Dr. Varner (she/her/hers) is a first-year postdoctoral fellow and CPSY alum.
Where is your hometown?
Where did you obtain your bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and what were your majors?
BA – Manchester University in Northern Indiana
Triple majored in Religion, Psychology, and Spanish
MA – Ball State University
Dual master’s in Social Psychology and Clinical Mental Health Counseling
PhD – Ball State University
Counseling Psychology with a cognate in Social Justice
What first interested you in counseling psychology?
I became interested in psychology starting in high school. In college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do career-wise so I explored my interests and options. After college, I worked for 2 years as a victims advocate at A Better Way. I worked with clients and people in crisis, helping to support their well-being. I loved my experience and the community intervention work, doing educational programs and trainings. I learned from this experience that I wanted to conceptualize my clients with a systemic lens, looking at the bigger picture, which brought me to counseling psychology.
What brought you to Ball State?
After my doctoral internship in Salt Lake City, I wanted to come back to Muncie to be near family again. I also had worked in the Muncie community for a decade at that point and was excited to continue being a part of this community.
Please describe your role within the department.
My title in the department is post-doctoral fellow for the Counseling Practicum Clinic. I’ve completed my PhD and am working on the last steps towards licensure as a psychologist in Indiana. In this position, I see clients in the CPC, supervise master’s interns, facilitate doctoral group supervision, teach a master’s practicum course, and help with outreach efforts within the clinic among other things.
What are your research and clinical interests?
My research interests include social justice, activism, and feminist identity development. My dissertation was about exploring the impact of content related to sexual violence on social media on survivors of sexual violence.
Clinically, I work mostly with adults with trauma-related concerns, identity exploration (gender, sexual orientation, religious), and body image concerns. I have also enjoyed my clinical experience with college and university populations.
Outside of academia, what are your favorite hobbies?
I love cooking, taking care of my plants, and playing board games. I also enjoy spending time with my family, especially my niece and nephew.
What is your favorite time of the day and why?
I’m a morning person, so I really enjoy the sunrise. In the winter, I love any time of day when there’s sunlight.
What’s something about you that people would be surprised to know?
I’ve been vegan for 2 years!
How do you practice self-care?
Throughout grad school, my friends and I had sacred weekly game nights – we were intentional to not talk about school! I still enjoy doing game nights, usually playing board games like Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, or Villainous just to name a few.