Student Experience: Presenting at the Cultural Competency Conference

Students, faculty, psychologists, and community members are invited to submit proposals to present at the 2nd Annual Cultural Competency Conference that will be held May 1, 2020 at MSP. Proposals will be accepted through February 1, 2020. 

Cassidy Slade (PsyD 3) was on a team who presented “Counseling Jewish Americans in the Age of the Alt Right” with Evan MacAdams (PsyD 3) and Adam Duberstein (PsyD 3) at last year’s CCC. She shares her experience below.

Growing up in a rural community in Genesee County, the opportunity to interact with and learn about cultures different than my own was miniscule.

It wasn’t until I began attending a large undergraduate university in Pennsylvania that I had the opportunity to immerse myself in different cultures, forming friendships and having interactions with individuals from numerous locations across the world. Befriending individuals from across the world made me realize just how different individuals are, and I sought out opportunities to learn even more about these differences.

As a first-year doctoral student at MSP, I remember being excited to take the Multicultural class. While I learned a great deal about different cultures during my undergraduate experience, I was aware that there was an immense amount of knowledge regarding different cultures that I strived to obtain.

This class opened my eyes not only to different cultures, customs, and norms, but also the inherent amount of privilege many people, including myself, have. It was what I learned throughout this class, and my constant motivation to learn more about different cultures, that drove and motivated me to present at the CCC in May 2019.

Prior to presenting at this conference, I was remember experiencing varying levels of anxiety, fear, and worry. I was aware that I would be discussing a culture that was different than my own and I was fearful that I was going to leave out important pieces of information. I wanted to speak about and present on this culture in an appropriate way. I was also fearful of what other conference attendees would be thinking if I was presenting on a culture that I am not part of. 

While I was experiencing these different emotional reactions, presenting at the CCC was incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. I was able to not only learn about how to work with individuals from different cultures, but I was also able to hear others experiences and reactions to being part of the culture my group was presenting on.

After presenting, I remember feeling an immense sense of empowerment, fulfillment, and pride—feelings I continue to hold onto.

Leaving the CCC after hearing others present about different cultures provided me with a sense of hope and excitement—particularly due to the number of individuals also interested in learning more about cultures different than their own. The CCC is crucial for current and future psychologists and psychotherapists to learn about working with individuals from cultures different than their own.

Everyone comes from a culture, and while the extent to which they adhere to their cultural values, norms, and customs exists on a spectrum, it is still crucial for us to know about their culture and be versed on the various ways one’s culture may be impacting their current functioning.

At the end of the day, we are all different. We come from different backgrounds, have different experiences, and look at the world in different ways.

I believe that is both crucial and necessary to continue learning about others’ cultures, and the CCC is a phenomenal way to do this.

Cassidy Slade is a third year doctoral student at MSP.

If you are interested in presenting at this year’s CCC conference, find all the information you need to apply, including examples, here.

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