My name is Jessica Ndukwe, I’m a sophomore majoring in psychology and minoring in French. Since the spring semester of my freshman year, I have been a research assistant in Dr. Lindquist’s Affective Science lab where I work on taking participants through the in lab and neuropsych section for our Emotion Physiology in Context study and I also won an undergraduate research grant for this. Since the spring semester of my freshman year, I have been a research assistant in Dr. Fredrickson’s Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology lab where I work on the Social and Neural Integration study. Additionally this semester, I worked as an Undergraduate Learning Assistant (ULA) for NSCI 225 (Sensation and Perception) with Dr. Vicki Chanon and am a member of Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology. After graduation, I plan on going to graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and ultimately becoming licensed to practice as a clinical psychologist. Having seen how stigmatized mental health is in Nigeria (where I’m originally from) and other parts of the world, I plan on helping spread awareness and de-stigmatize taking care of one’s mental health and going to therapy. Outside of the psych world, I work as a resident advisor and am the vice president and head of events for One Africa, a student organization focused on bringing African students together. A fun fact about me is the US is the 4th country I’m living in – the other 3 are Nigeria, France, and England and I speak 3 languages (English, French, and Igbo – a Nigerian language).
For my Gil worksite, I have had the opportunity to intern at the UNC Psychology Community Clinic, under the mentorship of Dr. Jen Youngstrom. The UNC Psychology and Neuroscience Department Community Clinic (the Clinic) provides high quality and affordable psychological services to the triangle community and the UNC campus through specialty clinics for children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. All the assessment and treatment services are designed to provide effective psychological care in a compassionate environment to members of the campus and local community. It provides thorough psychological evaluations to clarify the conceptualization of the client’s issues and provide current testing data and useful recommendations. The Clinic is a community-based training facility for the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology and so services are provided by graduate students and on a limited basis by licensed psychologists, postdoctoral fellows, and social work graduate students. A related mission of the Community Clinic is the promotion and support of clinical research and the sharing of knowledge with the surrounding community through consultative services, presentations, and workshops.
My duties include helping with administrative aspects such as sorting through patient records, but I have also performed clinical tasks, such as going through the clinic voicemail to collect information on interested clients and assisting with intake calls. I’m also about to help with onboarding for the summer. I edited a 130-page disorder recommendations document which included resources classified by each disorder. I’m currently reviewing recorded psychotherapy sessions conducted by graduate student trainees to sort them into different styles of therapy, eg CBT and DBT. I attend weekly therapy presentations and assessment presentations, in which graduate students present on their clients and I can ask questions.
Through my internship, I have been able to see what it’s like to complete clinical graduate school level training which has been beneficial as that’s where I see myself in the future and this experience has strengthened my interest in the field. I have also been able to build a network of contacts and mentors and improve my professionalism and interpersonal skills. Huge thanks to the Gil internship, Dr. Buzinski, and Emily Dolegowski for making this possible.