My name is Nicole Court-Reuss and I am a senior from Miami, Florida majoring in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience. Through the Gil Internship, I am interning at the North Carolina Department of Public Safety in their Prison Behavioral Health division. I am currently assisting
my mentor, Dr. Lewis Jon Peiper, the Assistant Director of Behavioral Health in assessing the efficacy of their Therapeutic Diversion program that provides an alternative to restrictive housing for inmates with mental illness.
I was introduced to the field of Social Psychology through my experience working in Dr. Steven Buzinski’s Self-Regulation lab for the past year and a half. Through my role as a research assistant and project manager, I have been exposed to the plethora of psychological concepts associated with goal directed behavior. I became interested in the intersection between social and forensic psychology after taking Dr. Desiree Griffin’s class on Psychology and Law. It opened my eyes to the harsh reality of the overwhelming presence of those suffering from mental illness within the penitentiary system.
Through the Gil Internship, I have been able to see firsthand how programs such as the Therapeutic Diversion Unit are making efforts to minimize the disparity in mental health services within the prison system. I have also been able to utilize and improve upon my research skills through my work within the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. I am currently gathering, verifying, and analyzing inmate self-injury risk behavior before, during, and after program participation to track the efficacy of the Therapeutic Diversion Unit in minimizing this behavior.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that the Gil Internship and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety has provided me with. It has opened my eyes to the vast career opportunities that the field of psychology has to offer and has allowed me to gain valuable research experience in a topic that I am passionate about. I am sure that this internship will provide me with the experience and skills to succeed in my career and further studies post-graduation.