Hello to all! My name is Hayden Loeb and I am a senior, homegrown in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I am currently pursuing my B.S. in Psychology and my minor in Spanish for the Health Professions. While my undergraduate journey thus far has been somewhat convoluted (but never boring, and always educational!) I have ultimately grown a great interest in clinical worksites, and especially clinical psychology.
As a student at Chapel Hill High School, I spent my summers as a research assistant for Dr. Kelly Giovanello and her Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory Research Lab. Mainly, I assisted with projects surrounding the long term effects of concussions, specifically regarding working memory. I gained many useful skills here, including experience with multiple programs that preprocess fMRI images. This was also my first formal introduction into the world of research, journals, and peer-reviewed papers. However, it wasn’t until my work with Dr. Mark D’Esposito and his Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at UC Berkeley (UCB) that I realized my true passion was with participant/patient interaction and clinical applications of research. I entered UCB as a music and flute performance major, but was drawn to psychology and research as well, after such an eye-opening experience at UNC with Dr. Giovanello. With Dr. D’Esposito at UCB, I continued to absorb information regarding working memory; though this time, instead of processing images, I obtained MRI user certification and scanned participants myself. I also shadowed multiple instances of TMS treatment for mental health. I reveled in the delight of poring over medical histories, performing intake with participants, and utilizing technology to complete clinically significant research; from this point forward, I was determined to pursue some sort of clinical career, where I could regularly interact with patients. The summer after the conclusion of my freshman spring semester, I took a gap year, completed a medical/clinical internship in Cuenca, Ecuador (which only strengthened my clinical resolve), began a job at UNC Hospitals as a medical scribe, and transferred to UNC Chapel Hill where I began fervent work on my Psychology B.S. degree.
I am so grateful to the Gil Internship program for allowing me the opportunity to pursue my passion further. I am currently working with Dr. April Harris-Britt at the AHB Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness, a community clinic for mental health care and advocacy. Thus far, I have been assisting Dr. Harris-Britt with various activities that have allowed me a glimpse into how mental health practices such as AHB function. For example, this past week I was able to shadow Dr. Harris-Britt while she prepped for and conducted a forensic psychological intake evaluation with a new patient. Afterwards, she discussed with me specific psychological cues that shaped her overall report, and gave me materials to write my own report of the patient encounter. Later, I will learn the intricacies of BASC scoring and be able to contribute to the AHB evaluation team as well.
I have also been able to connect with the other members of the AHB practice. I was invited to attend a guest speech at a mood disorder group, which was a great model as to how to discuss mental health with mixed/diverse audiences; by the end of the semester, I hope to give a presentation of my own at one of these meetings. Personally, the most interesting facet of AHB I have witnessed thus far is their autism support group, which is based in the roleplaying game of DnD, with an emphasis on attention to social strategies and cues.
Though we have just begun our semester–and similarly, the internship period–I am already endlessly excited for the experiences I will continue to have at AHB with clinicians, psychologists, patients, therapists, and social workers alike. Additionally, Dr. Harris-Britt has begun exposing me to clinical research projects of her own, which I am ecstatic to contribute to. I expect my passion for clinical work and research in psychology to continue to grow. Again, I thank the Karen M. Gil Internship as well as the lovely folks at AHB for this incredible opportunity!