December 19, 2023

From Undecided to Prospective Doctoral Student: Madison Cox’s Journey in Psychology at FMU

From Undecided to Prospective Doctoral Student: Madison Cox’s Journey in Psychology at FMU

In 2017, Madison Cox, then an undergraduate student at Francis Marion, had no clue what she wanted to major in. Now, six years later, Cox is graduating with her master’s in clinical psychology and will enter the university’s newest doctoral program, the Doctorate of Psychology, next year. 


Cox, a native of Florence, will receive her second degree from Francis Marion Saturday morning.


Until the end of her sophomore year, Cox was undecided about what she wanted to major in, but she remembered taking an introductory psychology course and being intrigued. She decided to enroll in another psychology course in her quest to determine a major and was hooked.


“I became extremely interested in neuroscience after taking Dr. Herzog’s Brain and Behavior class and knew I wanted to learn more about how the brain worked,” said Cox. “Ultimately, I ended up with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with collaterals in biology and chemistry all because of that one course. Soon after I graduated in the spring of 2020, I knew I wanted to continue my education in psychology at Francis Marion.”


Cox credits the supportive faculty at FMU with confirming she was making the right choice to continue her studies and says she could not have dreamed of a better graduate school experience. 


“The graduate psychology program at FMU has really given me so many great experiences, especially with the practicum,” says Cox. “One of the things I have loved most about my time at FMU is the number of hands-on hours I’ve received as a student.”


Cox spent her 600-hour internship working at the LifeLine Center in Florence which offers child and parent-child counseling, something she didn’t see herself doing when she first entered the master’s program.


Initially, she thought she would only want to work with adults and was determined to stay as far away from child psychology as she could, but that all changed in her first practicum where her placement required her to work with only children. That experience changed the trajectory of her path. Now, she cannot see herself doing anything other than counseling children.


In her internship, she worked with children who have experienced trauma as well as provided parent-child interaction therapy, an area she has taken great interest in.


Cox has decided to take her education one step further and has been admitted as a doctoral student in FMU’s inaugural class of Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) students next year. 


“I love assessment and know that having a doctoral degree will allow me to give assessments,” says Cox. “I want to learn as much as I can about psychology as a discipline and I know that the additional education I receive at FMU will equip me with the skills I need to successfully treat pediatric and adolescent patients in the Pee Dee.”


Upon graduation, Cox will move into a full-time role at the LifeLine Center as she begins the PsyD program. She says that working at the facility has opened her eyes to the great need for child psychologists in the Pee Dee region, a need that helped spur the development of the PsyD program.