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Clinical Psychology
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Clinical Psychology
In the Counseling and Clinical Psychology Department

Noteworthy > Featured People

Featured People

Featured Students


Our students today are the mental health professionals and innovators of tomorrow. They already enrich the field of applied psychology with their unique backgrounds, talents, and interests. This page will continue to feature current students and alumni who represent the spirit of our program.



Current Students


Matthew Reinhardt


1. Where are you now? (i.e. If you have been accepted into a doctoral program or working, please specify)
Upon finishing my Masters at Teachers College I am pursuing a Masters program that leads to licensing with the option to enter into a PsyD program. I am excited to be going to The Institute for Psychological Sciences, a Catholic graduate school in Arlington, Virginia.

2. What did you do before TC? (School, Major, Clinical/Research experience, etc.)
Before entering TC I worked for ten years in the private school system. Besides teaching, coaching and working as an administrator I also was involved in a mentorship program which allowed me to mentor to over 300 young men grades five through twelve. This experience led me to come to the realization that many youth are in need of more serious psychological help, thus sparking my interest in a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. 

3. Why did you choose the MA Program at TC?
I chose TC for several reasons. The location in Manhattan was very attractive to me and I feel I have taken advantage of studying in this great city. I was impressed with the long list of famous men and women who have walked the halls of TC like John Dewey, Mary Adelaide Nutting, Carl Rogers, Edward Thorndike, Rollo May etc. Finally, not having studied Psychology in undergrad, I felt like the wide variety of courses offered in the masters program would give me the groundwork from which to continue to pursue my academic interests in psychology. 

4. How did TC help you meet your goals today?
TC helped me lay the groundwork for a future in the field of psychology. Coming from a school like TC has also opened doors for me in my pursuit of furthering my studies. I also made some good friends at TC and have started to develop a network of people who I believe I can work together with in my career.

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to continue to work in the field of counseling and treatment of youth and adults. I would
like to work in and around New York City. Hopefully my work would be similar to what I have
been doing, but with greater depth and efficacy.

6. What if any interesting projects/research/clinical interests are you currently pursuing
(optional)?
During the masters program I specialized in addictions. This theme appears to be coming up
more and more in today’s society and I look forward to being an instrument to help people
overcome addictive tendencies of all types and help them regain control and peace in their lives.




Ren Li


1. Where are you now? (i.e. If you have been accepted into a doctoral program or working, please specify)
I have been accepted into the Social, Decision, and Organizational Science doctoral program at University of Maryland, College Park with a full scholarship. Dr. Michele Gelfand, one of the world's leading researchers in international culture and conflict, will be my primary advisor.

2. What did you do before TC? (School, Major, Clinical/Research experience, etc.)
I graduated from Miami University in Oxford Ohio in psychology with a statistics minor in 2011. While I was in college, I have done some clinical work with children who suffered from developmental disabilities as well as some research work in other research labs. Back then, I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my degree and I thought being a clinical psychologist was the only way to go if I study psychology as an undergrad. So after graduation, I applied to several grad programs in clinical psychology and, luckily, I got an offer from TC.

3. Why did you choose the MA Program at TC?
There are some leading researchers at TC and Columbia that I could see myself working with and I have always wanted to come to New York.

4. How did TC help you meet your goals today?
First, TC provided so many options, which helped me to explore my maximum opportunities. As a clinical psychology student, I was not limited to only working with faculty in my department. I have been working with high profile professors in the epidemiology department, social psychology department, and business school. Working with a variety of excellent researchers has broadened my career prospects and enhanced my qualifications in my pursuit of a PhD degree in social and organizational psychology.

Second, the curriculum of the program is very flexible. While I was taking some in-depth clinical psychology courses at TC as well as working with clinicians, I realized that being a clinical psychologist was not the life I would be thrilled to live in. Then I was able to take classes in organizational psychology and statistics department to explore my options in other fields.
   
Last but not least, TC and Columbia faculty members were very helpful and supportive. There was always someone to talk to and guide me through my difficulties.

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
After getting my PhD, I would want to apply to tenure track professor jobs at business schools. I could see myself as a business professor conducting research, teaching and mentoring students in the future. I would also like to start a consulting/executive coaching company on the side.
 
