Alumna Spotlight

Kate Homan (Behavioral Health MS '15) discusses her position as a forensic interviewer  

croppedhomanWhen others hear I’m the Forensic Interviewer and Systems Coordinator at the New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center (NOCAC), often images of Law and Order SVU crime scenes enter their heads. Although my job is not like Olivia Benson’s, it does entail talking to children who are victims and witnesses of crime. It is my purpose to elicit reliable disclosures through the use of non-leading questioning, without blaming or shaming the parties involved.

So how did I get here? With an affinity for working with children, I started interning at the NOCAC in the spring of 2013. I could see how unwaveringly the staff cared for the children who came to the NOCAC and how passionately they advocated for the prevention of child abuse. My supervisor, Stacie Leblanc, presented me with a task to create and disseminate Dear Parents; a research based social media campaign to shift norms surrounding physical discipline. I was able to combine my creative side and my solid foundation in psychological research to join in the movement to keep children safe. By the time I graduated Tulane in 2014, I realized I also wanted to help the children that were walking through the doors of the NOCAC, and that my psychology background would help me do just that. It was then that I became a forensic interviewer.

In my first year as an interviewer, I was also completing my M.S. in behavioral health at Tulane. My unique experience in the behavioral health program prepared me for both inside and out of the interviewing room. In real time, I was able to link what I was learning in my courses to my experiences at the NOCAC. The behavioral health program built a solid foundation to provide trauma-informed care, while building an understanding of the interaction between mental and physical health. It allowed me to more effectively work with diverse populations, through gaining awareness of the complex systems in which individuals function and communicate more effectively to children and caregivers. These skills translate beyond working with victims and caregivers, molding me into a productive member and advocate of my multidisciplinary. Looking back, I would not hold the position I do, let alone be in the child abuse prevention field, if I hadn’t attended Tulane. As I look forward, I know Tulane will continue to provide me with and prepare me for opportunities throughout my professional career.

Department of Psychology • 2007 Percival Stern Hall • New Orleans, LA 70118 • Phone: 504-865-5331 •