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Why I Chose Yale

Samantha Reaves

My Background

My name is Sam. My primary place is at The Consultation Center (TCC) and my secondary placement is at Child and Adolescent Services I grew up in New Haven, CT and moved on to Boston College after high school. To obtain more research experience, I earned a Master’s degree from King’s College London in the hopes it would help my application for a doctoral program and provide an opportunity to travel and experience new cultures. I pursued my doctoral degree at DePaul University. I was drawn to their program because of the focus on social justice issues and a commitment to working with underserved populations. My research and clinical interests have evolved with the support of the amazing mentors there and reflect my dedication to the same values. My career aspiration is to ensure all students receive a quality education, particularly those who, historically and presently, are denied opportunities due to race and/or economic status. I am passionate about conducting research with applied implications, in hopes of informing sustainable programs for schools. I want to work with stakeholders as we strive to answer important questions regarding the interplay between socioemotional health and educational success for students.

Why I Chose Yale

Choosing Yale allowed me to come home. My family has been the backbone of my success and the secure base from which I was allowed to explore all my educational and personal opportunities, no matter how far or how long it took me away from them. I am grateful for their support and constant encouragement and I was excited for the opportunity to engage in the meaningful work at TCC with the community that shaped me, near the people I missed. My primary placement at TCC allowed me opportunities to build on my consultation and evaluation skills, while maintaining a connection to the local community through school-based work. It was the only internship site that allowed me such diverse experiences. Their commitment to community psychology and the faculty’s focus on large-scale change was palpable during interview day and the collegial atmosphere was inviting. I worked throughout graduate school with the goal to be competitive for a spot at TCC; I knew it was the best place suited for my career aspirations. It was the one place that allowed me to do what I love, in a place I love, with people I was excited to work with over the year. It was perfect.

My Professional Activities

My schedule is varied throughout the week, which was a selling point for me. I have a mix of responsibilities, which allows for a large breadth of experiences. Mondays, and Wednesday afternoons, I work at the West Haven Mental Health Clinic on the Child and Adolescent Service team. I provide individual therapy to 5 child clients, attend team meetings, and participate in individual and group supervision. The majority of my caseload presents with internalizing difficulties, which was a growth area for me coming into internship so I am happy I was able to refine my clinical skills.

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, I work at Riverside Leadership Academy, an alternative education high school, in New Haven. I provide consultation to the principal around the school improvement plan and support staff in their initiatives around improving socioemotional programming for students.

Thursdays and Fridays, I work at TCC on 3 projects related to (1) implementing a substance abuse prevention campaign in a New Haven high school (OneStep), (2) building evaluation capacity in organizations in the Philadelphia area (Building Evaluation Capacity Initiative, BECI), and (3) building a coalition to make an entire town more trauma-informed, with socioemotional learning in the schools at the center of the project (Pottstown Trauma Informed Community Connection, PTICC). All projects involve weekly team meetings. Additionally, my supervisor for those projects provides an extra group supervision for the fellows to learn the nuts and bolts of evaluation and to provide mentorship around building a consultation business, managing teams, and managing relationships with community partners. The best learning opportunity was the ability to observe faculty in their roles as consultants and I appreciated the effort that was made to include us in traveling, trainings, forums, and consultation calls with organizations. It was an invaluable learning experience and helped build my confidence.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

New Haven has a great food scene and tons of options and I attempt to eat them all! The pizza is great, that is not a lie. Ernie’s in Westville is my favorite. I enjoy spending time with my family and day trips to New York.

Final Thoughts

I have had a wonderful time on internship. The people are amazing. I have made friends I hope to keep for a lifetime and developed mentoring relationships I hope to keep just as long. I feel like I have been treated like a professional while also being afforded opportunities to learn from experts and for that I am truly thankful.