By: Brian Sou
How did you decide upon a career in research? OR Was there a specific point in your education or professional career where you decided to pursue research?
I first became interested in research during my senior year in college while completing my thesis on the loudness scaling in chinchillas and rat. I highly enjoyed the research process and being able to answer unanswered questions, and working with a wonderful mentor. It was during my residency that I decide to pursue research and enrolled in a combined research and clinical addiction fellowship.
Tell us about your first experience of being mentored. OR What is one of the most important qualities in the mentors that you’ve had?
My mentor in college, Rosemary Pierrel-Sorrentino, I met while taking classes in my major, a bachelor of science in psychology. I was taking a course in experimental psychology and decided to approach her to do a research project with her. I spent the summer of my junior year collecting data, both in the mornings and evening, seven days a week. While in the end, I decided that I wanted to carry out clinical rather than pre-clinical work, I enjoyed working with Dr. Pierrel-Sorrentino. She was incredibly supportive, helped guide me towards the decision to apply to medical school. She was a terrific role model in that she also had time to meet with me, helped me formulate research questions and learn the mechanics of carrying out a research project. And she was kind.
Which professional conference do you try never to miss?
The annual meetings of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and The College on Problems of Drug Dependence
What does work/life balance mean to you? OR What is your favorite recreation/pastime when you are away from the office.
I have been lucky in that I have generally enjoyed my job and I am passionate about what I do, However, my husband and 3 children take priority for me in terms of my free time and career choices. It is hard to always be “balanced” but letting family know that they are more important than any job I might have is something I have strived for throughout my career. I enjoy listening to music, singing in choruses, and traveling.
If you hadn’t become a psychiatrist/psychologist, what might have you done instead?
Either a high school teacher or an administrator in the healthcare setting.