Why I Chose Yale

Shykina Brown

My Background

My name is Shykina and I am from the Bronx, New York. I discovered my passion for psychology while completing a summer externship at Bellevue Hospital. The Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program rotation inspired me to learn more about mental health and the multifaceted needs of individuals who utilize such services. I spent many shifts talking to patients and getting their perspective on their own experiences, on others, and the world (an approach I continue to find useful in my work today). I remember being so fascinated by this opportunity and declaring my major in psychology that fall.

The more I learned about psychology, the greater my curiosity grew about other areas of mental health, specifically the ethnic and racial disparities in healthcare. This helped me reflect on the adversities faced by my own community and the lack of resources for those who might have benefitted from mental health support. This sparked my interest in diversity and social justice issues and led to my training experiences in community mental health, severe mental illness, and correctional psychology.

Why I Chose Yale

My supervisors, Dr. Erika Carr and Dr. Rebecca Miller, were absolutely amazing when I came to interview at Yale. They were very welcoming, which helped me feel comfortable in sharing my strengths and areas of growth. While interviewing at sites, it felt particularly important for me to express interest in being in an environment that is open to cultural differences and encourages the use of integrative clinical practices, especially in the context of social injustices. Drs. Carr and Miller highlighted my passion for this area of work during my visit by initiating conversation on the topic and sharing their own interests in diversity. They identified this as a fundamental component in our professional development and offered, if I matched at Yale, to help me get connected to additional mentors and resources, as needed. That afternoon I called my mother and said, “I think this is it!”

My Professional Activities

My year at the CMHC and its Adult Inpatient Services has been great! Monday through Thursday, I attend treatment team meetings, during which we discuss patients and provide updates regarding treatment and disposition planning. Aside from didactics, a large portion of each day is spent with clients. Depending on my caseload, this might include providing support to clients and staff, crisis intervention, co-facilitating groups, meetings with other providers, supervision, and some case management. Given the setting, I often do not work on a set schedule; however, this allows me to be flexible and independent. For instance, I can meet with clients at different times during the day, making it easier to accommodate their needs on the unit. This is very helpful when scheduling meetings and other client-related responsibilities without disrupting care. After I have met with all five of my clients, I spend the remainder of the afternoon working on progress notes, treatment plans, or admission and discharge paperwork.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

New Haven has many great restaurants. Some of my favorites are Pacifico, Zaroka, and Bella’s (great for brunch). When the weather permits, I enjoy going for walks in the East Rock Park or hitting the hiking trails at Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, where you can catch a beautiful view of the Long Island Sound. In the summer, I love to head to Hammonasset Beach with family and friends.

Final Thoughts

My year at Yale has been better than I could have ever expected. My cohort of fellows is phenomenal and I have learned so much in our year together. I admire all the great things every one of them has done and will continue to do for this field. This experience has taught me to identify my goals and values as a developing psychologist and how to utilize my voice and privilege to advocate for clients. I am fortunate to have amazing supervisors who not only encourage me to make a difference through my work, but have also modeled being exemplary providers who prioritize the needs of clients, take a stand for our profession, and remain open to personal and professional growth.