When fellow Princetern Morgan Taylor ‘15 and I showed Loyola employees the detailed schedule Dr. Papadakis had made us, they were impressed but not surprised by her attention to detail and careful planning. Dr. Alison Papadakis ’97 is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. For the past year I have been researching possible graduate programs in psychology and Loyola University is near the top of my list for Psy.D. programs, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that a Princeternship was being hosted there. I am a senior in the English department, however I have taken several foundational psychology courses with the intent to eventually pursue higher degrees in psychology and become a practitioner in the mental health field.
This was my second Princeternship, and one thing I love about the Princeternship Program is how much the alumni who participate are willing go out of their way to tailor the experience toward what would be most helpful for you. For this Princeternship I was not simply shadowing Dr. Papadakis in her day-to-day activities, but instead she provided me and Morgan with the opportunity for a personalized view of several aspects of Loyola University. Throughout January, Dr. Papadakis emailed us to get a sense of what we each might want to do with the Princeternship: which courses we would like sit in on, which department faculty we might want to talk to, etc. So, on the first day she handed us a full schedule for the three days consisting of psychology courses, both undergraduate and graduate level, meetings with grad students, and informational interviews with professors that she had coordinated for each of us.
My first day began a little harried for me because of traffic and issues finding parking on the Loyola campus, but it quickly turned into a wonderful day. Morgan and I were given a tour of the Loyola Clinical Centers by Dr. La Keita Carter. It’s a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility where the first and second year doctoral students are responsible for intake, assessment, and therapy of the clinic’s clients, all under supervision by their fellow students and licensed supervisors through one-way mirrors and video-recording. Following this, Morgan and I had some free time for lunch (during which I feverishly scribbled down notes on all that I’d learned so far) next-door in Belvedere Square Market before we were met by four first-year doctoral students. As a prospective applicant to a Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program (and possibly this one), the chance to chat with Amy, Jacob, Maite, and Abigail was invaluable. They gave me their perspective on what it’s like being a student, juggling classes and working at the clinic, and tips for applying. I asked them every question I could think of. We had a similar experience the next day when Morgan and I had lunch with third and fourth-year doctoral students Val, David, and Diane at the student center. It was great getting the perspectives of students farther along in the program. They told us about their externships and the process of writing a dissertation at Loyola. All of the graduate students were very friendly, open and honest.
In the interest of brevity, I won’t go into detail about every course I sat in on and every informational interview I had over the three days. What I loved the most was getting a taste of what attending doctoral level courses is like, and my one-on-one meetings with Dr. Carolyn Barry, Dr. Beth Kotchik, and Dr. Sharon Green-Hennessy were all enlightening. It is helpful to learn about the different paths those far along in the field have taken, as well as their viewpoints on academia, teaching, and practicing. Our last day, Dr. Papadakis took Morgan and I to lunch at the superb Miss Shirley’s down the street. She told us about her experience at Princeton and her path in psychology after Princeton. She also gave me great and frank advice about things to consider when applying for and choosing graduate programs.
This was an excellent Princeternship for me not just because it confirmed my interest in becoming a licensed clinical psychologist in the future but because it showed me that I can see myself doing, and enjoying, all the steps in-between that goal and now: building up experience for applications, applying to programs, taking doctoral courses, providing supervised therapy in clinics, doing externships, writing a dissertation, etc. etc. Though I still cannot be quite sure what path in and out of graduate school and the mental health field I’ll end up on, I feel highly equipped thanks to the insight and advice I received from Dr. Papadakis and everyone she graciously connected me with. A huge thank you to Alison Papadakis as well as to all of the faculty and students who took time out of their busy schedules to make this such an enriching and enjoyable experience!