School of Arts and Sciences

Clinical-Community Psych Grad Classes Help Alum in Outreach Role with The Humane Society

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Pictured is Chloe Detrick, a 2015 M.A. in clinical-community psychology graduate of Point Park and media relations specialist for The Humane Society of the U.S. | Photo by Meredith Lee/For The HSUS

Meet Chloe Detrick

Job title: Media Relations Specialist
Employer: The Humane Society of the United States
Degrees earned: M.A. in Clinical-Community Psychology, Point Park University, 2015; and B.S. in Journalism and Public Relations, West Virginia University, 2013
Grad school activities: School of Arts and Sciences chair for the Graduate Student Association and president of Point Park’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Scholarships from Point Park: Graduate grants
Hometown: Ridgeley, W.Va.
High school: Bishop Walsh High School
Now living in: Rockville, Md.
Hobbies: Zumba instructor
Interests: Animal welfare issues and drug policy research
Twitter: @chloe_detrick
LinkedIn: Chloe Detrick

As a communications professional, why did you decide to pursue a master’s in clinical-community psychology?

"My graduate classes taught me many lessons, but one of my most important takeaways was that real change happens through grassroots organizing from people who are truly committed to a cause."

-- Chloe Detrick


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My undergraduate education was very well rounded in the journalism realm, but I really wanted to add a more community-based outreach approach to my public relations skill set. I have always been interested in the psychology field and discovered the new and unique grad program Point Park was offering that combined a clinical approach to mental health with a holistic look at cultural influences to promote positive social change.

I reached out to the director of the M.A. in clinical-community psychology program, Dr. Brent Robbins, to see if he had any connections that would help me find employment while I was working my way through the degree. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he was looking for someone to help him with communications efforts for the Society for Humanistic Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association, of which he was about to become president.

I was able to do so many things through SHP including writing and securing a grant, managing a website for professionals to discuss alternative approaches to mental health diagnosis, interviewing and connecting with professionals in the mental health field, and planning a summit for an international group of experts to convene and explore more humane ways to address and diagnose mental health concerns. The summit made me realize how much I wanted my public relations and community outreach work to center around causes that were meaningful, intellectual and, most importantly, in harmony with my moral and ethical beliefs. 

In what ways have your grad classes helped you in your career?

My graduate classes taught me many lessons, but one of my most important takeaways was that real change happens through grassroots organizing from people who are truly committed to a cause. This has really helped guide my career path and sparked my interest in the areas of outreach and political lobbying. My classes also helped me narrow my interests down to the causes I truly care about, two of which are animal welfare and drug policy reform. For example, I did a presentation in one of my community classes on using service dogs as an alternative or supplement to PTSD treatment.

I’m also able to combine these two interests at my current position at The Humane Society of the United States. My overarching view on drug policy is a harm reduction stance when it comes to human consumption, but, when it comes to animals that are not able to give consent, I feel we need to stop using harmful chemicals on them to test our cosmetics and medications and start looking at the plethora of alternatives that are out there. One of the campaigns I work on for The HSUS involves media outreach and lobbying efforts for our “Be Cruelty Free” campaign, which helps promote these alternatives and expose the inhumane testing practices we are, unfortunately, still allowing to happen in the U.S.

Describe the teaching styles of Point Park’s psychology professors.

The teaching styles of Point Park’s psychology professors range from very hands on and animated to very serious and philosophical and everywhere in between. I loved every single one of them. Dr. McInerney always cracked us up with his jokes and excitement in every class, yet challenged us with interesting discussions about the work of Bell Hooks. Dr. Olfman loaded our brains with extremely helpful knowledge about childhood development and always made herself available for any questions we had. Dr. Robbins was a hub of humanistic information and always incorporated interesting stories and documentaries into his lessons. And Dr. Barbetti took us through almost every approach to counseling there is with an enthusiasm for teaching that was apparent in every lesson. They all taught me so much and left me with great lessons and memories.

What’s your favorite Point Park memory? 

There are plenty of class lessons I could call upon for this answer, but the memories that keep coming to mind are those with my classmates. We were all so different, yet we recognized, respected and accepted these differences, which resulted in one amazing cohort. When grad school got the better of us, we went out for a beer or simply bonded with each other. We all leaned on each other for support, laughed together way more times than I can remember and truly wanted each other to succeed. Though we sometimes couldn’t wait for class to be over so we could get on with our busy lives, I’d give anything to spend one more lesson with all of them.

What are your career goals?

I’d like to continue to strengthen my writing, outreach and lobbying skills in order to more strongly advocate for causes I care about. I’m also hoping to find more writing opportunities in order to expand my experience, research and personal voice. 

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.” — Viktor E. Frankl, "Man’s Search for Meaning"

Photo by Meredith Lee/For The HSUS

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