Where is your hometown?
Paris, Texas (the second most famous Paris).
Where did you obtain your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and what were your major(s)?
I did my bachelor’s at Texas Tech in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and my masters at Oklahoma State in mental Health Counseling.
What first interested you in counseling psychology?
At first, it was because people came to me for advice and wanted to talk about things. Ultimately, I wanted to be able to help veterans after hearing some of the stories that my friends in the military had told me. I felt like that was the best way to help.
Why did you choose Ball State?
I knew as soon as the interview ended that I wanted to come here. I still had other interviews to do, but everything about Ball State really fit with who I am. I like that this program has more direction than some of the other programs. The people were so welcoming throughout the interview process that I felt like this program would help me grow personally and professionally.
What do you think of your experience at Ball State as a doctoral student so far?
Chaotic but good. You are constantly busy and doing new things that you have never done before and trying to stay on top of things. You also have a great group of people around you that keep it fun and interesting while also getting to explore your passions.
What are your research interests?
My research interests are very similar to my clinical interests. I want to continue doing research about LGBTQIA+ veterans to help improve policy decisions and the experiences of everyone. Specifically, I am interested in people who are trans in the military especially given the policies that have been enacted recently through the VA. I feel like there is not enough research to justify the policies they have in place, so I want to change that, and I want to help their voices be heard.
What are your future plans and career goals?
I intend to work for the VA as a psychologist, and I would like to continue working with LGBTQIA+ veterans. Maybe somewhere down the road I will get into policy work for them, but, at first, I will start as a counselor.
What is one lesson you have learned as a graduate student?
Establish a routine as early as you can. Leave room to show yourself grace, because you are not going to get everything right the first time or maybe even the tenth time, so just allow yourself to grow and to make those mistakes.
What are a few of your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy playing pool. I used to play on league teams, but I haven’t done that at Ball State yet. I enjoy exercising and baking. I also love traveling primarily to see my fiancé, but traveling is a big part of my life now.
How do you practice self-care?
I am still learning. I haven’t fully figured it out yet. When I get to the point when I am tired, I allow myself to take a break from work even if there is a lot to do. I must allow myself time to rest, or it won’t be very good work. Listening to my body is one way to practice self-care.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
The first thing that comes to my mind is Harry Potter and how Professor McGonagall can turn into a cat. Would that not be the coolest thing to just be able to turn into a cat?
What is one staple you always have in your fridge?
Pickles, whole kosher dill pickles. I always have a jar in my fridge, because it is such a good snack.