Always admiring of her parents' dedication to service (her mother a nurse; her father a therapist), Kathryn Gordon was inspired to pursue meaningful work helping others. But with "a bit of a blood phobia," she was more inclined toward the mental health service environment.
Having known people who suffer from mental disorders, and later, being introduced to her father's clients who would tell her how much he had changed their lives in a powerful, positive way, Kathryn decided to focus on Clinical Psychology. Now a doctoral candidate, she is studying these conditions because "scientific study will advance us toward effective treatments."
She says the scientific process in Clinical Psychology (both in research and clinical work) "involves a lot of creativity, critical thinking, and discovery." Her dissertation focuses on identifying some of the reasons that individuals with eating disorders are more likely to attempt suicide. She is particularly interested in examining eating disorder symptoms in ethnic minority groups, an area traditionally understudied. Her research suggests, "clinicians are less likely to recognize an eating disorder in a Black girl than one who is Hispanic or White, most likely due to the stereotype that eating disorders almost exclusively affect White girls. Consequently, they are less likely to recommend a Black girl who is exhibiting eating disorder symptoms to seek help."
Her studies led to her co-authoring (with her mentor, Dr. Thomas Joiner, and others), "The impact of client race on clinician detection of eating disorders," which will soon be published in Behavior Therapy. A prolific writer, Kathryn has co-authored 11 journal articles and five book chapters. Eight additional papers are currently under editorial review.
Last year, she served as assistant director of the FSU Psychology Clinic, where she saw clients, assisted therapists with their cases, and prepared weekly didactic trainings for the therapists. She says, "The Clinic was part of my life for a long time. As an undergraduate, I was a member of the office staff. In graduate school, I came back as a therapist for two years, and then served as the assistant director."
For her outstanding achievements and service, the American Psychological Association has awarded her its Distinguished Student Practice Award in Clinical Psychology for 2006. After graduation, Kathryn plans to pursue a career in academia. Any university would be blessed to have her.[Close Button]