Victoria Shivy, Ph.D.

Dr. Vicky Shivy

Associate Professor
Counseling Psychology
800 W Franklin, rm 107
(804) 828-0294

Associate Professor (tenured)
Ph.D. (1994), University at Albany, State University of New York 

Doctoral Program Affiliations

Primary: Counseling Psychology
Secondary: Social Psychology

Research Interests

I study the role work plays in peoples' lives: how people decide on career and educational paths, and respond to a range of career-related events and experiences, with a particular focus on socioemotional aspects of employment. I also help underserved populations (first-gen college students, underrepresented minority students, people from lower SES backgrounds and those who’ve been imprisoned) enter, adjust to and thrive at work. Often I find myself at the intersection of career and health psychology—as in exploring how trauma can impact career choice and adjustment.

Colleagues at Virginia Tech and I are running a series of four studies examining the Greener Pastures program, a vocationally-oriented intervention that pairs inmates at a Virginia correctional center with rescued thoroughbred horses. The 10-year reincarceration rate for Greener Pastures graduates is less than 5%, which compares to 68% nationally and 25% in Virginia. Our research investigates why this program ‘works,’ and works so well.

My field, vocational psychology, is measurement-oriented; hence, assessment activities figure prominently in my work. With regard to clinical practice, I am trained as a generalist; however, my (small) clinical practice centers on career-related concerns. Finally, I love to teach–especially when I can offer students service learning and community engagement opportunities. For years I’ve taken undergraduates and a few graduate students into the James River Park System in Richmond, “A Little Bit of Wilderness in the Heart of the City,” where we help community partners and JRPS staff to preserve and promote the natural environment. Recently, I’ve worked with citizen-scientists in the Parks: Richmond residents who’ve generously committed their time and energy in assisting with my team’s research. Thank you!

Select Publications

Shivy, V. A., Guion, D. B., Green, B. A., & Wingate, J. A. (in press). INTUIT: A career decision-making intervention for female offenders in reentry. Journal of Career Development.
Zanardelli, G., Shivy, V. A., Perrone‐McGovern, K. M. (2016). Predicting behavioral career commitment of college students with attachment and separation relationships. Journal of Employment Counseling, 53, 162-173.

Recent Courses

  • Experimental Methods in Psychology, undergraduate level
  • Careers in Psychology, undergraduate level
  • Career Development and Occupational Mental Health, graduate level
  • Careers in the Biomedical Sciences, graduate level (MCV campus)

Recent Grants

Economic Impact Survey

Amount: $5,000
Role: Co-Principal Investigator (Suen)
Source: Friends of the James River Park
Period: 8/2017 – 8/2018

Affordable Course Content Award: Creating an Open-Access Text for Research Methods

Amount: $5,000
Role: Co-Principal Investigator (Porter)
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University
Period: 8/2017 – 8/2018

VCU Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity

Amount: $345,225
Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Barbour)
Source: National Institutes of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Period: 8/2010 – 7/2018

VCU-BEST Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training

Amount: $50,000
Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Wu-Pong)
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University Quest Innovation Fund (Presidential Award)
Period: 1/2014 – 1/2015

Fetch-A-Cure Pen Pals: A Program for Virginia's Inmates 

Amount: $20,000
Role: Principal Investigator
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University, Division of Community Engagement
Period: 7/2011 – 6/2012


  • National Research Service Award, National Institute of Mental Health, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Department of Psychology, Division of Quantitative Methods

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