Alliant is home to a rather large number of distinguished and award-winning faculty and alumni, and this is especially true for the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP). CSPP has had a lengthy history of achievement and esteem pass through its doors, and as we celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, this legacy continues to be more than just that—it continues to be the present and future of CSPP.
One such alum continuing this legacy today is Katherine Kruser, PsyD, a neuropsychologist who graduated from the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology (MACC) program in 2016, and our Sacramento PsyD in Clinical Psychology program in 2018. Now working in an elite post-doctoral fellowship at the Sports Concussion Institute, Dr. Kruser is making a positive impact in her community, and through her work, the world around. I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Kruser about her time at CSPP and her career now that she is outside of our doors, and what I found was a committed, dedicated, and remarkable person who is, in many ways, the ideal Alliant graduate.
An Award-Winning Professional
This past year, Dr. Kruser was awarded with the Bronze Psi Award—an award given by the California Psychological Association (CPA) in recognition of service and activity in one’s community, and the highest honor CPA gives to active or recently graduated students. Dr. Kruser received the award in honor of her years and myriad contributions to our student branch of CPA—known as CPAGS—for the work she has done with the Sacramento Valley Psychological Association, and for her work with CPA itself as a member of its Political Action Committee and as a member of its Executive Board of Directors. Dr. Kruser was also given the CPA Student Award for Advocacy, CPA Division of Neuropsychology Student Award for Distinguished Service, and the Sacramento Valley Psychological Association Student Service Award.
And it is no surprise that Dr. Kruser was given these awards. As she said in her own words, “For me, being a student was more than attending class and doing papers—it was being involved in the community. Being connected with professionals in the community really rounds out the education and eases people into professional practice…I continuously encourage students to be involved in local and state professional associations. I’ve benefited so much from the modeling and leadership from these organizations all over the state.” With this in mind, it is abundantly clear that Dr. Kruser is the type of person that takes her place in the community seriously, takes her work seriously, and is the exact right person for the kind of recognition CPA has chosen to bestow upon her.
A Commitment to Her Peers, Current and Future
But this award—impressive as it is—is just the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Kruser has spent the vast majority of the last decade working within her community and improving it through her work both academically and practically.
In this time, Dr. Kruser has volunteered in several organizations whose efforts have worked to positively impact Sacramento and the surrounding communities, including time in the Alliant Student Government Association, a Board Student Representative of the Sacramento Valley Psychological Association, a Chair, an Executive, a Student Events Leader within CPAGS, and as a member of CPA itself—serving historically as a member of their Political Action Committee and Federal Advocacy Network. She has lobbied at Sacramento and Washington D.C. on areas like health care access, suicide training and prevention, the role of neuropsychology in Workers’ Compensation, mandated reporting law, physician’s definition within Medicare, solitary confinement, and psychologists’ scope of practice. One of her roles as a CPA Board of Director is to vote on which stance CPA will take on nearly a hundred bills passing through congress this year.
Even in her time as a student, Dr. Kruser took her place standing within her community almost as a challenge she was to rise to. She set up events for other students to find the placements and mentorships they needed; “I initiated some student mentoring at the Sacramento campus. I assembled a team and brought in people from a variety of clinical backgrounds and set them up with students—like speed dating. It was done by theme so students could sit down and talk about their future and learn about the breadth of practice options. I wanted students to know how to socialize themselves into rooms with other professionals so they’re ready to go when they’re done with their program.” Dr. Kruser also launched the Sacramento Valley Psychological Association’s Student Research Conference, which is now an annual event. “I wanted a place more regional for students to share their research and socialize with other universities. Student research should be celebrated and shared with the community.”
But this too doesn’t cover everything—there is still the time she has spent in the classroom as well. Since 2014, Dr. Kruser has spent time as both a guest lecturer at high schools in the Sacramento area and as a Statistics TA and co-lecturer during her time in CSPP, speaking on topics such as the importance of political advocacy in psychology, neuropsychology, organizational psychology, attachment, and supervision, among others. As she says, “One of the lessons I learned, looking back was that those experiences have been very helpful as I transition into practice. I have learned to rethink that giving a guest lecture isn’t just about getting students to understand the topic, it is a chance to practice for the larger professional world. It’s skill building. I’ve truly learned a lot of skills at the Sacramento campus.”
A California Fixture
And, somewhat finally, we come to Dr. Kruser’s practical work within her community—of which there is a lot. A fixture within treatment centers, schools, professional practices, and hospitals, Dr. Kruser has spent the last 5+ years working in a variety of clinical settings performing assessments, consulting on cases, reporting, treating patients and training students. Simply put, since her entry into CSPP’s MACC program in 2014, Dr. Kruser has been making herself known as a thoughtful and versatile psychologist to both the doctors and patients that exist in her communities.
Today, this has manifested as Dr. Kruser’s current position at the Sports Concussion Institute in Los Angeles, working with professional athletes to help better understand, assess and treat repeated high-velocity concussions. She is also gaining valuable training in criminal and civil forensic neuropsychology and expert witness testimony. She thanks the experiences she was afforded in her time at CSPP for this illustrious position; “All of my clients are VIP clients, very high end, multi-million-dollar legal cases. The quality of my assessment has to be extremely precise and exact. I enjoy the pressure and have learned that the reputation of the quality of your work product can make or destroy your business.”
At Alliant, we are proud to produce alumni like Dr. Katherine Kruser, and applaud the efforts she has made toward enhancing Alliant students’ experiences, the success she has had working in the neuropsychological community across California, and for demonstrating the value of a CSPP education.
We also want to once again congratulate her on receiving the 2018 Bronze Psi Award and want to wish her luck in whatever comes next, as, based on her past and present, we know the future will be nothing but success for Dr. Kruser.