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Why I Chose Yale

My Background

My name is Shannon Schrader. I am a graduate of the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at George Mason University, where I also obtained both my B.A. and M.A. degrees. Both my research and scholarly pursuits surround the examination of malleable characteristics associated with substance use disorders, notably self-control and impulsivity. It is my hope that a better understanding of these constructs can be translated into the development of brief, technology-based treatments to reduce substance use.

I am now a postdoctoral fellow in the Interprofessional Advanced Fellowship in Addiction Treatment at the West Haven VA.

Why I Chose Yale

After interviewing, Yale emerged as an easy choice to complete my internship training. From the first introduction on interview day, it was clear that Yale created and fostered a culture of inclusion, equity, and growth. This continued to be my experience throughout the entire training year from supervisors, colleagues, and the training program globally.

My major goals for internship year included learning to flexibly apply evidence-based and empirically-supported treatments and allowing me to continue scholarly in the field of addiction. Yale fulfilled both these ambitions while also affording me opportunities for growth and challenge that were not even on my radar including co-authoring a magazine op-ed, leading a workshop at a conference, and developing supervision and mentoring skills.

My Professional Activities

My primary placement was in the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit (SATU). At SATU, I maintained a clinical caseload of approximately 15 individual therapy patients. I also co-led a weekly relapse prevention group and supervised a doctoral level practicum student. SATU offered me the opportunity to learn new theoretical orientations and treatment approaches (i.e., auricular acupuncture, psychodynamic psychotherapy) to augment the training I received in graduate school in cognitive and behavioral therapies. In addition, I functioned as part of a large interdisciplinary treatment team composed of psychiatrists, social workers, and nurses to coordinate care. Within my primary placement, I also completed a scholarly project leveraging secondary data analysis to examine changes in coping skills across different methods of treatment delivery (computerized versus clinician-delivered CBT).

I completed a secondary placement at The Consultation Center (TCC), wherein I worked on two community-based research projects spanning the fields of juvenile justice reform and providing support to a local adult education center. These projects introduced me to new skills including how to conduct program evaluation, how to collaborate with community stakeholders and constituent groups, and how to effectively communicate research findings to lay audiences.

Remaining activities included attendance at weekly core seminars, site-based seminars, and supervision on both clinical and research activities.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

Hiking was one of my favorite activities in and around New Haven. Two of the ones I visited most were West Rock Ridge State Park and Sleeping Giant State Park. They are particularly stunning in the fall when the leaves change. I also took advantage of New Haven’s proximity to several major cities in the Northeast including Boston and New York, both just a train ride away. The array of food choices is also worth mentioning. My go-to restaurants included Tavern on State, Zeneli, and Sherkaan (and – of course – don’t forget a taste test of the “Big 3” New Haven pizza places: Modern, Sally’s, and Frank Pepe’s). Venture out a little further from the city to find my favorite donuts (Neil’s) and ice cream (Wentworth’s).

Final Thoughts

Internship can be a challenging year navigating competing responsibilities, choosing next steps, and developing both a personal and professional identity. I am so glad I chose Yale for my internship year because I felt unconditionally supported during these challenges, which made me feel valued, competent, and well-positioned to jump into a postdoctoral role.