Derrick McLean Heads to Claremont for PhD

Written by Laura Paskin
June 4, 2013

It is not every day that a 20-year-old psychology student graduates from college and immediately enters into a prestigious psychology doctorate program. For transfer student Derrick McLean, an early start on his chosen career came after refocusing his energies.
Derrick McLean had already represented the United States at the World Championship in curling when he came to Seattle University at age 18 with 90 credits under his belt. Originally a general sciences student, he switched to business. Then, after taking a psychology course in his first year on campus, he decided to major in psychology. He soon began working with Professors Michael Spinetta and Le Xuan Hy, research psychologists.
After being trained on an ego development tool, McLean analyzed qualitative and quantitative data of children’s responses for a research project conducted by Professor Hy and Professor Linda Bell of Purdue. The analyses are part of a longitudinal study with children, parents, and grandparents.  
During his research, McLean discovered an error in measurement that had gone unanswered for 40 years. He proposed a rule to increase the reliability of a psychometric measure. With Professors  Hy and Bell and alumni Trevor Brown and  Laura Wert  (class of 2012), he is presenting ways to maximize rating reliability using a combination of rules at the American Psychological Association annual meeting in Honolulu in July.
In late August, McLean will begin his doctoral studies with world-renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi at the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University.
“My goal is to gain understanding in how children advance intellectually and socially,” McLean said. “My hope is to create school systems that use empirical psychology as a guide.”

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 42 undergraduate majors, 37 minors, and 7 master's degrees, including an M.A. in Psychology.