Snapshot: Gabrielle Conrad-Amlicke
Occupation: I started out at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) in Boston. I was doing a dual degree there at Tufts with psych. I was a sculpture major. My artistic thesis was always centered around psych, integrating how to get the audience to engage with art in a non-gallery type way. I wound up transferring and graduating from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. I did a Human Services degree there and took two classes in ecopsychology with Jeff Perrin that were inspiring.
Throughout my time in Boston, I worked at McLean Hospital and for Ellenhorn LLC. I worked a year post-grad as a therapeutic mentor and support for in-home family therapy.
I applied for my Master’s Degree at UConn and was accepted into the School of Social Work and am in the Macro Policy Practice concentration.
Family: My family is super nice and supportive. My dad, Gary Amlicke, is the type of guy that can fix everything or has inventive solutions to problems. My older sister, Heleyna Conrad, lives in Tucson, Ariz., and works with animals. She inspires me to be independent and always helps me to answer questions — she was a philosophy major, so our conversations are always super engaging. My younger brother, Christopher Amlicke, went through the Newtown school system. He works with his plumbing technology degree. He, too, can fix everything like my dad. My mom, Barbara Tilson, views things with an artistic lens and is that person in my life who is always there to talk about anything.
Pets: I have a black cat named Louie. I got him in eighth grade. I was living in Sandy Hook at the time, and my neighbor’s cat had kittens the night of my birthday. I got to go over and pick the one I wanted. He’s lived with me in Boston and is here with me in Newtown.
How long have you lived in Newtown? I grew up in Sandy Hook, and we recently moved to the Taunton area.
What do you like to do in your free time? I do a lot of reading and research. I read a lot of analytical or peer reviewed research, but now I’m reading books on soft science.
Do you have a favorite book? Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. The book took research and put it in a way that is approachable and accessible for anybody to read.
What is your favorite travel destination? After living in Boston for six years, my favorite destination to come back to is Newtown. It’s the place I feel most comfortable.
What is the best part about Newtown? The access to all the different open spaces and nature preserves, specifically Holcombe Hill.
What has been the greatest influence in your life? Working on a locked mental health unit and then also working for an upper tier of the mental healthcare system. It sparked my interest in the policy advocacy of social work and incorporating environmental justice into my professional practice.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? [Henry David] Thoreau. I would want to ask him questions, like how was it living at Walden Pond?
Who is your favorite musical artist? It’s a tie between Modest Mouse and Animal Collective.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? My mom and dad helped instill in me to follow my intuition.
What is something you cannot live without? Journaling. I have a lot of thoughts and like to get them down.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Cultivating the self-confidence to reach out to different opportunities, not letting my worries get in the way, and realizing we are all people. Also, I accomplished creating my blog and Instagram, which connects environmental justice and social work. I have been getting other people to reach out to me, which relates to putting yourself out there. I couldn’t find anyone doing advocacy on environmental justice social work — besides the researchers who publish articles — so this January, I just decided to start it for myself and see what happens.