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Name: Beau Reilly
Grew up in: Kennewick, WA
Degrees held: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Psychology - Central Washington University; Master of Arts (M.A.), Clinical Psychology - Seattle Pacific University
Degree Currently Pursuing: Doctor of Philosophy, Clinical Psychology (Ph.D.) - Seattle Pacific University
Intended career path post doctorate: Senior Fellow Appointment, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences - University of Washington Autism Center and Center for Human Development and Disabilities
What teacher or professor has been most influential in your life? For the past five years, Dr. Dave Stewart has provided mentorship and guidance to me that I consider to be an essential part of how my career has developed. One of the unique aspects of pursuing a graduate career in the field of clinical psychology is that one must develop competence in domains that exceed simple research, clinical, and academic skills. Part of understanding what it means to be a competent psychologist involves developing a strong working relationship with a mentor who models how to become a professional. Dave and I have shared a great working and personal relationship that has done exactly that.
Tell us a bit about your decision to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology? Initially, during undergraduate studies I had the intention of pursuing a career in experimental psychology and began to cater a lot my extra-curricular activities toward gaining experience and credentials toward graduate programs. One of the few clinical psychologists in the faculty offered me a research assistant position in a developmental preschool at the University and I took the position more as a means to continue eating than to fulfill any kind of career ambition. After seeing the applied aspects of clinical research and the impact that it can have on lives firsthand I began to have a change of heart about the clinical aspects of the field and chose to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology.
Why Seattle Pacific University? Along with SPU, I was accepted to a professional school of psychology (Psy.D.) after completing undergraduate studies that had many positive training aspects. In the end, I chose SPU because a Ph.D. from an accredited institution signifies that your training is of the highest caliber of what can be expected from a psychologist. If I was going to dedicate my life to a grueling amount of training and studies for five years I wanted the assurance that when I completed the program my skills would enable to do what I wanted with my professional life. SPU's program offered a balance between clinical and research focus that I thought was unique and well-suited toward training me for many different areas of the field that could become a focus for me in the future.
What has been your greatest challenge this past year? The internship process for all clinical psychology graduate students is a very stressful and difficult time in the year. Balancing applications, interviews, and traveling to different states all while continuing to attend class, complete my dissertation, and serve the needs of patients at my practicum proved to be the greatest challenge of my year. I am glad it is over.
What areas of research are you interested in? My research interests are in the areas of effective treatments and predictive factors concerning children and adolescents with Autism spectrum disorders and cognitive models of alcohol acquisition and use among developing teens. The two areas, while seemingly unrelated, have been the focus of my graduate career and I enjoy the work very much.
What do you plan to research for your dissertation? My dissertation investigated the predictive fit of a cognitive model of alcohol use acquisition among adolescents ranging in age from 14-19. Primarily, it focused on the dually-mediating influence of implicit alcohol associations and explicit alcohol expectancies on the relationship between disinhibition and alcohol use.
What is your greatest accomplishment in graduate school so far? I would have to say that finishing is the greatest achievement that I have experienced in graduate school. It really is a culminating experience and it has allowed me to look back on all the experiences and training that have shaped me as the person and professional that I am.
Where are you currently doing your internship? Spokane Mental Health in Spokane, WA.
What do you enjoy most about your internship? I enjoy the wide variety of training opportunities and patient care that community mental health care provides. I believe that an environment with limited resources and a patient population that is in such great need allows a clinician to sharpen their skills in a way that is hard to find anywhere else. The inpatient rotation at Sacred Heart Medical Center also has allowed me to experience different levels of care and how clinical systems are connected.
What advice would you give to prospective students? Be sure. Five years of graduate studies is no joke and requires a lot of rigorous commitment. A Ph.D. requires you to give up a lot of more preferable things in life and be patient while your skills and understanding develop.
Any experiences are you currently looking forward to in this coming year? I am very excited about starting my Post-Doctoral work at the University of Washington Autism Center.
What do you do in your spare time away from graduate school? I was recently married and enjoy spending what little spare time I have with my wife. While we have spent most of our time together moving back and forth across the state we are both completing post graduate work this year and will finally have more time to pursue recreational interests together.
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