Working as a Gil Intern so far has maximized my undergraduate experience as a psychology student. Not only do I have the opportunity to build connections with experts in the field of clinical psychology at my worksite, but I get to network with other passionate young professionals at UNC. As one of two Juniors on the cohort, I anticipated that I would feel like an outsider, but the supportive community, born out Zoom breakout rooms, has proven me completely wrong. The seniors have graciously provided me with invaluable advice and resources. Dr. B and Chelsea have been there for me every step of the way, meeting each of my needs in times of adversity. This is a truly awesome group of people who care about helping others, and I’m so honored to get to collaborate with them.
Even during the early stages in the matching process, I felt so invested in. I remember the Gil directors sharing with me that a new, highly sought-after worksite was offering a position to an undergraduate for the first time. The directors gave me the opportunity to express my “must haves” for an internship experience, and made sure the match was a good fit between me and my worksite. My research interests involve understanding how stress and trauma present among disadvantaged or marginalized populations like women and adolescents who identify as LGBTQIA+. The Gil program ensured I would get exposure to trauma treatment and these specific populations through my internship with the Triangle Area Psychology Clinic (TAP). TAP is based out of Durham, NC and prides itself on its primary mission: to offer consistently expert evidence-based care to clients and families of all ages and diverse ranges. The clinic approaches mental health treatment using a specialist model; the team is comprised of clinicians with extensive training in different areas, which reflects their ability to match a client with a clinician based on a specific area of expertise. I am mentored by Dr. Kathryn Byars, a licensed psychologist and co-owner.
My collective college experiences have guided and informed my work at TAP. I entered my internship with background in research, through my position in Dr. Abramowitz’s Anxiety and Stress Lab. I also offered my experience volunteering at the UNC Hospital Psychiatric Unit to the clinic, where I observed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group sessions. DBT is the defining treatment at TAP. My perception of the clinical psychology field was originally narrow and based solely on the academic medicine model. I now have a greater appreciation for clinical psychology after working for a private practice, where clinicians encourage consultation and emphasize the therapeutic relationship in practice. In just over a month at TAP, I’ve already been involved with psychoeducation in the community to reach people beyond the clinic through developing therapy manuals, conducting research, and creating training material. My efforts address the implementation and dissemination of TAP’s mission to provide services outside of the clinician’s heavy caseloads. As an intern, I also contribute to administrative and marketing work.
Reflecting on the incredible projects I get to be a part of, I’ve realized that nothing compares to the people. My favorite part of the Gil Internship has been the work culture that defines the heart of TAP. I felt at home day one, and now assist a team who shares my excitement for our collaboration. Whether it’s Dr. Mochrie’s sarcasm (which is somehow integrated into every staff meeting), Dr. Ritschel’s validating nature and ability to “be straight up”, Anna’s genuine gratitude for my work, or Dr. Byar’s generosity shown by answering any and all of my questions, I’m one lucky intern. With a dream of attending graduate school and earning my doctorate in clinical psychology, the Gil Program has delivered everything that they said they would—and more. I am actively gaining the skills and experiences necessary to prepare me for success in my future endeavors. Whether it is sitting in on a training session about Borderline Personality Disorder among the transgender youth community, or reading through a postdoctoral fellow’s dissertation to develop a poster for the national ABCT convention, I am growing and thriving as a learner, researcher, and young professional. Thank you for believing in me, Gil and TAP!