For Wendy Vincent, AUNE Helped in Finding Life’s Work
Not long ago, as a doctorate practicum student, Wendy Vincent spent nearly a year working with veterans at a VA medical center in Massachusetts. She unexpectedly enjoyed the experience so much so that she stayed an additional year for an optional specialization in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She graduated from Antioch University New England (AUNE) in 2010, and now plans to focus her life’s work on veterans.
“My interest in veterans just snuck up on me,” she said. “It happened because AUNE allows you the opportunity to explore and develop your own sense of identity within the profession. You don’t have to know what you want to do. When I came into the program, I didn’t know. It evolved because of AUNE’s flexibility and support from professors.”
Like many adult students, Wendy, 40, came to AUNE to prepare for a new career. Attracted to psychology since childhood, she earned an undergraduate degree in the subject from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, but then pursued a different field. For more than a decade, she found success in the publishing industry, including with Stonebridge Press in central Massachusetts, where she was publisher of nine community newspapers, and managed a $5.5 million budget.
“I loved it,” she said. “But people would always say to me, ‘You should be a therapist.’ Employees who worked for me would say, ‘You should hang a shingle on your door.’ It just came naturally.”
She often considered returning to school, but hesitated, fearing the GREs and dissertation process.
Finally, in 2004, she earned a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but played it safe and continued to work in publishing. After deciding to go for a doctorate, she researched programs, discovered AUNE, and attended an open house hosted by the Department of Clinical Psychology.
“The feeling I got from everyone I met was so comfortable. I knew it was the place where I wanted to be,” she said.
A Student Who Inspires
Wendy briefly deferred her AUNE acceptance for a prior commitment to work and study in a summer trauma program near Cape Town, South Africa. There, she developed a lasting passion for vicarious trauma care. Once back in the States, she devoted herself to training as a psychologist at AUNE, where she thrived.
Besides her studies, she was a member of the clinical psychology department’s Student Cabinet, and of the APA Advisory Committee on Colleague Assistance. In her role with the latter, she regularly interfaced with psychology experts and state leaders, and attended frequent conferences in Washington, D.C. She also served with Disaster Shakti, the volunteer team of AUNE clinical psychology doctorate students who use their education to help disaster survivors around the world. Not only did she work in post-Katrina New Orleans, but also trained students at the University of Florida for a collaborative
African relief effort
Wendy also co-founded and facilitated Connecting Classes, a semiannual forum for learning and conversation between new and advanced students. For her many initiatives, in 2009, she was named an AUNE Student Who Inspires.
“I loved AUNE. It’s wonderful,” she said. “I loved the enthusiasm of the professors, of being part of a cohort. I loved the flexible schedule.”
During her practicum at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts, Wendy worked with the PTSD team program of the Center for Integrative Psychotherapy. Besides providing PTSD assessments to veterans of all ages, she co-created and led a weekly autobiographical writing group for older male veterans titled Remembering Your Life, as well as other therapeutic groups. Her research findings are compiled in her dissertation, Telling Stories in a Veterans’ Life Review Group: Design, Pilot Study, and Evaluation, which is a model of late-life development, and a notable contribution to adult development and aging literature.
Wendy, who is a licensed mental health counselor, recently completed her pre-doctorate internship at Worcester State Hospital and is returning to the VA center in Bedford for her post-doctorate work.
She’s back to her true profession, thanks to AUNE.
“It took me a few years to decide that I was willing to go back to the beginning to prepare for a new career,” she said. “My love was always psychology, but I took a detour. I’ve returned to my roots.”