6. What if any interesting projects/research/clinical interests are you currently pursuing (optional)?
Currently, I have two ongoing research projects. One is to understand perspectives of disclosing mental illness among relatives as these decisions may influence treatment seeking, experiences of stigma and support for both consumer and family members. The second project is investigating MBA program admission measures, the performance of MBA candidates in business school and early career trajectory of their graduates.



Randolph Scott-McLaughlin


1. What did you do before TC/ currently doing now? (School, Major, Clinical/Research experience, etc.)
Originally, I am from New York City, born and raised. I attended Carnegie Mellon University for college where I studied psychology, jazz saxophone performance, and mechanical engineering. Upon graduating with my Bachelors of Science in Psychology, I started working at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in the Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECC) Department in Pittsburgh as a Research Associate. At MIRECC, I was the study coordinator for three major projects, which included recruiting participants, performing assessments, and Institutional Review Board submissions. Additionally, I served as the data co-manager for my department where I oversaw data analysis and data entry procedures. As a Research Associate, I was given my first opportunity to conduct clinical psychology research with severely mentally impaired patients suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder I, depression to mild traumatic brain injuries, just to name a few.

Since starting at TC I have been volunteering at Harlem Hospital in the Clinical Psychology Department, where I have been receiving clinical training and, under the supervision of a licensed practitioner, had the opportunity to shadow clinicians and interact with clients and staff during inpatient rounds and outpatient sessions. At Harlem Hospital, I have interacted with patients from diverse ethnic backgrounds, which has influenced my academic interests.

As a TC student, I also work in the Office of Diversity and Community Affairs, where I became enmeshed within the fabric of TC in a way beyond academics. Presently, I am working on the first phase of a research project which aims at culturally adapting group adolescent Interpersonal Therapy for mildly to moderately depressed adolescents whose parents have recently filed for divorce. This project initially arose from a final paper I wrote for a course taught by Dr. Helen Verdeli. She and her lab have been assisting me with the project ever since.

Additionally, I am contributing to a fiction novel with Dr. Susan Bodnar that focuses on diversity and adolescence. This has given me a chance to combine my artistic skills with my academic interests. It has been a very exciting experience thus far.

2. Why did you choose TC?
For me, TC was the school that had professors with research interests that lined up with my own. The student body and staff were both very nice to me during my school visits. That is when I got the feeling that TC was where I would like to be.
 
3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I see myself finishing my Clinical Psychology doctoral internship and preparing to finish writing my dissertation.

4. When and how did you become interested in psychology?
In high school, a hobby of mine was to go read psychology books at the Barnes & Noble stores in the city. How people thought about the world around them, the mechanics of the brain, and mental health were all interesting topics and concepts that I loved to read about. However, I never thought about making a career out of it. By my junior year of college, I was bitten by the psychology bug and decided to pursue it as an undergraduate and thereafter as a graduate student.

Prior to making the decision of switching my academic program, I read up on what I could find out about counseling, therapy, social psychology, cognitive psychology, and talked with the professors in the Psychology Department at length. Once in the program, I tried to get as much research experience as possible by volunteering in cognitive and social psychology labs. Through volunteering, I was able to find that my interests lie in research and received confirmation that clinical psychology was in my future.
 
5. Who is your favorite writer?
Michio Kaku, Emily Bronte, and Cornel West
 
6. Why did you choose the MA program in Clinical Psychology?
I chose the MA program in Clinical Psychology because I wanted to learn more about my own interests in the field before starting my doctorate. Furthermore, I wanted to gain more clinical experience as my clinical opportunities for development were limited prior to starting at TC . 




Robert Frashure


1. What did you do before TC/ currently doing now? (School, Major, Clinical/Research experience, etc.)
Before Teachers College, I graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Visual Studies (their name for art). I worked as a fine art painter for two years after that, making large scale oil paintings about New England and selling them in Boston (where I am from!). Some of my paintings can be found in hospitals and lobbies around Boston. Then I decided I wanted to go to art school, so I moved to Los Angeles where I completed an M.F.A at California Institute of the Arts, which was one of the best experiences of my life! Learning art at the school where Tim Burton, Pee-Wee Herman, David Hasslehoff, and Walt Disney established their reputations was a blast.

Since graduating from the M.F.A. in 2009, I have been teaching art to children in pre-school in addition to making my own paintings. I have also had an internship at the St. John's therapeutic pre-school in Santa Monica in Los Angeles, where i have been inspired to work more deeply in helping children and using art as a therapeutic tool.

