11 Questions with Deborah Beidel

By December 3, 201510 Question Game

The 10  11* Question Game

Let’s get to know our Alumni Council Representatives

*Onward State copied our idea, so we have to go one better
deb beidel

Dr Deborah C Beidel

Psychology ’76

Orlando, Florida

Alumni Council Member 2014-2017


Question #1: Tell us about the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment research program, funded by the Department of Defense, that you’re running at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

We are very fortunate that we were able to secure a generous grant from the US Army Military Operational Medicine’s Research Program to set up the clinic to research effective treatments for men and women combat veterans. It’s the only comprehensive three week program in the nation and we treat veterans and active duty service personnel. We are evaluating the effectiveness of a short, intensive in-house treatment program where people come to Orlando and participate in two treatment sessions a day, 5 days a week for three weeks.

The program is examining how best to treat combat veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who are experiencing combat-PTSD. It’s a very difficult disorder to treat. Using immersive virtual reality, the program combines controlled exposure therapy where people can experience the sights, sounds and smells of war. We have added a group therapy component that also helps them deal with the depression, anger and isolation that comes with the trauma they have experienced.

What is the goal of the treatment?

The goal is to help people get control of their lives, not to forget what happened to them. Traumatic memories will never disappear, but they don’t have to rule their lives anymore. People are learning how to cope with everyday situations in a safe environment.

Is the three week program expensive?

No, in fact we are fortunate to be able to offer this program free of charge, including housing and meals for the three weeks program duration. People just have to get themselves to Orlando, we take care of the rest.

How effective is this program?

The results have been very, very promising. Currently 64% of our patients report they no longer have PTSD symptoms, but more importantly at the six month update less than 10% report relapses. One of our major concerns was that the intense nature of the program would be overwhelming for patients, but we’ve found out the opposite is true, it seems to make them stronger.


ptsd clinic brochure

More information about Treatment of Anxiety Disorders and PTSD

Question #2: Gator Bites or Peachy Paterno?

Peachy Paterno

Question #3: Exactly how terrifying are palmetto bugs?

They can be quite terrifying, especially the first time c67f5f3059583e06ff3ad99da96536d2one runs across your foot. When we were first looking for a house there was one in a house we were looking at. It was dead, belly up, but I had never seen one. I jumped back and screamed. The realtor said “This is the south. We have bugs. Get used to it.”

Question #4:  Penn State has historically been viewed as a military friendly university, and you are on the board of the Association of Penn State Veteran Alumni that is trying to raise money to re-build the Vet House. Why is it important for Penn State veteran-students to have their own house?

Veterans have had unique experiences when they come back to a college campus. After having been in war, especially the conflicts of the last several years, they often find it’s difficult to connect with the average college student who is typically younger and hasn’t had to deal with the same experiences they have. So there is a need for veterans to have a place where they can connect with other veterans, to give them a sense of cohesion that might be lacking if they lived in, say, a dorm or apartment with non-veterans. It’s not a form of isolation, it’s important for people learn about other people, but having a safe place where they can connect and relax is very important.

Question #5:  What is 0-12?

A) Sad 
B) A warning to Penn State football
C) I don’t know, why don’t you ask Kansas

I’ll go with A.

 Question #6: You’ve spent much more of your academic life at other universities besides Penn State. Why do you choose to serve as an Alumni Council representative at Penn State, instead of one of your other schools?

That’s easy. Everything that has happened to me started when I was an 18 year old girl and I signed up for my first class at Penn State, Meteorology 101.  Everything I have become is a result of the education I received at Penn State. So every free moment I have is going to help Penn State be a better place. I’m the first woman in my family to graduate from college, and the second person in my family. Dad graduated from Penn State with a degree in Electrical Engineering on the GI Bill.

Question #7: You received your BA in Psychology from Penn State but two masters and your PhD from Pitt. Who will you be cheering for Saturday, September 10th 2016?

The same team I was cheering for in Ireland last year (against my employer, the  University of Central Florida), Penn State!

Question #8:  Your research has shown that focusing on one goal is a good form of therapy. What one goal do you think Alumni Council members should focus on to move the Penn State Alumni Association back to being a representative alumni group, instead of a fundraising arm of the Office of Development?

Alumni Council should focus on regaining transparency in their operations. Hiding everything behind a mask of confidentially won’t help the organization grow. Reforming the governance is the only way to put control of the organization back in the hands of its members.

deb daniel taylor

Question #9: What do you, Daniel Boone and Taylor Swift have in common?

We are all from Reading, Pennsylvania

Question #10:  Which has more pages, your Curriculum Vitae (CV) or ‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’ by Henry David Thoreau (Wilder Publications)?

I’m pretty sure it’s my Vitae.

Correct! Your CV currently has 62 pages; Civil Disobedience has only 48 pages.

Question #11: Never Have I Ever: Orlando, Florida edition

Directions: Hold up all the fingers on one hand. When you hear a statement that is not true you put one finger down.

1. Cursed while caught in traffic on the I-4
2. Reached for a sweatshirt when the temperature dipped below 78 degrees
3. Seen an alligator in a pond while walking your dog
4. Began a sentence with “Well, when I lived up north…”
5. Gotten the password to Hansen’s Shoe Repair

How many fingers are you holding up?


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