David Cicero is a new faculty member in UNT's Department of Psychology. He is a wonderful addition to our Tier One university!
Why did you decide to teach at UNT?
I spent the last seven years, since graduating from my PhD program, at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. It was an amazing experience in many aspects, including the opportunity to teach students from all over the world who brought a broad range of experiences and perspectives to lab meetings, class discussions, and clinical practicum. In Hawaii, I incorporated this diversity into my research, teaching, and clinical work with the community. UNT's diverse student body offers the opportunity for me to continue to grow and expand my work teaching and mentoring students from diverse backgrounds. The diversity of the greater community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will also allow me to expand my research into new populations.
In addition to working with students, I'm very excited about collaborating with my future colleagues in the Department of Psychology. My research focuses on the assessment of psychopathology (i.e., abnormal psychology), and the UNT faculty already have a major strength in this area. I'm looking forward to working in an environment with active, driven researchers who will challenge my ideas and help to move my research forward.
What do I bring to UNT that is new and different?
Recent research suggests that early identification and intervention for people at risk for the development of psychopathology. In Hawaii, I started OnTrack Hawaii, a specialty clinic for young people (aged 15-24) with a recent onset of psychosis. We provided medication management, individual therapy, family psychoeducation and support, case management, and supported education and employment. I'm excited about doing something similar at UNT, and getting graduate students involved in learning how to assess and treat young people with these types of issues. My research focuses on the assessment of risk for psychosis and recent onset psychosis, and I plan to continue this work at UNT.
What would I tell a student concerned about finding a job?
As a psychology instructor, I know that the knowledge and skills I teach are applicable to many different professions, because almost all occupations involve working with people. However, it can be very difficult to find a well-paying job working in the field of psychology with just a BA in psychology. For students interested in being a psychologist, I would recommend they think early in their undergraduate degree about graduate school options, and then tailor their experiences to those goals. Visit the psychology department website, and see if any of the professors are doing work that interests you. Then email to set up a meeting or drop by their office hours. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is working with undergraduate students who are interested in a career in psychology. I love hearing about students' prior experiences and how they became interested in psychology, especially because I am raising my daughters in the same community and they may be attending the same schools. Working closely with a professor, beginning in student's sophomore or junior years, can help to clarify goals and interests, and can also help with the eventual application for graduate school both with the experience, but also with recommendation letters. Getting an early start can make a big difference.