Newsletter Article

Alumni Spotlight: Sunny Allen, Class of 2018

Sunny Allen with Daniel
Picture of Sunny Allen with her pig, Daniel

“Have fun with your psychology major! It’s a versatile and enriching degree.” 

(Alumna Sunny Allen’s advice to future psychology majors) 

Don’t let this advice fool you. While Sunny Allen’s path definitely included enjoyable experiences and wonderful discoveries, it was also filled with lots of hard work. A first-generation college student, Sunny learned how to navigate the higher education system while working a variety of jobs ranging from accountant to barista, to nanny, and tackling a challenging commute to campus.  

Sunny took advantage of many of the opportunities here at the University of Washington. As a transfer student from Seattle Central College, she packed a lot into the two years that she spent as a UW psychology major. Alongside her studies in pursuit of a Bachelor of Sciences degree, Sunny participated in research as well as in the peer teaching experience. The latter as a Peer Leader for the Psychology Transfer Academic Community (TRAC) class where she was a guide and mentor for first-quarter transfer students. 

Thinking back on her time as a psychology major, Sunny says that her favorite classes were taught by Professor Emeritus Jaime Diaz and Teaching Professor Laura Little. “Both professors were extremely passionate about their work,” recalls Sunny, “and that inspired me to dig deeper into my own learning.” Sunny’s own passion centered on a desire to help young people. This led her to apply for a newly endowed scholarship for psychology majors who transferred from a Washington State community college and she was selected as the inaugural Aric Chandler Scholar. 

Following her graduation from UW in August of 2018, Sunny put that desire to help young people into practice through her work as a case manager at First Step Family Support Center assisting moms who struggled with substance use with the aim of helping them to get sober and to reunite with their families. After two years working in the field, Sunny began a graduate program through Eastern Washington University where she is pursuing an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in School Psychology.  

Sunny’s graduate school practicum turned into a full-time job as a school psychologist assistant with the Olympic Educational Service District. Upon completion of her graduate program in 2023, Sunny plans to stay with her current employer and work as a school psychologist serving the community where she and her husband live happily with a menagerie of cats, dogs, and pigs Daniel and George!