Commencement 19 Profile: Allie Wroblewski leverages resilience through trauma treatment services

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Allie Wroblewski graduated last weekend with a Ph.D. from the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, allowing us to officially call her a GGSE Alum. Her time at the Gevirtz School has been devoted to researching, practicing, and strengthening evidence-based trauma treatment services. Thank you for all you have done here, Allie!

GGSE: Share your research interests with us, and why they’re important to you.
When I initially started graduated school, I was passionate about examining the risk and protective factors of female youth involved in the juvenile justice system. As much research involvement progressed, I noticed that the vast majority of youth in the juvenile justice system had directly experienced or witnessed a range of traumatic incidents and were not receiving adequate trauma-based services. This recognition shifted my research efforts to childhood trauma screening and evaluation of trauma-based services within juvenile halls. My dissertation focused on the 'Associations between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Parenting Stress, and Early Childhood Behavior Problems’ and was a by-product of a collaborative relationship formed with an amazing community-based trauma organization in Santa Barbara (CALM). My dissertation included trauma screening recommendations for child-centered agencies, particularly agencies working with children from Latinx populations. My research and clinical interests have expanded this year to include assessing for medical traumatic stress in children as a result of completing my internship at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA).

GGSE: If you could give one piece of information that you wished every person knew and remembered from your research, what would it be?
Even though much of my research and clinical interests focus on ameliorating and preventing the detrimental cumulative effects of trauma, it's important to remember that children are incredibly resilient and often experience post-traumatic growth in the face of adversity! I am fortunate to experience this on a daily basis at my internship site. The kids at CHLA are my heroes. My goal is that all children, regardless of setting (school, hospital, juvenile correctional facilities) will have access to high quality, evidenced-based trauma treatment services.

GGSE: What do you hope to do after earning your Ph.D.?
I plan to continue my research involvement in the area of early trauma exposure and screening efforts while completing my post-doctoral fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School. This will be an exciting opportunity for me to blend my research and clinical interests and I'm looking forward to continuing to be situated within an academic medical setting. Upon completing my fellowship, I aim to obtain a blended clinical and research position within a children's hospital setting that would allow me to provide a wide-range of services. I would enjoy conducting comprehensive neuropsychological and psychoeducational assessments, providing clinical intervention support, and participating in translational research.

GGSE: What piece of advice would you pass on to future graduate students in the Gevirtz School?
Imposter syndrome is real! It's impossible to get through graduate school without the support of your family, friends, and mentors. Don't be afraid to let someone know if you need help and remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process. Remember the reason(s) you initially applied to graduate school and don't lose focus of that, it will be worth it in the end.

GGSE: Is there anyone in the Gevirtz School you would like to thank?
My husband is amazing - although he's technically not in the Gevirtz School, he might as well be given the number of papers and assignments of mine he's read. I also want to thank my graduate adviser Jill Sharkey, Ph.D. who believed in me and provided endless encouragement throughout graduate school. I also want to thank all of my amazing peers who provided their support and guidance over the years.