About Alicia Harlow

Alicia Harlow didn’t exactly take the short route to becoming a college professor.

She started out as an English as a Second Language instructor in Japan, before coming back to the states to earn a PhD in Counseling Psychology, before coming to the realization that it was the one-on-one with students that interested her most.

“I felt that’s where I was most effective,” Professor Harlow says. “I was good at forming connections.”

Today, in addition to her teaching and research work at Sage, she maintains a small psychotherapy practice in Troy.  And, from her point of view, it’s all of a piece. “What interests me is why people do what they do.”

In her six years on the Sage campus, Professor Harlow has observed her students change. “When I started here, my teaching was more lecture-based, because students were more comfortable with that,” she says. “We’ve gotten more conversational. Students are more open now to sharing their own stories. It’s interesting to see how connected with one another they become in these classes.”

This seems to fit with the impression Professor Harlow has of Sage as a whole. “It’s a really tight-knit community compared to the other places I’ve been,” she says. “The students here know each other really well.”

For Professor Harlow, its classroom discussion that holds the power. “I love it,” she says. “Especially when you see it create for a student a shift in perception, when they have that thought they’ve never had before.”

But does a major in Psychology open a student to solid career prospects?

For Professor Harlow the answer is very much a yes. There are many possibilities, she says, though students do often need to be creative. With the people skills they’ve learned, it’s a matter of applying this knowledge to all the jobs and careers that call upon these skills. 

For Psychology students in the graduate program, they become license-eligible, and prepared to work in such places as college counseling centers, hospitals, community centers, and in private practice.

But the primary motivator for most students who get into Psychology, Professor Harlow has found, is usually personal. There was someone in their life who might have benefited from psychological help.

Professor Harlow has made it her job to have this personal exploration become as valuable as possible.


Recent Courses Taught

PSY 275 – Proseminar: Personal Pathways – Psychology
PSY 304 – Counseling Theory & Practice
PSY 543 – Career Counseling
PSY 571 – Theories of Counseling
PSY 572 – Assessment in Counseling

Research Interests

Career decision-making
Cultural adjustment
Relationship issues
Career development
Multicultural competence
Feminist Identity development

“It’s a really tight-knit community compared to the other places I’ve been. The students here know each other really well.”

Alicia Harlow, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology, Chair and Graduate Program Director

Selected Publications

Harlow, A. J., Psarropoulou, A., & Bowman, S. L., (2019, in press). Fostering group counseling and social justice competence through community-based programs, The Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision.

Chan, J., Harlow, A. J., Kinsey, R., Gerstein, L. H., & Fung, A. L. (2018). The examination of authoritarian parenting styles, specific forms of peer-victimization, and reactive aggression in Hong Kong youth, School Psychology International. doi: 10.1177/0143034318777781

Educational Background

Ph.D., Ball State University
Counseling Psychology
M.S., San Francisco State University
B.A., Eastern Michigan University