2. Why did you choose TC?
I chose Teacher's College for a few reasons. First, my background is not specifically in psychology so I was really drawn to how the M.A. program prepares students who haven't studied this in school. I am excited that the program will give me the tools to get started and go forward in the field of psychology. Secondly, I like how the M.A. program offers the opportunity to get hands-on research and clinical experience. I am looking forward to "getting out there" in the field and seeing the different ways in which clinical psychology can be applied in the real world. Thirdly, I really enjoyed the admitted students weekend and was inspired to see how the current students and alumni have taken their passions and used the school to make careers and important contributions to the world. I actually sat next to the TC distinguished alumni who worked on the TV show "Blues Clues" because I accidentally stumbled into the reserved seating area at the speaker presentation that weekend. We had a great conversation about her television work in Los Angeles and how she has been able to use her experience at Teachers College to advance her creative interests.
 
3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I would like two things: first, to be established or in the process of establishing a clinical psychology practice that involves working with children and young people. I have actually always dreamed of being a psychoanalyst, and hope that I can be in five years. Although I would like to have my own practice one day, I am also interested in working in hospitals and clinics to get started too. Secondly, I hope that I will be able to integrate my passion of art with my interest in psychology. This may take the form of using art and creative experiences in clinical psychology therapies with children, researching the links between creativity/therapeutic improvements/pathology (an area I find fascinating), writing articles that cross the boundaries between art/psychoanalysis/cultural criticism/psychology, and who knows what else. I definitely want to keep making art too!
 
4. When and how did you become interested in psychology?
I first started to become interested in psychology when I was exposed to psychoanalysis as a teenager. I always loved to go to psychoanalysts and talk about the world; the depth of conversations we would have were unlike anything else I experienced outside. Since those early exposures to psychoanalysis, I have worked with the whole range of therapists in that field: a traditional Freudian analyst, a relational psychoanalyst, and a psychohistorian. Throughout all of this, the question of "what is psychoanalysis?" has been at the forefront. I am not sure I know!
 
Additionally, while in college I was really drawn to a course called "The Psychology of Creativity" taught by Shelly Carson, which drew links between creative experiences and psychology. I would be interested to do further research in this area.
 
5. Who is your favorite writer?
My favorite writer is William Burroughs. I would also include Dostoevsky, Melanie Klein, Georges Bataille, and Dennis Cooper.
 
6. Why did you choose the MA program in Clinical Psychology?
I am hoping that this program will give me the academic tools, research experiences, and fieldwork to move me forward in the field of psychology and into a doctoral program. I am also hoping that interfacing with fellow TC friends, teachers, and school community will help guide me to a specific area of clinical psychology and help to establish a career in this field.
 





Marie Hansen


 

1. What did you do before TC/ currently doing now? (School, Major, Clinical/Research experience, etc.)
While attending classes, and for the past five years, I have been working as a librarian. I have a B.A. in Women Studies and a Masters degree in Library and Information Science.

2. Why did you choose TC?
I heard about TC while at a women's writing workshop led by Pamela Des Barres! One of the fellow attendees was a student at TC and she told me all about the MA program. I checked out the website, read through the course listings, and felt like I wanted to take everything offered! Plus, TC and the greater Columbia community has so many interesting opportunities to explore. In fact, in the short time I have been here I have done everything from hang out with cultural anthropology students to work on research at the medical campus to attend lectures on neuroscience & psychoanalysis. It is a really rich community if you take the time out to look around.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is a tough question! Five years ago I had just finished my masters degree in library science and I would never have guessed I would be studying clinical psychology today. That being said, I hope to be in a Ph.D. program.

4. When and how did you become interested in psychology?
My interest in psychology has developed over the past few years from working in a public service setting and really getting to know people. Everyone has entire worlds inside of them and I find people's resilience and subjective experience of the world fascinating.
 
5. Who is your favorite writer?

James Joyce. Reading Ulysses was a deeply spiritual experience for me.

6. Why did you choose the MA program in Clinical Psychology?
The MA program is a great way for me to gain knowledge and experience about the field without having a background in psychology. I also chose the MA program as a way for me to "test" my interest. Making a career change can be daunting and I wanted to be 100% sure I was on the right track and psychology was something I really wanted to pursue. I'm just at the tail end my first semester now and have already begun to seek out and separate what really interests me from what doesn't. With so many options and so many avenues for a career in psychology, the MA program is a really great liminal space to figure all of that out. Plus, at the end of it, I have a degree to use no matter what I decide to do in the future.




