Ph.D., M.A., University of Missouri
B.A., University of Virginia
I never intended to get a Ph.D. Never. In fact, I didn’t really want to become a therapist. I started graduate school expecting to gain a basic understanding of human behavior that would help me write self-help books for people of color and sexual minorities.
Obviously, things turned out a bit differently than I had planned. In graduate school, I quickly realized that I enjoyed helping people learn. Students. Clients. Even my peers. I loved (and still love) helping people gain insight and teaching them new skills. And I realized that I couldn’t teach at the college level without getting a Ph.D., so I continued my studies and got one.
Along the way, I found myself drawn to study questions about things I saw in the everyday lives of my clients and of myself. What factors help African-American students be successful at predominately white institutions? How do LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) students create safe spaces in school environments that are hostile? In what ways is therapy different when both the therapist and the client are members of the same marginalized minority group? I soon noticed that what I studied had a profound impact on my work with clients and students. The more I learned, the more I was able to share.
My teaching practice is still informed by my work as a researcher and a counseling psychologist. Even though I no longer aspire to write self-help books, I can convey what I’ve learned from teaching, researching and being a therapist through my scholarship. I’m still interested in helping improve the lives of marginalized populations. In fact, it’s the work about which I feel the most passionate.
My career looks much different than I imagined it would, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Instead of writing for the popular press, I write for therapists and practitioners to inform how they work with marginalized populations. I get to help future therapists become more aware of their impact on their clients. And I get to work with my own clients to help them learn and grow. Being a professor and therapist allows me to have an even broader influence on the lives of both African Americans and sexual minorities. I feel fortunate to be able to continue that work here at the University of Baltimore.