My introduction to the field of social work started at Clark Atlanta University where I completed my degree in 2001. During my matriculation at Clark Atlanta University I worked at the Fulton County Juvenile Court, assisting Child Advocate Attorneys in the best interest of children on cases that involved allegations of child maltreatment. I also worked at the Georgia Center for Children providing psychotherapy to children who experienced sexual abuse. Shortly after the completion of my M.S.W., I started a Post Masters, Clinical Training Fellowship at Yale University at the Child Study Center (YCSC). At the YCSC, I worked with severely emotionally disturbed children at an Outpatient Clinic and also within the New Haven Public School District providing therapy (individual, family and group) as well as case management and consultation services. At the YCSC I also had the opportunity to work in homes specifically with families on substance abuse related issues. I've worked in Georgia, Connecticut and California and though these are different places geographically, I've witnessed similar themes within the populations I have been honored to serve. As a result, I have a primary interest in trauma related work, recognizing the effects and impact on an individual, their family and other environmental and cultural factors.
Several supervisors at the YCSC, who were aware of my interest to continue clinical practice and research, heavily recommended Smith as a program where I could continue my goal to further deepen my clinical and research knowledge base while also gaining skills that would enable me to teach within the field of social work. Valuing the suggestion of my supervisors, I followed up with my own research of social work doctoral programs within the United States that have an emphasis on clinical practice and research. No other programs compared. After reviewing the Smith College website, corresponding with faculty and students at Smith, and attending an open house, I was even more motivated to apply.
As a first-year student, I've learned a tremendous amount of information and have gained a lot professionally and personally. Our comprehensive curriculum has not only included the four psychologies (drive, ego, self psychology and object relations) and trauma theories, but has also incorporated themes of diversity inherent in clinical and research related work. These themes include class, gender, sexuality, race, and culture. Our classes have provided a stimulating environment for discussions, questions, and growth grounded in psychodynamic theory and its application to social work practice. The value of qualitative and quantitative research methods has also been underscored and embraced within our program as well. I am looking forward to applying the new skills I've gained during my clinical internship at the Smith College Counseling Center as well as presenting at an upcoming conference during the clinical/academic year at the Sanville Institute (Los Angeles, California) where I will discuss the significance of integrating attachment and trauma theories in trauma related cases.