Wednesday, May 21, 2014

KCK native named graduate student speaker for Widener University's Commencement

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Erin Donnelly of Kansas City, Kan. addressed her peers at the Graduate Commencement Ceremony on May 16 as the Graduate Student Speaker.

This is the first year Widener University held a separate commencement ceremony for graduate students. Donnelly was the first graduate student to speak at commencement.

A dual-degree graduate, Donnelly received her doctorate in clinical psychology and master's of education in human sexuality.

During her graduate education, Donnelly specialized in psychological assessment, personality theory, attachment and resiliency. She also spent time working with individuals and couples around trauma, anxiety-related disorders, sexuality and sexual dysfunction.

Her dissertation, "A Theoretical, Attachment-Based Perspective of Erectile Dysfunction: Understanding the Roles of Subjective Masculinity, Sexual Motivation, Guilt, Shame and Anxiety," discussed the importance of holistic conceptualization, assessment and treatment of sexual dysfunction with a postmodern approach to masculinity.

Donnelly is currently finishing her internship with the Department of Outpatient Psychiatry at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. She also works at Concord Behavioral Health.

An active student in the Institute of Graduate Clinical Psychology, Donnelly served on a number of committees, including Student Forum, in which she was president.

Earlier this year, she was awarded the Citizen and Leadership Award. Last year she received the Piotrowski Award for Excellence in Psychological Assessment.

"Prior to and during my time at Widener, service work has been extremely important to me," Donnelly said. "I have continued volunteering through local and international charity and have worked to earn a pro bono distinction upon graduation."

Donnelly received her undergraduate education from Saint Louis University in Missouri. As a presidential scholar, Donnelly earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a bachelor's degree biology with a minor in French.

Before attending Widener for graduate school, Donnelly worked for an independent biotechnical research company, marketing and selling products.

After graduation, Donnelly will assume the role as clinical fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Kansas Medical Center's new Pelvic Pain and Sexual Health Clinic. She will be responsible for educating a multidisciplinary team of professionals, clinical work, and creation of a sexual trauma therapeutic program. Donnelly plans to obtain her certification through the American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists, while finishing her PhD in human sexuality, in which she is planning to focus on psychological assessment processes for oocyte donors and gestational carriers and the evaluation of individuals and couples dealing with issues of infertility.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience.

A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences and professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, PA, and Wilmington, DE, serve approximately 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free university. Visit the university's website,, for more information.