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Why I Chose Yale

Catherine Burke

My Background

My name is Catt and I am a Psychology Fellow at the Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic (ForDD) with a secondary placement in Child and Adolescent Services (CAS). I grew up in Las Vegas and attended the Honors College at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After college, I obtained my master’s degree in psychology at Pepperdine University. After graduate school, I worked for two years as an in-home therapist to ensure that the field was right for me. I loved working as a therapist, so I moved to Louisville and enrolled in Spalding University’s clinical psychology doctoral program. I specialized in forensic psychology and worked exclusively with underserved populations. During my time at Spalding, I focused my research on Native American and multicultural psychology and worked as a professional researcher for a Medicaid insurance company. These experiences allowed me to expand my knowledge of social justice, diversity, and cultural competence, while enhancing and refining my knowledge of forensic and multicultural psychology.

Why I Chose Yale

Throughout my doctoral training, I consistently worked with forensic clients who had substance use difficulties. I was interested in an internship that was focused on forensics, but also included substantive training on addiction and substance use. When I researched internships, Yale stood out immediately. The program had diversity, flexibility, support, encouragement, and opportunities that were important to me. When I came to New Haven to interview for the internship, I was overwhelmed by how kind and welcoming everyone was. The ForDD Clinic staff went out of their way to make me feel comfortable. They were warm and inviting and interested in me and my work. The amount and diversity of opportunities available at Yale were incredible, but the people were instrumental in my confidence that this was the right internship for me. I thrive in supportive, collaborative environments and Yale demonstrated commitment to this type of environment, both through words and actions, throughout my interview day.

My Professional Activities

I work Monday through Friday, approximately 50 hours per week. I have ten clients at the ForDD Clinic and 5 clients at the Child and Adolescent Services clinic. I typically meet with each client once per week and do case management for each client weekly. I attend treatment team at ForDD and CAS each week. I also attend internship seminar, Law and Psychiatry forensic seminar, ForDD seminar, CAS seminar, and TFCBT seminar each week. I attend Law and Psychiatry grand rounds each week and collaborate with the department’s psychiatry fellows to provide psychological assessments for evaluations for the department. In the fall, I spent one day each week in the New Haven Public Defender’s Office consulting on cases, sitting in judges’ chambers, observing trials, and discussing cases with the attorneys. I have five supervisors who I meet with for one hour each week to receive mentoring and supervision. The remainder of my time is spent writing psychological assessments and notes, updating referral sources and communicating with the legal system, and providing case management. I am also a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, as well as the Fellows Advisory Committee.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and other fellows in my cohort. I like traveling to see all of the wonderful places in and around Connecticut. There are several big cities that are just a train ride away from New Haven that are fun to explore. New Haven also has naturally beautiful places, including beaches, parks, and hiking trails. I love hiking to the top of East Rock Park to enjoy the view overlooking the entire city and the ocean. I love to enjoy all of the wonderful things that Yale has to offer, including the many libraries, music shows, art museums, lectures, history museums, and trainings. Finally, I love sampling the different foods available in the surrounding area. Whether I’m dining at a hip and trendy restaurant, a food truck, or a restaurant that has been in the city for over a century, New Haven has a plethora of culinary options to choose from.

Final Thoughts

Yale has completely surpassed my expectations. I have formed relationships with my cohort fellows that have been an endless source of support and comfort that will last far beyond internship. My supervisors have encouraged me, challenged me, and assisted me in establishing my professional identity as an early career psychologist. They actively encourage me to maintain work-life balance and consistently advocate for me. My mentors have helped me obtain things that I never thought possible and have supported my visions and dreams. Yale has given me opportunities and trainings that were not available at any other internship that I researched. The sky is the limit here and Yale will help you reach for the stars. I could not be happier that I chose Yale. I hope that you will find a placement that suits you as well as this internship has suited me!