Dr. Andrew Heckman’s
clinical hours have
doubled since last fall, but
he still makes time to train
interns. “If I got away from
that…I’m not sure I’d feel
as fulfilled,” he says.
By making changes to her
syllabi and gaining confidence
behind the lectern, Dr. Rachel
Casas thinks her second year
as a professor will be easier.
“I know what I’m getting into,”
commute from Long Beach, Calif., to Ventura. Now she lives
just a 12-minute drive from her job. “I love it,” she says.
Andrew Heckman, PhD, 30
Since Heckman began his role as a staff psychologist at Boys
Town in Omaha, Neb., in October, the pace of his work and life
has accelerated. He sees about 25 clients — including children,
adolescents and families — each week in the outpatient
behavioral center. That’s double his initial load.
“I’ve learned as much in the past seven months as in my
whole grad school career,” such as how to tailor treatments to
patients of different ages and how to set work-life boundaries,
Heckman’s relationship with the facility’s seven interns
has also changed. At first, he participated in their didactic
trainings and informally mentored them. Now, he’s running
some trainings and directly supervising one intern. Heckman
even wrote his first letter of recommendation for an intern — a
“surreal” moment, he says.
Heckman’s personal life is also at a peak: He married his
wife, Stacey, a 911 dispatcher-turned-tattoo artist, in May.
Heckman says that at first he took on too much at his job
— signing up for community advocacy groups, conference
presentations and new committees on top of a full caseload. But
he doesn’t question his decision to take this job. He’s seen “vast
improvements” in patients of all ages — from 4-year-olds with
bedwetting problems to 19-year-olds working to control their
“The positive impact I’ve made confirms the choice to come
to Boys Town,” he says.
Kimberly Smith, PsyD, 33
Smith entered the field of psychology because she hates being
bored. Now, as a postdoctoral fellow at Cedars-Sinai Medical
Center in Los Angeles, she is getting what she wished for.
Smith spends about 30 percent of her time on research.
This July, she is beginning to recruit participants for her study
investigating HIV-medication adherence among underserved
populations through a grant to Johns Hopkins University.
“I’m excited because what that will do is pave the way to
get independent federal funding,” says Smith, who had little
experience with research before beginning her fellowship. “I’m