Alice Lowy has known since she was young that she wanted to be a clinical psychologist, and she gives credit largely to her love of movies. “For whatever reason, I was drawn to movies about the therapeutic relationship and intriguing human behavior. I fell in love with the idea of being able to reach an individual who was in every other sense unreachable.”
This idea inspired her to pursue a degree in Psychology, beginning with a BA from Kenyon College, followed by an MA in Psychology from Boston University. Before beginning her PhD program, Lowy volunteered in Northeastern’s Applied Psychology Program for Eating and Appearance Research (APPEAR) Lab. There she got to work with Dr. Rachel Rodgers, who would go on to become her doctoral advisor. “Her mentorship throughout has meant so much,” she says, “I think working with her and her research team is what drew me to Northeastern, honestly.”
While at Northeastern, Lowy has split her time between clinical work in Boston area hospitals and her research, which is focused on eating disorder prevention. “For a lot of my clinical training, I sought out training sites that had a community-based setting, and I found myself gravitating towards working primarily with children and adolescents. That paralleled my research interests in early identification and prevention – warning signs tend to present most often in adolescence.”
“My research particularly looks at socio-cultural risk factors for populations that are often under-represented,” Lowy explains, “What I am particularly focused on is studying the internalization of beauty ideals in black women and identifying early warning signs for disordered eating, because they tend to be one of the least represented populations in eating disorder research and treatment.”
“I had to ask myself a lot of questions about what it means to be doing this research as a white woman, and how to conduct this research in a sensitive and culturally informed manner,” says Lowy, “It’s involved a lot of consulting with colleagues and checking in with myself about the implications, to make sure that I am giving a voice to a population that is often unheard across the board, and in this field in particular.”
Currently on track to complete her doctorate in 2020, Lowy is looking forward to beginning internships at McLean Hospital’s Adolescent Residential Track, and at Aspire Health Alliance in Quincy, MA. Once she completes her PhD, she hopes to continue her research and clinical work with children and families in a community-focused setting.