After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rachel Piszczor was sure that she wanted to continue her education. She grew up near Chicago, Illinois, not far from Milwaukee, and saw graduate school as an opportunity to gain new experiences in a different part of the country. She researched doctoral degree programs in Clinical Psychology, and settled on Argosy University, Washington D.C.
“The program focused on clinical training as a top priority, which was important to me,” she said. “I love northern Virginia, and felt the area offered good opportunities. In addition, several faculty members displayed an interest in pediatric/health psychology, which matched well with my own plans. I looked forward to being mentored by people who had worked in the field I wanted to enter.”
During her time at the Washington D.C. campus, Dr. Piszczor kept an eye toward attaining the future she envisioned. “I volunteered at a hospital to gain experience in working with the patient population, and did two practica experiences at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore,” she said.
Today, Dr. Piszczor works as a Pediatric Psychologist at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago – the only facility in the country dedicated solely to caring for children with lifelong illnesses, disabilities, or those that have been abused or neglected. She supervises pediatric psychology interns, and helps chronically ill children cope with issues of depression, anxiety, and pain management, among others. Her focus encompasses entire families as she helps them manage care at home and deal with the effects of chronic illness.
”It can be difficult at times. You have to find ways to manage your own emotional reaction to the work and take steps to keep yourself healthy. I love working with the children and families, and the daily interaction with physicians, physical therapists, and many different types of professionals,” she said. “When I’m not working, I like to spend time with my family and friends. They are very important to me, and good for my peace of mind.”
While at the, Washington D.C. campus, Dr. Piszczor served as vice president and president of the Student Government Association. “It gave me the opportunity to serve in a leadership role, and interact with faculty and students from a different perspective, which has made me a stronger professional,” Rachel said. Of her time at Argosy University Rachel said, “I felt a great sense of preparedness as I applied for practicum and intern opportunities. I was well prepared for my clinical experiences, and that work prepared me well for the future.”