Supporting Children Impacted by Violence

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Lynda Gibson is wasting no time following her summer 2020 graduation from Illinois Tech. The clinical psychology Ph.D. graduate has started a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical child psychology at the University of Chicago’s Department of Pediatrics, where she specializes in child trauma exposure.

Gibson gained a wealth of experience working on her dissertation at Illinois Tech, where she collaborated with Head Start centers in Chicago and conducted a study with South Side families whose preschool-age children had witnessed community violence. Gibson found exposure to violence often correlated with behavioral and emotional issues in the children. With these findings in mind, she took action.

“During my last year at Illinois Tech, I collaborated with my adviser, Joyce Hopkins, to develop a family based intervention for children and families with community violence exposure,” she says.

Gibson hopes Head Start centers will utilize the intervention. She says both her master’s thesis, which focused on barriers to mental health treatment for African Americans, and her dissertation project prepared her for the next steps of her career.

“Both projects strengthened my knowledge about the issues affecting these communities and taught me a lot about different research methodologies and my role as a clinician and researcher,” she says.