A Path to Success

Headshot of Kim Rakiec
"My time at RWU taught me how to think analytically about research, how to collaborate with other professionals well, and to always ask for guidance and supervision from those more experienced and more knowledgeable in the field." - Kim Rakiec

Kim Rakiec, RWU Class of 2013

Forensic & Legal Psychology
Alumni

Kim Rakiec graduated with a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology degree in 2013. Now, she works as a clinical supervisor at the Seven Hills Foundation, an organization that provides support to children and adults with disabilities and significant life challenges. 

Rakiec recently reflected on the ways her RWU experience prepared her for this meaningful career. 

What at RWU made you know that your area of study was the right one for you?

When I was in my practicum, I had the dynamic experience of working for a psychologist at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center, where I was able to gain the experience of conducting research, case managing, and co-running a clinical group.  The breadth of this practicum experience was better than I could have imagined. 

What would you say are the top 3 things RWU taught you?

My time at RWU taught me how to think analytically about research, how to collaborate with other professionals well, and to always ask for guidance and supervision from those more experienced and more knowledgeable in the field. 

What at RWU prepared you for the position you have now?

I was offered a Research Assistantship where I worked alongside Frank DiCataldo, Professor of Psychology.  I had the opportunity to observe forensic evaluation and support the editing of forensic evaluations. My assistantship experience observing evaluations prepared me for the framework of conducting clinical assessments and drafting a report, in relation to gathering background information from various sources, presenting families with assessments to complete, and preparing a comprehensive report to present to my leadership team.  The breadth of tasks I was taught at the Research Center prepared me for the range of tasks that my current position requires, including conducting Functional Behavior Assessments, ABAS-3 assessments, and calculating data that is documented by our Direct Support Providers to provide results that represent clients’ progress on their treatment goals. 

What are some recent projects you’re working on? 

Other than supporting the two programs that I supervise within the Child & Family Services department, I am currently supporting a new project where the implementation of a new software program that will be used by my peers is underway.  In this program, I am working with a team of liaisons between the software developer and our department in order to help build the software to fit our department’s needs.

What do you like about your job? 

I love the opportunity to hire and train paraprofessionals to work one-one-one with our clients in the client’s natural environments, where they need support the most.  I love the opportunity to support these newly-hired staff in the beginning of their careers and assist them in navigating their path as they determine their own strengths and passions.  I am honored to work with clients each and every day, and to be able to support them in determining what kinds of care will best benefit their unique individual needs.

What is an RWU moment you will never forget? 

I will never forget enjoying a group dinner with Dr. Zaitchik at the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2012.  I had the opportunity to sit and eat an authentic Puerto Rican meal with peers from my cohort and a man that I very much admire for his passion for his work and expertise in the field.  I encourage students to take part in opportunities to acquire additional information and networking through conferences such as this; it can certainly be enriching.