Danielle is a second year PhD student in Counseling Psychology.  She is a GA for Counseling Psychology and, as part of her graduate assistantship, she is a co-coordinator of the Graduate School’s Graduate Student Wellness Initiative. The Graduate Student Wellness Initiative (GSWI) is a program run by the Graduate School in partnership with the Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology, and Counseling.  The mission of GSWI is to create a culture of health and wellness for all Ball State graduate students.

Where is your hometown?

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and have spent the last 10 years in Pittsburgh, PA where I studied for my undergraduate and master’s degrees!

What are a few of your favorite hobbies?

Much of the time I can be found gardening, hiking, spending time outside with my dog, or hanging out at a local brewery with my husband. When time and life allow it, I love traveling as well!

How do you practice self-care?

I really value self-care time and try to optimize on my down time as much as I can – I watch TV, do workout videos (with Sydney Cummings, highly recommend), hang out with my dog, husband, and friends, and spend time outside when weather allows.

Why did you choose Ball State?

I chose Ball State because of how supportive my program faculty appeared to be (and still are). I was instantly impressed by how open and caring they are for their students’ growth, and I also value the emphasis my program puts on social justice and advocacy.

What first interested you about your graduate program?

A number of things! Most broadly, I wanted to be in a counseling psychology program, and BSU’s program offers a cognate in health psychology. So not only were the faculty supportive at initial impression, but the program sequence and ability to study health psychology in conjunction with counseling psychology also really pulled me in. Finally, I was excited about having an opportunity to do an external practicum at a local cancer center given my interests in psychosocial oncology.

Where did you obtain your bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees, what were your major(s)?

My bachelor’s degree is in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and my Master of Science degree is from Chatham University in counseling psychology.

What is one lesson you have learned as a graduate student?

Again, so many things, but I’m gradually learning to not be so hard on myself and know when good enough is good enough.

What has been the most valuable part of your graduate assistantship experience?

The ability to connect with other graduate students who came to BSU from all over the world. That has been really humbling, and I’m grateful to meet students with diverse backgrounds and life experiences.

Is there anything else you would like to communicate about your experience as a GA?

If you are feeling socially isolated or in general need of connection with fellow grad students, please know we are a friendly group of people, and we’d love to have you join us at any of the GSWI events we host. I truly want to relay how much we want to build a stronger social network among BSU grad students so that no one feels isolated or alone.

What are your future plans and career goals?

I hope to pursue my career in health psychology by working at a hospital serving patients and their family members. I’m interested in integrated primary care and would also love to do presurgical transplant evaluations. I’d eventually like to go into private practice.