James Madison University
PHOTO: Jessica Anderton

Jessica Anderton

  • Years Attended: 2001-2005
  • Advisor: Harriet Cobb

I was a school psychologist prior to my acceptance to James Madison, so my doctoral work focused on the clinical psychology component. My core faculty included Harriet Cobb (my advisor), Craig Shealy, and Anne Stewart. I had amazing opportunities during my time at JMU, including providing consultation to a Head Start program, advising school psychology students, being involved in research, and being a teaching assistant. The program also sparked my interest in forensic psychology, which I continued developing through my internship, residency, and current work.


I am currently a licensed psychologist in Jacksonville, Florida. I have a private practice that I run with my amazing husband. I am able to engage in a wide variety of roles and functions, including individual and family counseling, psychoeducational assessments, consultative disability exams, and forensic evaluations (primarily competency to stand trial evaluations for defendants suspected of having a developmental disability).

Program Reflections

One of the many unique features of the JMU program was how it was carefully crafted to be academically rigorous and challenging, yet also nurturing.  My relationships with my fellow students were collaborative, not competitive, and I developed life-long friendships.  The program offered me emotional and financial support, and was incredibly flexible and student-centered. I was a single mother during my time there, and my faculty supported my goals to the point of allowing me to attend class with child in tow when necessary. 

The JMU C-I program was incredibly thorough preparation for my career.  I exited with a wide range of knowledge and skills that I have been able to continue to build upon.  I often think of my advisor, and I will mentally don my "Harriet cap" when I am facing a difficult clinical issue.  I am utterly grateful for my time in the JMU doctoral program, and the life-long impact it had on me as a person and a professional.