Julie CunninghamJulie Cunningham holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and works at the prestigious Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. And while these are the kind of accomplishments she dreamed of while growing up in a small town at the northernmost tip of Lake George, Julie is still inclined to feel wonder that she was able to make her dreams come true.

But talking to Julie, it’s apparent she’s long had a pretty good sense of who she is. For example, she chose Sage because she knew she wanted and needed “a close-knit community with a tradition of a strong student-faculty connection.”

It was that very connection that would eventually help Julie get to the next level.

As a junior, eager to advance her prospects of achieving a career in Clinical Psychology, she worked with her Sage professors to earn a spot as a research assistant at RPI.

“Sometimes people have this idea that at a small school you have limited opportunities,” Julie says. “But I had such supportive professors. They worked hard to help me get what I needed. They were dedicated to teaching, and just as dedicated to creating experiences. They used their resources and connections to help place me where I needed to be.”

And while Julie ended up being valedictorian of the class of 2008, this wasn’t a case of all work and no play. She was a founding member of the community service organization Circle K, did a semester abroad in Ireland, and was an avid runner.

But it’s the help she got in achieving her career goals that Julie returns to as she recalls her Sage experience.

“I love what I’m doing today,” she says. “Sage is the place where I grew in confidence. It’s where I was prepared to succeed at a research university’s Ph.D. program. It was a critical launching point in my life. It shaped so much of what I do.”