Recently Graduated Students


Annie Rabinovitch

 
1. Where are you now? (i.e. If you have been accepted into a doctoral program or working, please specify)

I am presently a first-year doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Clinical Psychology PhD program (Family and Child Track) under Dr. Heather Jones, an expert in childhood ADHD.  

2. What did you do before TC? (School, Major, Clinical/Research experience, etc.)
I received my B.A. from the University of Rochester with a major in English and a minor in Psychology in 2007. Upon graduation, I worked at Columbia University’s New York State Psychiatric Institute in the Department of Epidemiology under Dr. Myrna Weissman as coordinator of the Advanced Center for Intervention and Services Research (ACISR), a large, multi-disciplinary research endeavor funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The center funded pilot projects which sought to increase access to psychosocial treatment for low-income racial and/or ethnic minority children and their families.

In 2009, I procured a position under Dr. Moira Rynn on the Children’s Day Unit, a day treatment program for adolescents struggling with a variety of mental disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and Tourette’s disorder. I served as coordinator of numerous randomized controlled clinical trials examining the efficacy of novel psychopharmacological compounds for childhood psychiatric illnesses.

In 2010 I was admitted into the Masters program (personality and psychopathology track) at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

3. Why did you choose the MA Program at TC?
While I was afforded invaluable research experiences upon graduating from the University of Rochester, I felt that additional coursework in statistics, research methods and psychological theory would well-equip me for doctoral work in clinical psychology, which has been my ultimate goal for quite some time. The MA Program at TC offered an array of courses taught by highly esteemed professors in the field of psychology.

4. How did TC help you meet your goals today?
TC provided me with a broad knowledge base in psychology, thus allowing me to hone my interests in the field further and eventually apply to doctoral programs. I am especially thankful for the guidance of Drs. Helena Verdeli and Karen Hurley.

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself in a hospital or university-based setting conducting research and working clinically with underserved children and families struggling with mental health problems.
 
6. What if any interesting projects/research/clinical interests are you currently pursuing?

I am currently working on a research study examining differences in parenting among African American parents of children with and without ADHD in the Richmond, Virginia area. Additionally, I will be submitting a poster to ABCT’s upcoming conference in Maryland examining ADHD symptoms as a moderator of the relationship between treatment and parent-adolescent conflict over time in a sample of youth enrolled in a partial hospitalization program.


 


Anthony Santoro 



1.  Where are you now? (i.e. If you have been accepted into a doctoral program or working, please specify)
Continuing my graduate studies, I am pursuing a doctoral degree (PhD) in Clinical Psychology (with a health emphasis) at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition, I am currently employed by the YAI Network, an organization dedicated to offering programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. I work part-time as a Residential Counselor for geriatric individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


 2. What did you do before TC? (School, Major, Clinical/Research experience, etc.)
Prior to entering TC, I was completing my undergraduate studies at Wagner College. As an undergraduate, I double-majored in Psychology and French Studies. Wagner afforded me the opportunity to develop close relationships with my psychology mentors and the resources to dive into independent research. During my time as an undergraduate, my research experiences were complemented by the professional exposure I received from clinical placements at Freedom From Fear, a mental health center and advocacy organization, and HIV Women’s Collaborative of NYC. 


3. Why did you choose the MA Program at TC?
I chose to enter the MA program at TC because it appeared to be the perfect environment for me to continue developing the credentials of a competitive doctoral applicant for clinical psychology programs. Although I was exhaustive in searching for the best “next step” towards reaching my goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist, I was unable to find another MA program that was comparable to the amalgamation of resource, networking opportunities, and dedication to diversity that is definitive of TC.


4. How did TC help you meet your goals today?
TC helped me meet all of the goals I hoped it would. Thier faculty, who are each leading researchers in their fields, stimulated and inspired me. In being exposed to their unwavering scholastic integrity and advocacy, I was able to develop a deep sense of purpose and a clear sense of direction. I also benefited immeasurably from my fellow students. The diversity of the student body allowed for a trading of perspectives and experiences that directly translated into my own increased cultural competence. In addition, the clinical department’s staff consistently alerted me about great opportunities for career development, and I was able to find and secure a competitive placement at The Center for Motivation and Change (CMC). Overall, the most precious gift TC gave me was the awareness of the infinite possibilities to use the tools I already have to build dreams for myself and my future that are bigger than I thought possible.  

