Meet Michelle Sisson, M.A., Medical/Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student

Name: Michelle Sisson

Age: 26

Program: Medical/Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program

Hometown: Prescott, Arizona


Mickeah: What is it like transitioning from Arizona to Alabama?

Michelle:  Being away from home took some getting used to and there are things about Arizona that I miss, like the mountains, snow, and lack of daylight savings time. It was strange being away from my family and friends at first but I have met a lot of great people here and have really started to feel at home in Birmingham!


Mickeah: What do you love most about Arizona?

Michelle: What I love most about Arizona is its variability. Most people think of Arizona as a hot, dry desert, but it also has pine tree forests, snow, and lakes. It's a unique place with so many different types of beauty. 


Mickeah: If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?

Michelle: Optimistic, dedicated, creative


Mickeah: In 7 years, where do you hope to be in your life?

Michelle: In seven years, I hope to be finishing my post-doctoral internship and applying for a job as a clinical neuropsychologist in a hospital setting. 


Mickeah: What played a significant role in your decision to apply for your program?

Michelle: What really drew me to this program at UAB is the opportunity to work at multiple clinical sites over the course of the program. It is so great to be able to gain experience working with several different patient populations. Also, the research areas of the faculty aligned closely with my interests.


Mickeah: What is a day in the life of a Doctoral student in your program like?

Michelle: A typical day for a student in this program varies depending on what activities you're doing. Some days we go to class while other days we work in our research labs or work in a clinical setting. For research, we design studies, meet with participants, analyze data, and work on writing papers about our findings. On days where we’re working in a clinical setting, we see patients and either do assessments and write clinical reports based on the results of those assessments or provide intervention and treatment. 


Mickeah: In this field, what is your area of interest?

Michelle:  My broad area of interest in this field is neuropsychology and more specifically, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance use. 


Mickeah: What would you say is the most rewarding thing about being in this program?

Michelle: The most rewarding thing about being in this program is the applicability of our research to members of the community. We get to work directly with patients and provide them with treatments that help improve their quality of life. 


Mickeah: What is one piece of advice you could give to students coming behind you, with the aspirations of pursuing this career?

Michelle: The advice I would give to incoming students pursuing this career is to enjoy it. This type of program requires a lot of time, dedication, and hard work and can be stressful, but it's an amazing experience so when it gets tough to try to keep that in mind and stay appreciative of the opportunity you have!