Sarah Spafford is an alumnus of Griffith’s Master of Suicidology. In her own words, she recounts her journey as an international student and learning from her lived experiences.

I grew up in San Diego, California and then spent my college and early career years in Los Angeles. During that time period, I tragically lost a friend of mine to suicide and knew that my life was forever changed. A passion was ignited within me to work towards no family ever having to experience the pain of that loss again. In college, I was connected with professors and mentors that allowed me to start exploring research questions I had around suicidality, which grew my interest in the field. During that period, I had stumbled upon the Master of Suicidology at Griffith but didn’t think it was going to be possible for me to attend.

However, about a year after graduation, I reached out to the program director and the next thing I knew I was starting the Master degree just a few weeks later.

I chose the degree because it is unique, the only one in the world. There is no other place on earth that you can get a master’s degree specifically focusing on suicidology.

I knew this program would be a launching point for me to dive further into research on suicidality. After graduation with the Masters, I spent a couple of years working at the state of Wyoming as an Intentional Injury Prevention Coordinator, focusing on suicide prevention.

I am currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Oregon in Prevention Science with a focus on suicide prevention. I entered into this program about 6 months after completing my masters. I had several different jobs throughout my master’s, one of which was working at the State of Wyoming Public Health Department as the Intentional Injury Prevention Coordinator. There, I worked with communities on implementing suicide prevention initiatives that fit their needs.