Student Spotlight November 2015

Jenn Altman

Jenn attended the University of Northern Colorado for her undergraduate education. She graduated from UNC with a triple major in Psychology, Exercise Physiology, and Social Psychological Perspectives on Sport & Exercise.  Following her undergraduate career Jenn earned her Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), as well as earning personal training certificates through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).  She worked for a couple of years in various health/fitness settings and spent two years as the head assistant coach of women’s basketball at California State University Bakersfield. Jenn then returned to school and earned her Master’s degree in Kinesiology at California State University Long Beach. During her time at CSULB she worked in the Neuroimaging and Addiction Research Laboratory at the VA Long Beach on projects utilizing fMRI and biomarkers, examining contextual interference in learning/memory, and on imagery in spinal cord injury populations. Following her time at CSULB she spent a number of years continuing her work in health/fitness interventions in various settings, including corporate wellness, gyms, athletic teams, and outdoor fitness/adventure. In preparation for her application to doctoral programs in clinical psychology, Jenn returned to research as a project manager at the University of Colorado Denver overseeing multiple studies in HIV prevention and harm reduction in injection drug use. During her time in this position she had the opportunity to travel to the Ukraine as part of the start-up team for a networking intervention with injection drug users.  Jenn is now a third year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Louisville.

"Jenn Altman is a true delight to have in our doctoral program. She brings enthusiasm, hard work, passion, and generosity to her work with her clients, peers, and supervisors. We were thrilled when she decided to train at UofL and look forward to all the great work she is going to do throughout her career!" - Dr. Janet Woodruff-Borden, Professor and Director of Clinical Training

Interview:

1. What brought you to the University of Louisville?

I chose the University of Louisville for the opportunity to study with Drs. Paul Salmon and Sandie Sephton as a member of the Mindfulness and Biobehavioral Health Research Lab. My research     interest in mindfulness-based interventions and the associated psychophysiology and biobehavioral mechanisms of health, well-being and quality of life drew me to this lab. The excellence of the clinical psychology program in general was also a draw, and the quality of life   Louisville offers sealed the deal for me!

2. Long term goals/ aspirations:

My future plans involve conducting research developing innovative clinical applications, with a focus on the interplay between the psychosocial and physiological elements, specifically associated with mindfulness, the body and movement. This interplay is the thread that ties together my diverse studies and experiences in mindfulness, clinical psychology and kinesiology/physiology. My professional aspirations are to conduct clinical research in academic and medical settings, combining mindfulness, behavioral, and movement interventions to examine both psychosocial and physiological outcomes.

3. What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

One of the greatest challenges of graduate school is balancing time and responsibilities at school and home. I have found it incredibly important to remain a whole person, not solely a graduate student. This requires very intentionally creating space and time for the people and activities that bring me joy – for me this has been participating in meditation retreats and spending time with friends and family in outdoor adventures such as backcountry yurt trips, snowshoeing, cycling and hiking, as well as regular doses of live music and good food!


Fun Facts
A talent you have always wanted: To successfully take on parkour.
Favorite book: I have to choose just one? This is an impossible question to answer. I am drawn to memoirs due to my fascination with how people tell their stories and derive meaning from life. I also love poetry.
Favorite quote: "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Howard Thurman
Role Model: Pema Chodron--for her embodiment of authenticity and selfless action.
Favorite Vacation Destination: Anywhere in the great outdoors!
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? I would be backpacking the Via Alpina.