The 4-1-1 on Samantha:
- Born: Langhorne, PA
- Current hometown: Exton, PA
- Astrological sign: Virgo
- Favorite books: The "Harry Potter" series
- Dream job when you were younger: Fiction novel writer or animator
- Area of focus: My current job is doing outpatient therapy and comprehensive neuropsychological/psychological evaluations. I currently work at TEAMCare Behavioral Health in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where I am completing my postdoctoral fellowship.
5 Questions with Samantha
What was a milestone of your career that changed its course?
It is one thing to read in a textbook about the difference that therapy can make, but experiencing it myself was one of the most rewarding and important milestones that has continued to keep me driven toward achieving my career goals. Working in mental health can be challenging and stressful, but when you start to see someone grow and change as a person, overcome obstacles, and lead a better life, it all feels worthwhile. I now feel privileged that I can help someone when they are going through the worst times in their life, identify the root of a problem that has been plaguing them for years, and collaborate in finding solutions. Knowing that I can make a difference has driven me to pursue my doctorate, work hard, and continuously expand my knowledge and range of skills so that I can continue to help my clients find success.
How have your experiences shaped you into who you are today?
I have always been interested in understanding the reasons why people feel and behave the way they do. As a child, my parents encouraged me to be kind, caring, patient, and infinitely curious in every facet of my life. They often reminded that my name, Samantha, means listener, which is a fitting reflection of the person I grew up to be. One of my major goals in becoming a psychologist is to change the way seeking or receiving psychological help is viewed by the general public and even by clients who receive mental health services. My conviction is that it is important to convey that seeking mental health services is not a weakness or something to feel ashamed of, but is in fact a healthy thing. Anyone can find themselves in therapy at one time or another, and helping to remove the stigma is an important step toward making it easier for people to get help when they need it.
Can you share one piece of life advice, and one piece of career advice?
My best piece of life advice is to be very deliberate in creating your support network. Whether it is friend, a romantic partner, or a family member, a healthy relationship should feel equal and caring to everyone involved. Be selective about the people you choose to surround yourself with and make sure they are people who do not detract from your life. As far as career advice, I highly recommended that if you are interested in a career, find a way to get firsthand experience regardless of your age. Do an internship, shadow, volunteer, or get a summer job, but do something to learn more about what it is you want to do from people who are actually doing it. Even if you cannot get work directly in your desired field because of your lack of experience or age, you can still develop skills that will help you in the future in other ways. For example, retail jobs are an amazing way to gain patience and perfect your customer service, babysitting teaches you creativity and how to manage different personalities, and selling cookies may help you develop tenacity. Hard work and determination are half the battle in achieving your career goals.
How do you maintain a good work/life balance?
I find that maintaining a good work/life balance often comes down to self-care. Many people tell me they feel selfish in carving out time dedicated just for themselves, but it does not mean that you need to dedicate hours each day or go significantly out of your way. An act of self-care can be built into your daily routine, and can be as simple as cooking something a bit special for yourself, wearing a sheet mask, going for a short walk, or taking ten minutes before your family wakes up to drink some coffee uninterrupted.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women leaders in the workplace?
One of the biggest challenges for women in the workplace is feeling comfortable being a leader. Women in leadership roles often face heightened internal and external criticism which can undermine the desired feelings of competence and authority. For example, if female leaders are viewed as passive or collaborative, they may be criticized as weak, overemotional, or a pushover. If they are assertive, they get called cold, aggressive, and demanding. Regardless of their leadership style, women are often riddled with self-doubt and insecurities about how they are being perceived by those they are leading. Accordingly, it can be very challenging to feel confident and competent in a leadership role. Of course, male leaders may also experience these concerns, but in general, women are more likely to experience high levels of insecurity as a leader.
One of the most important things to do as a female leader is to recognize and be comfortable with the concept that you will never be able to please everyone. Find a working style that suits your personality, be flexible and listen to feedback, and work to avoid self-sabotaging your own success by doubting your own ability. Always remember, you earned your leadership role through your hard work and skills!