Amanda Sommerfeld

Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • B.S. in Psychology, Allegheny College, 2001
  • Ed.M. in Counseling Psychology, Columbia University, 2003
  • Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009
Research Spotlight

In collaboration with members of Bayside HOYAS, Inc., Amanda just received a grant from the Maryland Higher Education Commission to start a college preparatory program for 6th and 7th graders in Kent County. The program, called HOYAS CPIP (Helping Our Youth Achieve Success, College Preparation Intervention Program) targets four competencies: academic preparation, college and career readiness, leadership skills, and caregiver development.

Washington College students will be serving as the main mentors for the program, alongside the founding directors of the Bayside HOYAS. Read more about the program here or check out the website at



My research focuses on the personal, cultural, and contextual factors that affect educational and occupational outcomes. In particular, I study how factors such as people’s backgrounds, their school, home, and community environments, their learning opportunities, and their socioemotional skills allow them to navigate school and work settings in order to be successful in those settings.

Currently I have a number of projects underway, including:

  • Evaluating first year seminars in colleges/universities to see how participation in such seminars helps people adjust to and be successful in higher education.
  • Seeing how participation in an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program helps with college adjustment and persistence.
  • Evaluating a community-based youth development boxing program to understand what the program is doing to help youth develop socioemotional and academic skills.
  • Analyzing a large-scale national dataset on educational and occupational outcomes.
  • Looking at the relationship between academic and socioemotional skills in middle- and high- school students.
  • Examining how cultural factors, particularly race and social class, affect development and how people are perceived.
  • Investigating how multicultural competence is best developed in students and professionals.

Fall courses (offered on a rotating basis):

  • Psychopathology I (PSY 233)
  • Theories and Processes of Counseling (PSY 304)
  • Multicultural Competence (PSY 394)
  • Personality (PSY 231)

Spring courses (offered on a rotating basis):

  • General Psychology II (PSY 112)
  • Behavior Modification w/ Lab (PSY 403)
  • Advanced Counseling Skills w/Lab 
Professional Experience

Before coming to Washington College I was an Assistant Professor in the graduate program in Counseling Psychology at Wayne State University and prior to that I was an Assistant Clinical Professor at Boston University, overseeing the master’s program in School and Community Counseling. 

As a licensed psychologist I have also conducted clinical work with clients of all ages in a variety of settings, including in prisons, state psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment facilities, day treatment programs, community mental health settings, and private practices. My clinical areas of expertise are child and adolescent psychotherapy as well as educational, intellectual, and personality assessment.