Alumni Interview — Dr. Kiera Boyle (’09)

With each year that passes there are more and more BIC graduates doing great work all over the world. Each spring we publish brief “Alumni Updates” where our alumni can tell us some about their post-BIC lives. In addition to these annual updates, we post interviews with our alumni. Today we are excited to post an interview with Dr. Kiera Boyle (’09). We hope you enjoy, and if you are interested in being interviewed for a future blog post, email us at BIC@baylor.edu.

dr-kiera-boyleWhat year did you graduate from Baylor? What did you study?

I graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in psychology and philosophy. I knew I wanted to study psychology when I started at Baylor, but I learned to love philosophy while there and added the major during my junior year. I went on to get my doctorate in clinical psychology from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Although I ended up pursuing a career in psychology, my philosophy and BIC courses were my favorites while I went to Baylor.

 

What are you doing currently for work/career? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I currently work as a clinical psychologist at a children’s hospital in Boston. I specialize in treating children and adolescents with depression, anxiety, PTSD, difficult family dynamics, and other emotional and mental health challenges. I also do psychological testing with kids and teens to help them, and those around them, understand their cognitive abilities and the underlying reasons for their behavior more fully. I love a lot of things about my job! I am able to do a variety of different activities throughout the day, including therapy, testing, writing, reading, supervising psychologists-in-training, and teaching seminars. My work involves complex and nuanced thinking, but also connecting emotionally with others. Of course the best feeling is seeing a child make progress in knowing, expressing, and regulating their emotions; those moments when kids feel proud of themselves for the work they have done are the most rewarding.

How has your BIC education influenced your life/career since leaving Baylor?

The main point that has stuck with me is that openness to new experience is an incredibly valuable thing to practice. It can be very challenging to separate from your own biases and beliefs at times, but when you can do so and see the “other” as someone to learn from and connect with, everyone benefits. We were challenged to do that both intellectually and experientially (going to the Mosque, Hindu temple, Synagogues, etc.) many times throughout our time in the BIC. I think that value of openness and genuinely attempting to see connections and meaning in things that initially feel very “other” from myself has influenced my desire and ability to empathize with people, including patients. It’s also made life a lot more interesting!

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in BIC?

It’s hard to choose just one. I loved the field trips in general, but my favorite was going to the Dallas Museum of Art. I followed Dr. Henry Wright around and learned a ton about the paintings and artists. It made me appreciate the art much more to learn about the people and historical/cultural contexts of the works.

Is there something you learned in BIC that still sticks with you today?

Honestly, I was very shy when I started attending Baylor. The most important thing I learned that still sticks with me is to speak up and not be afraid to share my thoughts and opinions with others. The small group class format in particular made this easier for me over the four years that I was in the BIC, and it’s something I’ve carried with me throughout my graduate training and career.  Even if my BIC classmates or professors didn’t agree with my points, the environment was one where we were allowed to explore and work through ideas out loud. I think that kind of setting is crucial for intellectual and personal growth.

What are your goals for the future?

What a hard question! Overall, I hope to keep growing as a person and as a psychologist. Balancing all the roles I’d like to play is likely to be challenging. I remember that during my capstone course with Drs. Hanks and Lenore Wright, we talked about how challenging it can be to develop a professional identity while raising a family and maintaining a home, particularly for women. I’d like to be able to feel that I’m fully participating in each realm of life and finding meaning by integrating those experiences. As for concrete goals, I’d love to write a children’s book one day!

Is there anything else would you like to share?

I can’t say enough how glad I am that I participated in the BIC. I hope my responses reflect how much I think it added to my experience while at Baylor, and that others continue to be able to have that experience. I am very grateful to the professors who went out of their way to create and maintain the program.

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