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Lisa Hahn-Egan ’00 still remembers the moment she knew she wanted to spend her life helping others. At Moravian, the psychology major was a mentor for a local elementary school student who had Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum that affects social skills and behavior. The student tried to make friends by talking at length about her favorite topic, the video game Pokémon. Hahn, who helped the younger student practice interacting with other children, was inspired by the girl’s desire to learn better social skills.
“She tried so hard to make friends, but due to her limited social skills and her difficulty understanding the nuances of social interactions, she wasn’t accepted by her classmates,” says Hahn. “She truly inspired me to want to help children with Asperger’s and to try and make the world an easier place for these individuals so they are accepted despite their differences.”
Today Hahn is a clinical neuropsychologist at Neuropsychology Associates of New Jersey, where she evaluates pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients with referral questions that are clinical or forensic in nature. Helping parents discover answers about why their children struggle in school or experience behavioral problems is one of the greatest rewards of her work.
Just like that elementary student, Hahn knows that everyone needs a cheerleader to help them reach their potential. She found her own mentor in Lori Toedter, professor of psychology.
“The one-on-one attention from my Moravian professors was invaluable in guiding me toward my career and for helping me become the person I am today. Dr. Toedter was never judgmental, and was always encouraging,” recalls Hahn, who earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “She made me feel comfortable and capable of achieving my goal of earning a doctorate degree in psychology. Without her encouragement and support, I may not have completed my graduate school program.”
"The one-on-one attention from professors was invaluable in guiding me toward my career as well as helping me become the person I am today."