Newsletter Article

Research Fellow Studies Suicide Intervention

Erin Ward-Ciesielski is an Adult Clinical student studying with Marsha Linehan. She recently received a predoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Mental Health for her project "Brief Skills Training for Suicidal Individuals." A brief introduction of the NRSA is provided in another article.

Let's start with the basics, where are you from and where did you complete undergraduate and masters degrees?

I'm from South Bend, Indiana, and did my undergrad work at Indiana University South Bend.

How did you wind up at UW--why did you apply here? What do you think about living in Seattle?

UW was one of the few places that would let me do research on suicide, so it was an easy decision to apply here.

What is your research interest and how did you get into it (what inspires/motivates you)?

I study suicide, specifically developing and evaluating interventions for suicidal individuals.  My interest in the field began in undergrad when, in my 101 class, I filled out a questionnaire about facts and myths related to suicide and became incredibly excited about the topic.  Later that night I found out that a friend from high school killed himself and there was really no turning back after that.

How did you learn about your funding opportunity and tell us about the application and waiting process?

The application process was very prolonged.  Each step after deciding to apply and then submitting involved waiting for some period of time.  The most stressful delay was between finding out my score and finding out the actual funding decision three months later.

How did you feel when you learned that your application was accepted and that you will receive two to three years of funding?

Relieved.  It felt like such a long wait and by that point I was ready to start the project instead of just talking and writing about it.

Do you have any advice/tips/suggestions for others who may apply to this opportunity? About graduate study in general?

Applying is definitely worth all the work and all the waiting.  The ability to devote a huge portion of your time to your own research program makes doing a large or complex project possible.

What do you hope to accomplish with the funding and/or while in the UW Psychology graduate program?

I'm running a randomized controlled trial for the project, so if I can accomplish that, it will be a success.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Watching TV, reading, walking

The last book and/or movie you saw and enjoyed?

Last movie: "In Time"

Last book: "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance," by Elna

What you plan to do once you complete your PhD?

I haven't entirely decided yet, but supervising and working with students will definitely be a part of it.

Supplemental Reading: