While in college at Washington University in St. Louis, Justine was asked during an interview to describe what empathy meant and looked like to her. Her answer, quickly scribbled in a few short lines, went something like this- empathy looks like two people sharing a space of vulnerability, clear of judgment and open to honesty, where one listens intently and the other shares their story unabashedly. To me empathy gives way to genuine connection between individuals and builds upon a foundation based on mutual trust, compassion and understanding for another’s experience, though it may be radically different from one’s own. Justine went on to become a peer counselor at the university’s mental health peer resource and counseling center where she was trained to address a wide range of mental health topics. She loved this experience and continued serving the community for 3 years. Her desire to help others in this way stems from her immigrant background where she learned how both cultural and structural barriers in today’s society often lend themselves to unequal access and/or inadequate mental health care. Justine graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with minors in Anthropology: Global Health and the Environment and Spanish. Her personal background and the sincere joy she feels when supporting others both in their struggles and successes led her to join the Cerebral team. During her pastime, she enjoys hiking, volunteering at local clinics and reading a good book in an open-field park.
You are imperfect and wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging. - Brené Brown