 
5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
10 years from now, I see myself as a Clinical Psychologist, a researcher, an academic, and most importantly, an addition to the effort of promoting scientific and societal progression. I also want to be doing work that successfully gives a voice to those individuals within society that continue to go unheard.



Wakil Irfan
 


1. What did you do before TC?
I was born and grew up in Herat city, the western part of Afghanistan.  I studied medicine in faculty of medicine, Herat University.  As soon as I graduated form the medical school, I was accepted as an instructor after passing the required competitive exams and procedures. I started to teach subjects such as pathology, histology, physiology, pathophysiology and cell biology there.  In addition, I got my license to practice as a general practitioner and I practiced in the field of internal medicine as a volunteer at Herat Regional hospital and internal medicine and psychiatric patients in my private clinic. I noticed a lot of patients referring to medical clinics with some physical symptoms such as headache, backache, chest pain whose medical exams were indicative of no clear pathology. They also spent a lot of money on taking symptomatic treatments while I thought they had psychological origin at the time. On the other hand, those who were referred to psychiatrists and started psychiatric medications didn’t continue the medication for its side effects. I grew up interested in clinical psychology, after my observation of this situation, especially after I took a mental health training course outside my official medical school work. When I heard about a workshop on CBT that was conducted by an Australian Clinical psychologist to doctors at an international organization in Herat, I asked for permission to attend the workshop. Although I was not a member of that organization, she accepted me. On the other hand, to get professional training in assessment and treatment of psychological disorders through psychotherapeutic interventions, I applied to the highly competitive Fulbright scholarship and I passed the required exams and interviews and recieved the scholarship to study at a highly prestigious school of education, Teachers College, Columbia University. I was so excited when I got the email of my acceptance to this college.  When I looked the university up online, I noticed that an Alumni was one of the past presidents of Afghanistan. I am currently a second year MA student in Psychology of Education. My goal is to conduct research and practice psychotherapy and to take a dual discipline approach: medicine and psychology. Reading about the leading researchers in psychology and noticing that some of them were originally trained as physicians made me gravitate more towards this model. Although it was really hard to study under tough circumstances of Afghanistan, my parents were inspiring me a lot.

2. My favorite place in NYC is...:
Columbus Circle and Times Square.




Claudia Quiros



1) What did you do before TC/doing now?

Before coming to TC, I studied Print Journalism and Cinema Studies at NYU. I had no background in psychology, aside from an introductory course. In terms of professional experience, I worked at places as varying as fashion magazines to libraries and non-profit organizations.

2) Why did you choose TC?
I chose TC because I felt excited by the prospect of the classes that were offered. I realized that in this program, I would have the freedom to take courses on subjects as diverse and fascinating as positive psychology, non-traditional psychotherapies, human intimacy and women's mental health while also still getting a strong basis in the fundamentals of psychology, like statistics and research methods.

3) Where do you see yourself five years from today?
I see myself finishing a more clinically-oriented doctoral program in clinical psychology and seeing patients. Eventually, I would like to set up my own private practice. I am particularly interested in women's issues and I hope that through my work, I can empower girls and women and continue to be a champion of our rights.

4) When and how did you become interested in psychology?
I took a year off after working for a year to travel. From my experiences teaching in Vietnam and working with adolescent girls in Peru, I realized that I thrived off the energy from establishing connections with others. I wanted to learn to put my gift of compassion to good use and thought this could be accomplished by studying to be a psychotherapist, a profession I consider to be both stimulating and rewarding.

5) My favorite writer is?
My favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut and Anais Nin. Vonnegut had a gift for putting incredibly profound observations in simple language. I have always related to Nin's elegant, feminine voice and romantic view of the world.

6) Why the MA in clinical psychology?
As I had no previous background in psychology, the program at TC was perfect. It allowed me to learn about the clinical aspects of psychology that interested me while also providing a strong foundation in research methods. I learned so much in a short amount of time, made connections with fellow students and faculty members, and worked at clinically- and research-oriented fieldwork sites. As a result, I feel sufficiently prepared to enter a doctoral program.



