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After graduating from GW ('05), Pickens initially planned to pursue careers as both an actor and a psychologist. It didn’t take long, he said, to learn that “you can’t go on auditions and get your PhD at same time,” he said. But after earning his doctoral degree at Fordham University, Pickens was determined to combine psychology and entertainment as a means of reaching a broad audience. He created iOpening Enterprises, a multi-media company that promotes accessible health messages to young people through books, film and life skills workshops. He is a regular contributor to Psychology Today, HuffPost and, and he has appeared in national media outlets to discuss the psychological implications of current events as they relate to trauma and mental health issues.

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