Carter Lennon Graduate Student Success Story

Name: Carter Lennon
Doctoral Degree: University of Connecticut, Social Psychology (2013)
Master’s Degree: Central Connecticut State University, Health Psychology (2009)
Bachelor’s Degree: Eastern Connecticut State University, General Psychology (2007)

Background Information: Carter Lennon is currently the Internal Operations Manager for AIDS Connecticut, a nonprofit agency located in Hartford, CT. Carter obtained her PhD from UConn in 2013 in Social Psychology. Her dissertation was entitled: “Understanding Sexual Risk Perceptions and Behavior and AIDS Care Using the Network Individual Resource Model of HIV Prevention.” Carter is interested and committed to work surrounding HIV prevention and it is indicative in the work she does today. If you are interested in learning about the agency Carter works for, you can find the link below:
http://aids-ct.org/

The Mission of AIDS Connecticut: “In partnership with its member agencies, to improve the lives of people impacted by HIV through care and supportive services, housing, advocacy and prevention.” AIDS Connecticut provides HIV/HCV counseling and testing, syringe exchange, overdose prevention education, naloxone distribution, case management, medication adherence and nutritional counseling, financial assistance and much more!

Describe your Research Interests:
“My research interests are broadly related to HIV prevention and treatment and factors surrounding opioid overdose. I am also interested in the reduction of disease burden as a result of the provision of basic needs (e.g., housing, food, healthcare).”

What is the biggest reason why you chose your field of study?:
“Like many Psychologists, I am interested in helping to solve issues faced by the world. I want to understand the social factors surrounding HIV and use that knowledge to help individuals prevent disease transmission, manage the disease, and lead healthful lives.”

Who has been the biggest influence on your career-related decisions during your time in graduate school?:
“My most influential mentor at UConn was Dr. Seth C. Kalichman, the advisor for the NIH Social Processes of AIDS Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Program. He encouraged fellows to become well-rounded not only in terms of subject matter, but to explore different types of career options outside of academia. Seth encouraged me to do what felt right for me and not to follow others’ expectations of what career path I should choose.”

Describe your role in your current job. What do your daily tasks consist of?:
“As Internal Operations Manager, I consult with program managers to assist with program management, carry out HR functions, provide quality management, write grants and develop policies and procedures.”

Did you have any internships during your time as a UConn graduate student that were useful to the job you have now?:
“I did not participate in a formal internship while at UConn; however, I (along with other NIH Social Processes of AIDS fellows) collaborated with a local HIV housing organization to scan the HIV housing climate. This experience allowed me to build relationships with agencies that my organization works with today.”

What advice would you give to current UConn graduate students who are looking to go into the same field?:
“Advice I would give current UConn graduate students who are looking to go into the same field is not to overlook smaller nonprofit agencies when searching for a job. Nonprofits can really benefit from utilizing the knowledge. Nonprofits can really benefit from utilizing the knowledge and skills graduate students possess. You can have a much larger impact on communities in need when working locally.”

 

By Sydney Carr
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