Human Development and Social Intervention

Alumni in Action

Juliana Karras-Jean Gilles
MA, Human Development and Social Intervention
PhD Candidate, CUNY
Manhattan, New York, United States

“I chose Steinhardt for the opportunities for research activities at a community level in real-world settings.”


What led you to pursue graduate degrees in this program?

My undergraduate training took a predominantly clinical orientation, however as I refined my interests I was very drawn to an emphasis in an applied psychology approach. In my coursework at Steinhardt, I appreciated the emphasis on the role of context and culture within development and intervention work.

What do you enjoy most about your PHD program? What do you find most challenging?

I enjoy the depth and breadth of my coursework, as well as the intimate settings in our classes that make for great and challenging discussion. Throughout these experiences I have the opportunity to be challenged to develop my theoretical framework and stance on a myriad of issues, which is useful as I continue to develop my identity as a scholar and researcher.

The primary challenge is balancing my multiple commitments—in addition to being a doctoral student, I also work part-time with the NYU Steinhardt Child & Family Policy Center as a Junior Research Scientist.

How do you feel your experience at Steinhardt prepared you for your PhD program?

The research experience I gained through my time at Steinhardt prepared me very well for my doctoral program. For example, I have a solid understanding of how to develop and execute a research project, which is a critical skill within a doctoral program where it is up to the student to take ownership in developing their research ideas and completing a complex project.

Kelly O'Connor
MA, Human Development and Social Intervention
Grants Specialist at The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
Orangeburg, New York, United States

“My job is very fast-paced, detail-oriented, with the potential for a huge award at the end of what can often feel like a race.”


What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I assist investigators in finding new funding opportunities and help them put together a proposal for funding in a very short amount of time. My job is very fast-paced, detail-oriented, with the potential for a huge award at the end of what can often feel like a race.

What made you choose Steinhardt's HDSI Master's program?

Steinhardt’s Human Development and Social Intervention program, more affectionately called “HDSI,” because it combined my interest in research with the potential for real-world application in intervention programs.

How did your time at Steinhardt prepare you for your job best?

In my final semester, I was taking one of our program’s last required courses and discovered that I was really interested in, and quite good, at grant work. Although I had originally been interested in either conducting research or working in a more business-type research setting (i.e., marketing research), I decided to pursue potential opportunities to utilize my grant work skill set. I can see parallels between what I learned in the classroom and my work at NKI. I believe that NYU equipped me with the necessary skills, be it psychology, grant work, research, writing, interpersonal, or anything else you can name, to be successful in any career within any field, and I was just fortunate to find a fit for myself at NKI.