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Becoming a…Psychologist

Katie Schneider

PsyD in Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student

CSPP at Alliant International University

Q: What inspired you to pursue this degree program/profession?

A: I applied to Alliant’s Clinical Psychology PsyD program because of the The Rockway Certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health which I came across while I was researching programs due to my passion for LGBTQ+ psychology. However, as I did more research on Alliant’s website, read faculty bios, and listened to faculty speak, I saw that not only were several faculty specialized in LGBTQ+ psychology, but I noticed the enriching, diverse, and interesting range of faculty specialties. The specialties range from trauma, PTSD, international psychology, multicultural psychology, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, Veterans psychology, DBT, psychodynamic theory, and more. I realized that I could gain an extremely wide range of knowledge at an institution like Alliant and visualized how much more well-rounded of a practitioner I could become. 

Q: Describe the most rewarding parts of your student experience so far. 

A: The most rewarding part of being a student at Alliant has been getting to know my amazing cohort. The program brings together such a smart, ambitious, interesting, diverse, and empathetic group of people and it has been a great experience to collaborate together in class. I am looking forward to continuing to build strong connections and friendships with this awesome group of individuals as we progress in the program. 

Q: Share your advice for new students on how to be successful in the program.

A: If I could give only a few words of advice, it would be to be present during class and stay organized. Of course, it is important to do the assigned readings, but I’ve found that truly participating in class and staying engaged has led to the most learning. The professors are brilliant and it’s a privilege to have this time to learn from them, so take advantage of that. To stay organized, I keep all assignments and exams organized by date and class in a spreadsheet and check them off when completed. I also try to plan out my weeks when I will work on each assignment and reading. These tricks can help you stay on top of the extremely busy schedule of a Psy.D. student. 

Q: What impact do you hope to make through the work you do?

A: I have seen how common it is for people within the LGBTQ+ community to be made to feel unaccepted due to their gender identity and/or sexual orientation, on individual, institutional, and societal levels. I have seen how culture, religion, race, and socioeconomic factors further impact the experience of shame and rejection many face for expressing themselves. It’s my hope that through my work I can help reduce these painful feelings for the many folks in the community who have experienced discrimination and deserve to live a more peaceful and integrated life.


I also hope to make an impact by using my background in policy studies, political science, and advocacy to lobby our government and advocate for the prioritization of the mental health of folks in the LGBTQ+ community who experience increased discrimination and violence. Representation matters, and I hope that in my future profession as an openly queer clinical psychologist, I can also inspire young people to enter into public service fields.

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