Alumna Kathleen carterMartinez Credits John Jay for A Holistic Education

Alumna Kathleen carterMartinez Credits John Jay for A Holistic Education

Alumna Kathleen carterMartinez Credits John Jay for A Holistic Education

Alumna Dr. Kathleen carterMartinez is a testament to the interdisciplinary power of a John Jay education. In the early ‘80s, she was working as a radiology technician at a hospital, and had an associate’s degree in law enforcement. She was looking to enroll in a program where she could satisfy her interest in healthcare as well as in criminal justice, but her search was getting her nowhere. “I was consistently told that the kind of program I wanted didn’t exist,” she says. “And I believed that until I found John Jay.”

As an older professional working full-time, carterMartinez wasn’t the typical undergraduate student, but that didn’t prevent her from becoming completely immersed in her John Jay classes in forensic psychology. When she graduated in 1985, she continued her education in clinical psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson and did her practicum in a hospital emergency room as part of a crisis intervention team. carterMartinez, who knew that law enforcement officers often did the work of first responders, was excited to apply what she had learned at John Jay in the hospital setting.

“At John Jay, there was a recognition that certain issues like addiction or mental health couldn’t be understood unless we made connections between psychology and law enforcement,” she said. “When I was working in psychiatric emergency services, I made those connections, and I became the forensic specialist for crisis calls from local prisons and jails.”

carterMartinez went on to receive her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University and has continued to work with different communities that struggle with mental illness and trauma. One of the positions she is most proud of holding was on the Passamaquoddy Native American reservation in Maine, where she became the Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. As director, she worked with law enforcement and emergency services agencies in order to create holistic responses to mental health issues.

Now, carterMartinez works at the CheyWind Center for Trauma and Healing, and she has synthesized all that she’s learned in a new book titled Permission Granted: The Journey from Trauma to Healing. carterMartinez, who is also a certified rape crisis and sexual assault counselor and has taught classes at SUNY Plattsburgh in the Gender and Women’s Studies and Psychology departments, hopes that the book can serve as a resource for clinicians to better understand the experience of trauma following sexual assault. She also proposes new ways for the legal system to interact with survivors of traumatic events. “We expect that if someone hurt you, you will want to put them in jail. But the reality is that’s not a choice for everyone,” she said. “We need to respect those individual choices.”

carterMartinez is delighted to see that John Jay continues to be a leader in justice, and especially in forensic psychology. She reflects on her John Jay experience fondly, and even remembers waiting in line for the payphone in Haaren Hall. “Whenever I got an ‘A’ I would call my parents,” she said. “John Jay helped me go in the direction I wanted to go in. I was always excited about my work.”