Alumna Courtney Smith’s first interactions with Appalachian State University’s Department of Psychology solidified her interest in medicine, particularly her health and biological psychology classes.
“I found I looked forward to those classes and could envision a variety of career opportunities after graduation,” Smith said. “I was fascinated by the connection between body, mind and behavior.”
Smith was in the departmental honors program where she completed an undergraduate honors thesis which allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of psychology, she said.
“The professors at Appalachian fostered a healthy environment in which we learned to think critically, produced quality research products and participated in unique clinical opportunities,” Smith said.
Smith received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Health Studies and began Appalachian’s Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program, excited to spend more time in Boone and work toward her career in clinical health psychology.
But, not all her time was spent in Boone. Smith completed her master’s program internship at the Duke Pediatric Neuropsychology Clinic in Durham.
Smith jokes that her other major at Appalachian was Outdoor Programs, an office on campus that gives students opportunities to explore the outdoors through equipment rental and organized trips. She was a trip leader all four years as an undergraduate and then worked with OP every once and a while as a graduate student.
“Having the opportunities to work in a variety of settings, and even careers, helped build my skills to be highly flexible when working with a wide variety of personalities and within various working environments,” Smith said about Appalachian.
So, when she decided to pursue the clinical psychology doctoral program at East Tennessee State University, Smith said she felt more than ready.
Smith hopes to finish her doctoral program by summer 2017. After that, she wants to work as a behavioral health consultant within a pediatric primary care clinic. She also plans to continue her involvement in research.
“Your emotional well-being directly impacts your physical health,” Smith said. “I find that fascinating and want to be involved in helping individuals manage their emotions and behaviors to become physically and emotionally healthy.”