Bridging the Gap Between Psychology and Law
Lisa Giordano '08 earned a B.A. in Psychology at Colby-Sawyer College and is now working on her doctorate at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. In the interview below, she discusses her journey from undergraduate student to Ph.D. candidate.
Soon, I will be Dr. Lisa Giordano. I've always wanted to earn my doctorate degree, and during a semester studying in Australia I found my passion: forensic psychology. This field bridges the gap between psychology and the law.
I loved being at Colby-Sawyer, and the Psychology Program prepared me well for graduate school. Even now there are things we'll cover in my doctorate program that I learned about at Colby-Sawyer.I really liked the internship requirement. In my senior year I worked with the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families, where I was able to get experience in my major.
I had great resources at Colby-Sawyer. Professor Lynn Garrioch talked to me a lot about graduate programs. Professor Basia Pietlicki was my advisor, and I ended up assisting in her Personality Psychology class. I always met with writing tutors at the Academic Development Center to review my papers, and the Harrington Center for Career and Academic Advising helped me write my résumé.
The Capstone project was really helpful, too. I had to do a literature review along with a study, and I can't tell you how many lit reviews I've written in grad school. Learning as an undergrad how to read research articles and focus on the details, as well as critique articles for their limitations, has been invaluable.
I earned my master's degree in Forensic and Counseling Psychology in 2010. My thesis was on cultural and linguistic considerations when working with Spanish-speaking clients for competency to stand trial evaluations. While working on my master's I interned at a medium-security prison that has now hired me as a part-time clinician; I do mental health screenings and crisis work. I'm completing another internship now at the only state facility that is a male prison as well as a state forensic psychiatric hospital.
My hope is to do forensic evaluations, which would put me more on the court and legal side of things rather than treatment. It will be up to me to assist the court in deciding if someone should be held responsible for a crime they allegedly committed or if they need mental health care.
My studies at Colby-Sawyer provided me with the opportunity to go far.