Student Name: Sarah Clingan
Program: Joint Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Resesearch on Substance Use
Expected Graduation: 2019
What made you decide to enroll the Joint Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Research on Substance Use?
I was finishing my Master’s Degree in psychology at California State University, Long Beach when I received an email stating a new program in substance use was starting the Fall of 2015. Prior to receiving the email, I had been vigorously researching Ph.D. programs and had recently concluded that I wanted to apply for a program in substance use that did not exist. My research and work experience have always centered around substance use and my desire was to complete a Ph.D. that specifically addressed substance use and the consequences of substance use. When I opened the email describing the program, I was struck by how well the program fit my interests. I worked as a drug and alcohol counselor for 10 years, and had been conducting research in the field of addiction for four years at the time that I applied for enrollment into the joint doctoral program (JDP). The JDP is clearly a perfect fit for my interests and background.
What work are you currently doing while in the JDP program?
I am currently working with a faculty member recruiting, collecting data, and writing up results for a study aimed at learning more about the opiate overdose epidemic. Both qualitative and quantitative types of data are being collected to better understand the transition from opiate pill use to the use of heroin and/or injection drug use. In addition, I am completing a qualitative paper on female sex traders who inject drugs in Tijuana Mexico.
What have been your most memorable experience in the school?
My most memorable experience at SDSU was a trip that was taken in 2017 to a treatment center in Tijuana Mexico. I heard stories about men who where deported from the United States. Drug addiction and alcoholism was a major theme in these stories before deportation, after deportation, or a combination of both. These experiences help me understand the global problem of drug addiction.
What are your plans after graduation?
My plans after graduation will include postdoctoral training at UCLA, in their integrated substance abuse program. I plan to complete one to two years of training and then seek an academic appointment at a university. My primary goal is to obtain research funding that will enable me to continue my research on the opiate overdose epidemic.
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