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Name: Zeba Ahmad
Grew up in: Seattle, WA
Degrees held: B.A. in Psychology and B.A. in Criminal Justice from Gonzaga University, M.S. in Psychology, Clinical Emphasis from Eastern Washington University, M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Seattle Pacific University
Degree Currently Pursuing: Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Intended career path post doctorate: My vocational goals are to work within the military, either in a Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), military base, or military hospital.
What teacher or professor has been most influential in your life? In terms of Psychology, I would say Dr. Patrick Mullick has been most influential as his class on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sparked my interest in PTSD in military populations. Aside from professors, I have two mentors in the community that have been very influential for my professional career, Dr. Karie Rainer and Dr. Matthew Jakupcak. They have mentored me in the areas of clinical work, professionalism, and research.
Tell us a bit about your decision to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology? I chose Clinical Psychology because it allows me to work within the healthcare profession in a way that I could make a significant contribution. Being a minority is important in this field, especially as there are not many minorities within psychology. I have seen the difference it makes to minority clients and in this way, I have found that I can provide a little extra comfort to those who are in distress.
Why Seattle Pacific University? I chose SPU for a variety of reasons, including the focus on mentoring in the program in the form of the research vertical teams as the senior students mentor the junior students. Also, I like the training on not just research or clinical skills but on both. I find that this training is unique to this program as compared to others in the Seattle area.
What has been your greatest challenge this past year? This past year has been a difficult year. There have been a lot of medical problems that my family and I have experienced, which made me realize that I needed to re-prioritize my life. Finding that balance between being a good student but also finding the time to take care of my family and myself has been the greatest challenge.
What areas of research are you interested in? My research has focused on trauma in general. More specifically I am interested in PTSD, Secondary Trauma, minority issues, and the intersection of PTSD and chronic pain.
What do you plan to research for your dissertation? My dissertation is on the experiences of Muslim American military personnel and if applicable, experiences of engaging in combat in Muslim countries.
What is your greatest accomplishment in graduate school so far? I have had a number of positive experiences throughout my graduate career. Working with diverse client populations has been very fulfilling. I think the greatest feeling of accomplishment comes from that hope that I can make a difference in someone’s life, even if just for a second, minute, hour, or longer.
What advice would you give to prospective students? The one piece of advice I would tell students who are looking into applying or attending this program, or any other in Clinical Psychology, is to be a self starter. Be motivated, know the areas you are interested in pursing and go for it. The best way to help yourself is being prepared in terms of your research and clinical interests and have the internal motivation to work hard to accomplish as much as you can in five years.
Any experiences are you currently looking forward to in this coming year? Hopefully matching for internship! Also, I am looking forward to completing my coursework and dissertation.
What do you do in your spare time away from graduate school? With the little time I have, or make, I like to relax by reading, watching reality T.V. (yes, that is an embarrassing revelation), and spending time with the important people in my life.
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