Scroll to top

IMU Psychology Alumnus Pursues her Masters in USA

26 Oct 2015

Psychology alumnus, Shobana Murugiah graduated with her degree from International Medical University (IMU) in September 2013 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Psychology at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago. Prior to her Masters, she worked as a shadow aid/ABA therapist to a child with autism in an international school. Among her responsibilities included helping the child to integrate with the mainstream education system besides conducting one on one therapy after-school programmes to help the child to adapt better in an inclusive environment. She considers that experience to be one her most worthwhile and fulfilling one.

“When you work with a child with special needs, you are not only working with the child alone but you have to integrate the parents and teachers in the picture, to be able to come up with the best way possible to maximize the child’s potential”.

12027764_10206999891371923_1507399305906761428_n She then began her Masters in August this year in Chicago. “It’s definitely a huge and difficult move on my part especially to leave the comfort of home. However, pursuing my masters in the USA has always been a dream of mine and I am grateful to have been accepted into a stellar programme. The teaching style is completely different from what it was back in undergraduate level and every single day is spent learning something new and absorbing the culture that I chose to immerse myself in. I was happy to contribute elements of my South East Asian culture in class and in return, I am exposed to a myriad of knowledge here in Chicago.” One of the things she appreciated the most in IMU was the fact that she had lecturers who constantly encouraged and supported her throughout the programme.

“I was always encouraged and made comfortable enough to ask questions. The professors were never one to shy away to help me with whatever that was needed and most of them went an extra mile to make sure I was on track. I was able to consult them and their openness was something I will always treasure. It was definitely them who instilled the hope and deepened the passion in me to continue my further studies in this particular field.”

Upon graduating, Shobana, with the help of her IMU supervisor was able to successfully publish her research on the “Comparative Study on Attitudes and Psychological Problems of Mothers towards Children with Developmental Disability” in the East Asian Archive of Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal. Her topic of research was heavily influenced by her internship period in 2012, where she worked in a school that was catered to children and adolescence with special needs. 150436_10151630877834575_496747337_n541875_10151630878049575_1072217196_n While she was in IMU, she was selected to be a panel member for a Continuous Medical Education forum on the topic of “Depression amongst Youth” during IMU’s Mental Health Week. During this forum, she held discussions with other panel members who were made up psychiatrists as well as clinical counsellors with regards to depression and its awareness amongst Malaysians, especially the younger generation. One of her biggest career dream is to work with women and children who have gone through abuse of any form as this is something she can relate to on a personal level. She would especially like to narrow her focus down to those who come from an underprivileged background and are unequipped with dealing with the aftermath of the abuse and are least likely to come out and seek help. Apart from that, part of her career plans include raising the awareness and the importance of mental health in the Asian region. She plans to do so by targeting and working with youths who are undergoing self-esteem issues, eating disorders, bullying and other issues pertaining mental health, as she truly believe that they are more receptive and will then create a flow of awareness for many generations to come. “Sadly enough, mental illness remains one of the most taboo topics in the Asian region and this is one of the main reasons that I chose to pursue this field-to be able to raise the awareness that mental health is just as important as physical health” 1186064_10201864432669875_517726040_n “I definitely have family and friends who have been nothing short of supportive throughout my entire journey in and out of IMU. IMU was the stepping stone to where I am today and I am glad to have done my undergraduate degree there.” Being in her programme currently in Chicago, Shobana is currently drawn to the multicultural and diversity perspective of psychology. She has recently joined the ICAS (International Cultural Awareness Support group) in her university as part of understanding diversity as well as raising the cultural awareness while being in the Master’s programme. “Despite coming from a multiracial country like Malaysia, I am still intrigued and surprise at the plethora of cultures that I am exposed to here in the USA and it is my responsibility as a future clinical to be constantly culturally aware as I will be facing clients from different walks of life in the future.”

“I’m in a constant state of gratitude and awe that I am finally able to pursue my Masters in the field that I am very passionate about. IMU has definitely provided me with the building blocks to do so. That coupled with the faith my sponsor, family and friends have given me will constantly be a push for me to pursue this field with confidence and resilience. I look forward to the difference I’ll be able to make in this field in time to come.”

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published.