When Sarah Thilges was exploring graduate programs and read the description of IIT's Clinical Program being part of a small but strong institute in the big city of Chicago, she was drawn to the idea of obtaining a solid education in a world-class metropolis as well as having diverse opportunities for research and practicum placements, the combination of which she saw as being unique to IIT College of Psychology. "What solidified my decision was the feeling I got when I visited," explains Thilges. "Everyone was genuinely proud of the program and extremely supportive of each other." Her clinical psychology practicum at a community mental health facility and her experience interviewing HIV patients at a Chicago clinic served as major influences in Thilges' burgeoning interest in health psychology, trauma research, and trauma therapy. In one of her favorite courses, Therapy II, Thilges analyzed cases, assessed diagnoses and treatment plans, and learned extensively from her professor and peer consultations. "The environment at the College of Psychology is one that encourages students to achieve their best," she says. "This is done through the advice and knowledge offered by the faculty as well as a support system that is valued and encouraged among fellow students."