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5 Questions with Faculty: Jessica Martin

Clifton Park native Jessica Martin has been on the faculty at UAlbany, Division of Counseling Psychology, since 2011. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 18, 2018) — Jessica L. Martin is an assistant professor in the Division of Counseling Psychology in the School of Education. A native of Clifton Park, N.Y., Martin has an undergraduate degree at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and a master’s and Ph.D in counseling psychology from the University at Albany. She joined the faculty in Counseling Psychology in 2011 after completing her clinical internship at Counseling and Psychological Services at Penn State University.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on several exciting projects. One project is a training grant funded by Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that allows me to have a direct impact on the training of all graduate students in programs of professional psychology at the University at Albany. My co-PI and I are training students in Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), an empirically supported method for screening, preventing and intervening with substance use. Our intention is to increase mental health professionals’ ability to detect substance use among their clients/patients and skillfully act to prevent and treat substance use when necessary.

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Martin's favorite spot on campus is the patch of magnolia trees behind the PAC in May.

An exciting new area I am pursuing is the investigation of cultural and contextual factors that influence substance use among college students. This is a multisite project conducted at over a dozen universities across the US. Our aim is to uncover unique risk and protective factors influencing alcohol and drug use among racially and ethnically diverse students at different types of campuses, in different regions.

What made you decide to pursue your field?

I decided in high school to pursue psychology as an undergraduate major because I found the topic so fascinating. An undergraduate course in counseling psychology is what sparked my interest in the field. Through that course I was introduced to the application of psychological theory and science to real people. The idea that I could learn to help others with what I know about psychology using myself as a clinical tool hooked me.

My desire to become an academic, and particularly a faculty member who trains graduate students in counseling psychology, burgeoned while pursuing my doctoral degree because I realized by passion for research and teaching.

What was your first job?

At 15 years old I started my first of many food service jobs. I worked first at a pizza shop, then a bagel shop, and then on to a numerous restaurants where I worked as a server earning money for college and graduate school.

The interpersonal and time management skills that I learned from those jobs have been invaluable in my career. I always recommend food service as a great first job for that reason.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

The patch of magnolia trees between the Performing Arts Center and Biology building is my absolute favorite spot on campus in late spring. The trees are in full bloom towards the end of the semester in May.

What was the last book you read for pleasure?

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It’s an excellent, engaging, read.

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