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Hello! I am Tulsi Patel (she/her), and I am a junior from Whiteville, NC. Currently, I am pursuing a B.S. in neuroscience with minors in medical anthropology and medicine, literature, and culture. My academic interests consist of understanding the different manifestations of psychological stress and psychiatric illnesses, along with how this knowledge can be integrated into effective treatments for rural, marginalized populations. Aside from the Gil internship, I enjoy planning for the APPLES Alternative Fall Break I will be co-leading this year, which gives students the opportunity to learn about and provide direct volunteer services to the food insecure and houseless populations of Asheville, NC.

During my first year at UNC, I analyzed oral histories of NC residents in the Stories to Save Lives database housed in the Southern Oral History Program, inspiring me to write about how rural hospital closures increased medical mistrust and homeopathic treatments. In my sophomore year, I performed an independent study on sex differences in the visual processing of mice alongside Dr. Rachel Penton. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to assist students in developing projects in a similar research topic to further expand on my initial understanding of the nervous system. Although I was fortunate to explore neuroscience and human health through these academic endeavors, I felt that I was missing a vital component: exploring the workforce and directly interacting with the clients and providers involved. Thankfully, the Gil internship has given me the tools to do just that!

I currently intern at Lepage Associates, a multi-specialty practice in Durham, NC that serves people of all ages and backgrounds with therapy, medication management, diagnostic testing, and forensic services. I work under the supervision of Dr. Colleen Hamilton, a licensed psychologist and the director of clinical training. One of my current projects involves researching duty to warn laws in each state and compiling the information into a comprehensive database, which will be used to inform new clinicians. This project has provided me with insight into what it means to be a mental health provider, in regard to protecting client confidentiality while maintaining public safety. By following cases with Dr. Hamilton and other clinicians in the practice, I have expanded my knowledge of psychotherapy, the medications involved, and the diagnosis process. All of the clinicians have been gracious enough to welcome my questions and provide detailed responses about their various cases. I have recently begun reviewing and summarizing client records in a succinct style to aid clinicians in expediting the diagnosis process. Reviewing records has taught me how to pinpoint significant details while absorbing a large amount of information about a client.

Being a Gil Intern has already been such a rewarding experience thanks to the support of my cohort members, Emily Dolegowski, Dr. Steven Buzinski, Dr. Hamilton, and all of the clinicians at Lepage Associates. I am excited to continue exploring the clinical side of psychology and neuroscience and look forward to seeing how I grow personally and professionally during my internship!

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