Staff Spotlight: Brandy Smith
For some people, work is about simply going through the motions and getting a paycheck. But for Brandy Smith, Student Counseling & Psychological Services assistant director of clinical training, work is not just work- it’s a chance to make a difference every day and shape the lives of those she supervises.
Making a difference for Smith included helping launch a doctoral internship program, an initiative SCPS had been wanting to tackle for years.
“Talks of starting an internship program had been going on for about 20 years,” says Smith. “In 2015, we began the process of making this dream a reality, with support from the university’s Mental Health Task Force.”
Smith explains that the Mental Health Task Force, an alliance of a students, staff and faculty dedicated to addressing mental health on Auburn’s campus, played an integral role in facilitating the process of starting the program.
Working closely with SCPS Director Doug Hankes, Smith began taking the steps necessary to launch the internship program. First and foremost, Smith worked to secure APPIC membership and become APA-accredited. The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) is the entity that works with the National Match Program to place psychology doctoral students in internships. The American Psychological Program (APA) grants accreditation status to internship programs that show commitment to quality and continuous improvement.
While today’s internship program is accredited, this was not the case during the 2017-2018 academic year, when SCPS began recruiting its first internship class. The challenge lay in securing interns without being listed as an APPIC member. Smith put in extra work to ensure that the program launched with success.
“We were able to fill our 2019 class, which is a statistical anomaly,” explains Smith. “Having a full cohort allows us to be more selective with our candidates.”
Smith says her favorite part of the process has been seeing all of her efforts come to fruition.
“The staff has wanted this program for so long, so it’s really been fulfilling to see that happen,” she says. “I always want to contribute to the field and to help train and supervise, so this has been a rewarding experience for me. There are a lot of great people here.”
Passing on professional knowledge to the interns is important to Smith. The internship program places a heavy emphasis on diversity, self-reflection and professionalism.
“Incorporating diversity initiatives into our curriculum is important,” she says, “because the message will continue to be shared, so it branches off and continues to have a positive impact.”
Doctoral intern Joshua McLaughlin describes Smith as a compassionate supervisor with a talent for empowering others.
“Dr. Smith carries herself with openness and compassion, and she is dedicated to making this internship a growth-promoting experience,” McLaughlin says. “I really appreciate her emphasis on approaching diversity concerns with curiosity and humility. Her passion has enhanced my own awareness of the challenges faced by persons with various identities as well as how to empower the voices of those who have been historically marginalized.”
Smith hopes the program continues to secure four interns each year and will continue to recruit a diverse applicant pool. Above all else, she is grateful for those who helped get this program off the ground.
“There were many people who played an instrumental role in getting this program up and running,” says Smith. “The president of the university, Doug Hankes and [Senior Vice President for Student Affairs] Bobby Woodard all worked within their offices and within Student Affairs to get this internship program started. I am very appreciative of the Auburn Family.”
For more information about the Doctoral Internship Program, contact the SCPS office at 334-844-5123.