Emil Beckford '15
PHD STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
LAB ALUMNUS, FUNDAMENTALS OF ADOLESCENT BRAIN LAB AT YALE UNIVERSITY
Industry – COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY
EDUCATION – BS, PSYCHOLOGY, YALE UNIVERSITY
Describe what you're working on and/or what you're most proud to have accomplished.
I am currently pursuing my PhD in counseling psychology with the goal of being a therapist and community-based researcher. My interests lie in understanding how having one or more marginalized identities impacts mental health and how protective factors can mitigate adverse mental health outcomes. I am proud that I have made it to the graduate level and can pursue these research interests in my qualifying paper and dissertation. I am also proud that I have been able to keep music firmly in my life. Since graduating from SLUH, I have performed on all six inhabited continents (including at SLUH with the Yale Whiffenpoofs and Varsity Chorus in 2018) and I made an album of my own original songs, "Songs About Isolation," during the beginning of the pandemic.
You know we have to ask it. Do you have a favorite SLUH memory or teacher?
During Mission Week my sophomore year, my best friend Jack Barbey and I won a lunch with Mr. (Tom) Kickham. He was just an absolute joy to be around. I loved that experience so much that I took his AP Psychology class my senior year. His passion for teaching and for psychology put me on my current path.
Think back to senior year. Was this the job you dreamed of? If not, then what?
I knew I wanted to pursue psychology, but I didn't think I'd be working in counseling or getting a PhD. I thought I would be in neuroscience, but I am grateful for psychology's flexibility as a field, which has allowed me to find my vocation.
What does the future of your industry look like? What else would you like to accomplish?
Psychology is placing increasing importance on better understanding multicultural perspectives and making our services and research more accessible. I hope to start a private therapy practice focusing mainly on Black and queer liberation and community-building.
How are you acting as a Man for Others in your current role?
I try to make myself available to help my classmates and professors in any way they need and I try to go the extra mile to get things right when I'm helping people, even when it takes more time.
What advice would you give to current students?
Try everything, even what you think you might not be good at. Learning what you don't like is just as important as discovering what you do. I chose SLUH for computer science and now I'm in psychology!
Be honest. What was your wildest BTSM (Back to School Mixer) outfit?
Junior year mixer: yellow headband, pink handcuff sunglasses, armband, black t-shirt, rainbow shorts