It took Babe three tries to get into Michigan. Along the way, she went to Columbia for her Master’s degree to raise her GPA and obtain further research experience. Babe received other Ph.D. program offers during the years she applied to graduate schools, but says she “really wanted to come here; the psychology department is so well known. I came to U-M because apart from the unbeatable financial package, I wanted to be amongst a larger student body of African Americans, and the psych program at U-M has the largest number black Ph.D. students next to Howard. I went to UC Berkeley for my undergraduate studies, and my entire time there, didn’t really get to know African American students. As an African American I really need that as a part of my education.”
“I always knew I really wanted to do clinical work and be a teacher, but I didn’t know what that would look like. I am passionate about teaching.” While at U-M, Babe completed the doctoral program requirements for two fields of study (Psychology & Social Work) and received two Master’s degrees, all in five years. She went through the Ph.D. program quickly. She came in without an M.S.W. degree but still finished in 5 years. It is rare for students to finish their program in 5 years, even when they enter their program with an M.S.W. degree, which takes a year or two to complete. She also fit in a yearlong clinical internship at Kaiser Permanente hospital in California, balancing that with a position as a visiting scholar at San Francisco State University where she undertook a large portion of her data collection, all while volunteering as a social worker in a public high school in San Francisco. She describes, “It was a really great experience to have hospital HMO system experience coupled with volunteering with high school kids, seeing such a difference in culture and resource levels. I can identify more with the public school system. There are wellness centers in San Francisco public schools staffed with therapists for kids. I really wanted to play a role in that.”
Babe’s Master’s thesis research focused on African American mental health. She explains, “I created a model for mental health delivery in African American communities and examined depression in black men. African Americans reportedly have the lowest rates of depression, and I wanted to determine the protective factors and strengths in the community that allow them to prevent the onset of depression. The other side is, once depression hits, it is more severe and persistent for African Americans, partially because there are so many treatment and access barriers to culturally competent mental health services.”
Read the full article at the Rackham Website.