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Alexandra Nobel ′10

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Tarpon Springs, FL
Fun Fact: Alex lived in five different countries before the second grade!

How were you able to start your own internship with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital?
Last year, I was able to meet with one of the clinical psychologists in the Behavioral Medicine Dept. at St. Jude. When I met with her, she stressed to me that clinical experiences were limited for undergraduates. Pediatric psychology, the field I’m interested in, also has only a limited amount of research opportunities. Despite the limits, I really wanted to explore pediatric psychology. I e-mailed her again in the fall, hoping that something would work out. She spoke with the training director for students in the clinic at St. Jude. Soon enough, he and I set up a "pediatric psychology practicum" meant basically for me, where I completed four hours per week last semester and wrote a paper about my experiences.

Are there other opportunities in the field of clinical psychology available for Rhodes students through St. Jude?
The training director at St. Jude hopes to find students from Rhodes interested in applying for the job that I′m doing now to observe clinical psychology at work. This opportunity could give more Psychology students great learning experience before applying to graduate school. Having just completed the grad school application process, I know this internship is an amazing opportunity and a great thing for anyone to have on his or her résumé.

What inspired you to study Psychology here at Rhodes?
I guess I felt like I always understood psychology. I was always the friend people came to for advice, and I had an ability to see situations in a different light. I felt that Psychology could lead me to a career where I could help people through difficult times. I started researching stress management and coping techniques, the areas I hope to study, as ways to help people with chronic illnesses such as cancer. The fact that psychology is not an exact science and that it takes a certain level of patience and understanding keeps me engaged. There′s always a new way of looking at someone’s personality or how the individual adapts to stress or how families interact. It’s an endless field, and that excites me.

You’ve also played volleyball for the Lynx. What has that experience been like?
Playing volleyball at Rhodes was one of the most influential experiences of my college career. There′s a certain level of understanding between the athletes about the commitments you have for workouts, practices, team meetings, entertaining recruits, not to mention the travel schedule and how many class days and weekends we miss. Although it has been a sacrifice, it has been totally worth it. Also, my own experience on the team over the last four years has taught me so much about discipline, work ethic and overcoming obstacles. I had surgery three of the four years I′ve been here (two on the knee and one on the foot) and I′ve spent so much time in the training room it′s almost ridiculous. But I proved something to myself and tried to prove to my teammates that you can fight through anything. I learned that you have to look at things like that as just minor setbacks. I also learned how deep my love for volleyball really is.

How else has volleyball touched you?
I coached a girls’ travel team here in Memphis in the spring for two years, and I absolutely loved it. Coaching taught me even more about work ethic and it gave me huge insights into how I may want to coach in the future. It also prepared me for my work with child psychology. Volleyball has truly influenced almost every part of my life since I′ve been at Rhodes.

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Dorothy Wharton May 10, 2010

Small world story:  our daughter is a Rhodes alum; our granddaughter will be a Rhodes senior in the fall.  When I went online to find out when commencement is this year, I found Alex.  Although I have never met her, she is the granddaughter of one of my closest high school friends...a Chicago high school.   I was delighted and impressed to read of Alex′ accomplishments.  Congratulations and best wishes for continued success!

Wendy Taliaferro April 13, 2010

Great read!