Career Moves: A journey through personal and professional experiences
Elon senior Leah Reece credits community service, coursework and internships as the fuel that ignited her passion for clinical psychology and enhanced her Elon experience.
Leah Reece a psychology major from Littleton, Massachusetts, graduates this week well-prepared to expand her abilities and continue her work to treat and teach people who suffer from mental health challenges in society as she begins the William James College Doctorate of Clinical Psychology program.
Reece worked with faculty and professionals in the Student Professional Development Center not only to find internships, but to prepare for interviews, and improve her graduate school materials. During summer, spring, and winter terms Reece gained hands-on experience helping children with disabilities and worked hand in hand with Alamance for Freedom (AFF) in its fight against human trafficking in Alamance County.
Reece is the last person to be featured this spring in a four-part series of E-net profiles on the experiences of students and alumni who used the Student Professional Development Center to find job and internship opportunities, help with graduate school placements, prepare for interviews, and improve applications with guidance from professionals. She answered questions recently from the SPDC about her experience.
Tell me about your experience getting accepted into William James College for the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology program.
The first choice I had to make was whether I wanted to pursue a PsyD or a Ph.D. Ultimately, I chose a PsyD because the degree is more focused on treating and assessing clients, rather than conducting research. After I had decided on the degree I wanted to pursue and received my GRE scores, I began looking for schools in the Boston area that fit my desires. Not only did I want to be in this area because it is close to home, but there is a thriving medical community with immense practicum opportunities in clinical psychology. From there, the process was remarkably similar to that of an undergraduate degree, simply filling out applications and waiting for a response. Once the admissions committee reviewed my application, I was accepted for an interview. The interview was a day-long process consisting of information sessions, group interviews, individual interviews, and written response tasks. About a month later I was notified of my admittance to the college. Needless to say, I was ecstatic and overwhelmed with joy as this was my first choice, graduate program.
How did your interest develop?
My aspirations to become a clinical psychologist and attend William James College are the result of a long journey through some personal and professional experiences. My interest in psychology began at a very young age and later evolved and expanded, thanks to numerous community service experiences, professional internships, and academic coursework. I feel that everyone has the potential to live a life of value and happiness, but often there are challenges along the way that impede those principles that require compassionate guidance, reassurance, and healing.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
William James College will extend and complement my comprehensive undergraduate academic coursework and professional, personal and relational experiences, by providing integrated academic and practical learning opportunities in the classroom and community. A program that will empower me with the skills and concepts necessary to develop effective therapeutic relationships in professional settings and clinical practices. This program will allow me to work with the community, personally and intimately, to teach and treat individuals and groups, and create programs to ensure the quality care of those suffering from mental health challenges in society.
Who did you work with Student Professional Development Center, to select and apply, and what help did you receive?
Debby Wall has been by my side since sophomore year at Elon. She helped me obtain each of my internship experiences and worked with me as a mentor in dissecting each of my opportunities by providing extraordinary feedback. After each experience, she gave me advice on how to restructure my resume and cover letter in a way that would exemplify my passion for clinical psychology. Her pride and commitment to each of her students and the interest she takes in their experiences is absolutely outstanding and allowed me to develop the skills necessary to pursue my career goals.
Will you become an Elon Career Mentor on LinkedIn to assist Elon students in achieving their career goals?
Yes, I would be more than happy to become a mentor
What recommendations would you share with students about the Student Professional Development Center?
It is imperative that students visit this center. Perhaps not to acquire a position, but to properly structure a resume, cover letter, and prepare for interviews. Elon provides this unique one-on-one service to benefit their students, and it is something that all should take advantage of. There are so many services Elon provides in assisting students to get jobs and just setting up an appointment can open many new doors to achieving career goals. It is a great place to form relationships that can be used as guidance in the future.
Which faculty members did you work with to prepare and what help did you receive?
Although I owe my success to all my professors and advisors at Elon, I would not have been accepted to William James if not for my counseling professor, Brianna Lombardi. Not only is she an amazing teacher, she genuinely cared about my growth and success. Had it not been for her class, I would have been completely unprepared for the interviewing process. Her knowledge and guidance in the field of counseling and psychology helped to support my career aspirations and allowed me to stand out as an undergraduate amongst candidates of much higher academic degrees.