Another fun MMU memory is when a storm knocked out power to campus and “my friends and I were stuck on the Hill in Regina Hall, watching movies on our laptops until they died!

“If I had studied elsewhere, I know my position now would probably be very different,” Helle said. “The individual mentorship I received gave me so many opportunities that I don’t know I would have had at larger school. With perseverance and the incredibly supportive network around me, including family, friends, mentors, and colleagues, I have been able to go on to get my Masters in Clinical Science, enter the Oklahoma State PhD program in Clinical Psychology and now matched as a Psychology Fellow at Yale.”

Getting fully involved at Mount Mercy was influential in a very practical way for Helle.

“Success today began with the connections I made with the MMU clubs, organizations, with the greater community as a whole, and with the professors, who are wonderful mentors and resources. These connections collectively made my college experience very full.”

Be a Mustang. Success Follows.