Alumni 2010 


Virginia Arlt


1. What did you do before TC/doing now?
Before TC, I went to George Washington University and majored in Psychology and minored in Statistics. I had worked for three semesters in a social psychology lab, and two semesters in a clinical psychology lab. I had one paper under review for publication and had presented a poster of my findings at a conference. I had some clinical experience assisting a psychologist in private practice and working in schools for children with Autism. My other work experience included an internship related to the field of my research interest and other various jobs.

2. When and how did you become interested in psychology?
I first became interested in psychology around 6th grade when I first learned about Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. In high school, I worked at a school for children with Aspergers Disorder and enjoyed learning about the field even more. As I got older and began working in research labs, I solidified my interests in psychology but decided to pursue spirituality and substance use disorders.

3. Why did you choose TC/MA in clinical psychology?
I was drawn to TC primarily because I wanted to work with Dr. Lisa Miller and because her research is in the field of spirituality. Working in her lab was both vibrant and engaging.


4. What did you do while in the MA Program?
I took Adult Psychopathology, Chemical Dependency, Statistics, Human Sexuality, Spirituality and Psychology, Intro to Applied Psychology, Statistics II, Innovations and Outreach Access for Youth, Comparative Psychotherapies, Non-traditional Therapies, and Research for credit. I also had an informal internship at the Addiction Institute of New York.

5. Where are you now?

I am now in a doctoral program at Seattle Pacific University studying Clinical Psychology. I am working under the mentorship of Dave Stewart, PhD. Dr. Stewart studies adolescent substance abuse, and utilizes DBT and Motivational Interviewing in his interventions with adolescents in high schools. I am currently working with a client in a high school (under supervision) and contributing to research papers in preparation for submission. My long-term goal is to examine the protective qualities of mindfulness and meditative practices for adolescents at risk for or who are currently exhibiting substance use disorders.
 
6. How did the MA at TC help you achieve your present day placement?
The advising and mentorship that I received from the department helped me narrow down my interests and help me make a decision that was best for me. Dr. Miller and Dr. Athan, in particular, were kind enough to sit down with me on several occasions and discuss the pathways I could take to pursue a career in spirituality and substance use research.

7. Where do you see yourself in five years from today?
Hopefully, by 12/21/16, I will have just completed my internship and have graduated with my Doctorate from Seattle Pacific University. I’ll be working on a post-doc or in an in/outpatient clinic for those with substance use disorders.



 Alumni 2008


Joe King 

 


(Taken from TC Press Room from the Office of External Affairs Page)
http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news.htm?articleID=6640
 

JOE KING, M.A., PSYCHOLOGY AND EDUCATION IN THE CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT

My disability is osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bones. I’ve had 47 broken bones. So it freaked my parents out, my moving here from Oklahoma. They were like, You wanna move where? And it’s been challenging. Getting around the City in a wheelchair in the snow is challenging. But there’s a lot to see and do. You just find ways of adapting to the environment.

I hope to go into mental health research—psychological adaptation to disability. I’m really interested in health policy, so I got an internship last summer in the Office of Disability in the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington. The year before, I had helped write a chapter on health disparities with Dr. Keller [Richard Keller, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education, and Director of Services for Students with Disabilities] for Dr. Wallace’s book [Toward Equity in Health: A New Global Approach to Health Disparities, edited by Barbara Wallace, Professor of Health Education]. Our society guarantees every person an equal education, yet we don’t guarantee everybody equal access to health care. When you don’t have that access, it prevents employment and education, and it shortens your life as well.

I also worked with TC’s micro-aggressions lab, looking at unconscious acts against persons with disabilities. To an extent, everybody with a disability experiences these micro-aggressions—and sometimes overt, hostile discrimination, as well. Because I know the experiences, I could tell the researchers what that’s like.

It’s almost taboo to talk about diversity, race and ethnicity, because you don’t want to offend somebody. But you can ever stop working on it, because when you do, you become lax. And the more we talk about it, the more we can shape our policies and our minds to recognize and to celebrate diversity—and also what we have in common with each other. We have to have both conversations in the same breath.

The experience at TC is what you make of it. You can go to class and go home, or you can get involved. I became Diversity Senator, then Parliamentarian, then Vice President. We had a great group of senators—a very active group that got things done for the students and the institution. The academics are what you make of them, too. You can pursue challenging courses and professors, or just take the bare minimum. You’ve got to decide what you want, then tailor your experience to your desires and future goals.