Where do you live at this time?
What educational path did you follow?
I obtained my undergraduate degree from The George Washington University where I graduated with Honors in Psychology. While there I worked at GW Hospital and after graduating college early I worked at The National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute.
I pursued my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Psychology where I trained at the Intensive Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Clinic and also obtained specialized training in Clinical Health Psychology, completing externships at Jackson Memorial Hospital and the Miami VA Medical Center.
For my clinical internship/residency I matched at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco where I provided specialized treatments in the domains of Behavioral Cardiology, Psycho-Oncology, Neurogastroenterology, and Reproductive/Perinatal issues.
I did my post-doctoral fellowship at the VA New York Harbor in Manhattan where I provided care to Veterans in outpatient settings and within medical units including Oncology, Renal Dialysis, Primary Care, and the Women’s Clinic/Gynecology. I also enjoyed being involved in training psychology externs and NYU internal medicine residents through simulated patient encounters.
While in New York I also completed Psychoanalytic training at the William Alanson White Institute for Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology and Memorial Sloan Kettering in Meaning Centered Psychotherapy for treating patients with advanced cancer.
What is your current profession and where do you work? How did you come to work in this field?
I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. I am also an adjunct professor and serve on capstone research project committees within the doctoral program at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Psychology.
I came to work in this field due to my love of people and a desire to more deeply understand the mind-body connection. My mother, also a clinical psychologist, laid the foundation to inspire me to work hard and hold space for others. A seminal moment in my development as a psychologist occurred early on when visiting patients with my father in the Intensive Care Unit during his off time. Most were severely ill, intubated, and unable to speak. He explained to me that caring and support could be transmitted and received in many ways, even nonverbally. This experience highlighted the power of connection during times of suffering.
What is most rewarding about the work you do? What are the challenges?
The most rewarding aspect of my work is the ability to connect with all types of interesting and wonderful people and thinking critically. The most challenging aspect of my work right now is processing the pandemic alongside my patients – truly a unique situation!
What is one essential academic or life skill you honed at Scheck Hillel?
I still remember things I learned in AP Psychology quite vividly! On a more serious note, I learned about the Socratic method in my AP English class. It teaches students to think critically by encouraging them to observe their own unexamined beliefs and biases as well as appreciate insights from peers. This type of questioning can elicit discomfort but the overall message students internalize is that it is okay to question, reflect, and modify beliefs as you learn and gain new information and experience. This is a critical life skill but also of great importance in my work as I am always trying to challenge my conceptualizations, remain curious, and expand my thinking -- and I encourage my patients to do the same!
What is your advice to future Hillel students who might consider a career in your field?
Overall, I would encourage students to seize every opportunity – even the challenging ones. With respect to my career path, I would say it would be extremely beneficial to gain as much experience as possible volunteering, shadowing, and participating in research before committing to going to graduate school.
What is the last book you read/podcast you heard that taught you something you didn’t know before? I listen to The Daily podcast religiously to stay informed while also remaining active. Two recent favorite books are “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell and “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.