Meet Our Impact Spotlight Honorees

Recognized for a steadfast and visionary commitment to the public good that defines Teachers College itself, Kayla Parr (PhD student, School Psychology) and Stephan Spilkowitz (MA ’20, Organizational Psychology and Change Leadership) have been selected as our first TC Impact Spotlight Honorees. Chosen through a public vote among highly accomplished and dedicated finalists, Parr and Spilkowitz share how they make a difference. Join our community in collective action in honor of #TCImpactDay.

Our immense gratitude and appreciation remain with all of our TC Impact Spotlight finalists – Nicole Bulanchuk (M.A. student, Clinical Psychology); Heegun “Sam” Park (M.A. student, Computing in Education); Clifton E. Shambry Jr. (M.A. ’14, Higher and Postsecondary Education) and Mariana Casellato (M.A. ’21, International Education Development) – who, alongside countless members of our community, diligently serve people in need through service in education, psychology and health.

Kayla Parr (Ph.D. student, School Psychology)

Meet Kayla, a doctoral student with a strong track record of diversity and anti-racism work. “All of the anti-oppression work that I have engaged in as a school psychology graduate student has been co-created with a community of peers and mentors who have served as sources of inspiration and accountability for one another,” says Kayla.

How Kayla makes an impact:

  • Supported faculty in planning last year’s hallmark Decolonizing Psychology conference, which virtually convened more than 5,000 experts in discussing “the needed resources to critically examine & decolonize their curricular, research, supervision, and mentorship practices.”

  • Has co-authored numerous articles related to diversity’s intersection with psychology, including, “How to be Anti-Racist: A School Psychology Starter Pack” and “Integrating Latinx/Hispanic Culture, Traditions, and Beliefs into Effective School Psychology Practice”

  • Conducts research at TC’s School Mental Health for Minority Youth and Families Research Lab

  • Engages in critical diversity conversations within the Teachers College community as a founding member of the School Psychology Advocacy Collective for Equity (SPACE)

Stephan Spilkowitz (M.A. ’20, Organizational Psychology and Change Leadership) 

Meet Stephan, a mental health leader in policy and at Yonkers-based nonprofit Andrus, which provides services related to social-emotional well-being to children and their families. “In my years working with young people who have endured deeply horrific traumas, I have seen incredible feats of perseverance, healing, and growth,” Stephan says. “The leadership skills I gained at TC helped me in continuing to develop and grow the variety of therapeutic recreation programs which I oversee.”

How Stephan makes an impact:

  • Leading therapeutic recreation programs that build self-esteem, social skills, a sense of community belonging, and the discovery of new talents as Assistant Director of Therapeutic Programming & Youth Development at Andrus

  • Supporting colleagues and their continued mental health work by developing special resources that aim to “enhance the collective resilience”

  • Collaborating with local, state, and federal officials on policy related to youth mental health, special needs and reforms to school discipline

  • Coordinated fundraising, design, production, and distribution of 3-D printed face shields for first responders during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York.