A Message from the President Maureen O’Connor, Ph.D., J.D.

As a university dedicated to the study and practice of psychology and counseling, we are especially attuned to the challenges and consequences of experiencing trauma, and to teaching our students the importance of providing a safe and compassionate space for those in need. And, as an institution committed to making a difference in the world, we understand the importance of civic engagement. 

These issues have been front and center as we began the new academic year as one of our own amazing faculty members, Christine Blasey, Ph.D. provided public testimony in the U.S. Senate in the confirmation hearings for a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the glare of national media attention has placed attention on our community, we have been committed to ensuring that our students and faculty were able to focus on their important work in the classroom and in their clinical and internship placements, and that we took care of each other, and honored Dr. Blasey’s privacy as well. At the same time, we will be working together as a community to create opportunities for deeper reflection on the issues raised by current events in the coming weeks and months.

Several stories in this newsletter highlight important work going on addressing trauma from a variety of perspectives by our wonderful faculty, alumni and students. Please take a moment to read about Associate Professor Sita Patel and her work regarding trauma experienced by refugees and victims of human rights violations. The San Francisco Commonwealth Club has invited her to lead a public discussion on ‘A Global Perspective on Healing After Trauma: Where Health and Human Rights Meet’ on November 15th. We hope to see you there!

Also in this issue, alumna Amar Robinson, Ph.D. (2015), reflects on her experience working with homeless, county jail inmates and collaborating with police while conducting psychological assessments for an innovative program for people with severe mental illness.

Additionally, current Ph.D. student Erin Furay writes about her experience as a senior clinic manager at PAU’s Gronowski Center, where she gains valuable skills to become a clinic manager herself.

All these stories reflect the commitment and compassionate spirit that is PAU. I am grateful each day that I am able to work, teach and collaborate with this amazing community.

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