MSPP Student Ambassador
Jessica Yanick Pierre
New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts
Teachers College, Columbia University
3rd Year Advanced Standing Clinical PsyD
I am a 3rd year advanced standing student in the Clinical Psychology program. I was born in Brooklyn, NY, but lived most of my life in Rhode Island. I completed an undergraduate degree at Providence College in Social Sciences and became interested in becoming a school counselor. After completing a Master of Education and Master of Arts in psychological counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University, I worked in Harlem, New York as a guidance counselor. While working as a counselor with Black and Latino inner city youth, I realized that the most enjoyable moments of the experience involved working with families and conducting individual and group counseling. I also enjoyed being in a culturally rich environment where the families I served were from so many different African and Latin countries. I also grew more interested in testing as I became aware that many of the children I served were not receiving the services that fit their educational needs. I knew that a doctorate in psychology would increase my skills and knowledge in working with ethnic minorities and underserved populations.
I became very interested in MSPP for several reasons. First of all, MSPP's program provides an advanced track and also offers the opportunity to be involved in clinical work from the very beginning. As a Rhode Island resident, I appreciated the fact that I could find a practicum position so close to home while also commuting to MSPP two days a week for classes. I worked with adolescents in a residential school and also had the opportunity to train at a private practice conducting disability evaluations. I enjoyed having the chance to conduct psychological tests in order to write up evaluation reports that would help to inform and guide clients' treatment. My supervisors were supportive and helpful throughout my learning process. This year I will begin a two-year internship at the Trauma Center at JRI and look forward to learning how to conduct trauma-informed assessments in addition to applying various developmental theories to trauma work with children and families.
The Haitian Mental Health Conference at MSPP also appealed to me as a Haitian American person. I became involved with the Haitian Mental Health Network last year and am excited that MSPP is starting its very own Haitian Mental Health Program. I am interested in conducting my doctoral project on the ethnic and racial identity development of Haitian American youth and feel blessed to be a part of a community at MSPP that understands the importance of cultural sensitivity in therapeutic work.
MSPP is a great place to explore your own specific interests with faculty and students from many different walks of life. I have spoken to interested prospective students in the past who said to me "I don't know if I can go for it." I personally believe that if you have a heart for working with people, can work well in a team, succeeded in an undergraduate or other graduate program, and love to serve others, you have what it takes. MSPP's students and faculty are helpful and supportive and we're here to lend a hand or ear when you need it. MSPP also provides so many self-care activities such as meditation and yoga, so be sure to take advantage! Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or thoughts. Blessings and best of luck to you!