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Rachel Lago

Rachel Lago '02 prepared for career as school psychologist with her degree in HDFS


Since earning her degree in human development and family studies in 2002, Rachel Lago has impacted many young minds and their learning experiences. She went on to complete her master's degree two years later, and earned her Ph.D. in 2007.

Rachel has worked as a school psychologist at Park Forest Middle School in the State College Area School District for the past 14 years. As a school psychologist, she is responsible for student assessments and determining eligibility for either special education or gifted services. She also consults with staff and parents to implement services that support students' academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs.

Specifically, Rachel works collaboratively with staff to deliver interventions to struggling students. She performs these tasks by actively participating on various school-based teams: multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), student assistance program (SAP), traumatic events, and threat assessments. She is also a coach and team member for the district's school-wide positive behavior support team. Her goals are to provide research-based intervention strategies, systems-level changes, and consultations to help the staff help their students. Additionally, Rachel supervises pre-doctoral interns, as well as school psychology students in the CEDAR Clinic at Penn State.

Her life outside of school includes hiking, biking, and teaching fitness classes.

Rachel's' memories of her days in Happy Valley include her time spent with her Penn State Water Polo team members. In her senior year, she represented her team as a dancer during THON 2002.

Rachel's words of advice to undergraduate HDFS students: "Think critically about all of the options available to you through the HDFS degree, and then work conscientiously towards your end goal." She notes that the helping professions "are desperately in need of more people,” and while these jobs can sometimes be difficult and frustrating, they can also be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding.

This profile was published March 2022.