This week we caught up with Isabelle Fleury, a doctoral student with an emphasis in School Psychology working under Dr. Erin Dowdy. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University, New Brunswick in 2016. After earning her degree, Isabelle went on to work as a research assistant for Montefiore's Pediatric Behavioral Health Integration Program and Trauma-Informed Care Program. During her time at Montefiore, she worked with an incredibly large, diverse, and underserved population in the Bronx to integrate mental health treatment within primary care with the goal of reducing the stigma associated with psychiatric care. Before beginning her doctoral studies at UCSB, Isabelle also spent time studying computational social neuroscience as a research scholar at Adelphi University. Her research interests include increasing access and utilization of mental health services for underserved school youth populations, mental health literacy, integrated behavioral health, complete mental health screening, trauma-informed school practices, and strength-based approaches. (Note this 5?s format is taken from one of the School's internal communications, and is meant to help the Gevirtz community get to know itself better.)
GGSE: Who (living or dead) do you most admire?
Fleury: My parents. I know this is a common answer, but it is the absolute truth! I am lucky that they are both alive and supporting me through my graduate student journey. My mother and father are incredible role models who have inspired me to be the best version of myself. On days when I struggle to get through writing papers or crunching numbers in the lab, I remember the amount of hard work and dedication that my parents have had to commit to all their lives. I pay tribute to my parents, who have cemented a tradition of cultural humility and community advocacy, by continuing on a career path that is reflective of those learned values.
GGSE: What is your favorite place in Santa Barbara?
Fleury: Sands Beach. Before the start of every quarter, I like to walk (or take an electric scooter) to the end of Del Playa in Isla Vista and continue on a path that leads to a beautiful beach. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and clear my mind before getting back into the thick of my studies. Taking some time off at Sands helps me to be grateful to live in such a beautiful city where the beach is just a short walk away.
GGSE: When (besides now) would you like to live?
Fleury: In the very distant future. My reasons for this are to see how far the world has come to achieving world peace, erasing poverty, and transcending prejudice. I’m also interested to see how advanced technology will be and what the ethical implications will be.
GGSE: Where (besides Santa Barbara) would you want to live if money/job were not an issue?
Fleury: New York City. I am originally from Elmont, a town on Long Island that borders the Queens borough of NYC. I always loved living so close to the city and having so many opportunities to experience a bustling atmosphere. Although I have spent a lot of time working in and exploring the city, I have yet to live there. I do not think NYC is a place where I could live forever, but it’s something I would like to experience for a period in my life. However, I recognize that I will probably feel differently after I have to deal with the first blizzard of the winter season.
GGSE: Why do you do the job you do?
Fleury: I am passionate about helping children thrive in life despite any negative circumstances. My background in integrated behavioral health has led me to believe that the school system should be the primary place for school-age children to receive mental health services. I decided to study school psychology because prevention and early intervention are my preferred approaches to mental health and wellness. Plus, it’s way more fun to work with kids than with adults!