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Mon Mar 19th, 2018 @ 12:19pm
Lieutenant Carolyn Shaw
Name Carolyn Grace Shaw M.D.
Position Assistant Chief of Mental Health
|Date of birth||May 11, 2350|
|Place of birth||Harmony Falls, Risa|
|Hair Color||Dark Red|
|Physical Description||Being confined to a gravchair might at first make Lyn appear very fragile, and though she has no use of her legs and some difficulty with fine motor skills, she has no difficulties intellectually. Despite all she's been through, she knows what it means to be caring and open, and as a result, she represents a competent source of strength for those around her.|
|Spouse||None; divorced from Commander Timothy Shaw|
|Mother||Cassandra Bennington (deceased)|
Personality & Traits
|General Overview||Dr. Shaw has a wonderful sense of humor, which she uses frequently to help people feel better about themselves and also to help them feel less uncomfortable about her disability. She is warm and friendly, always taking the concerns of those around her to heart. She can be very outspoken, and is not afraid to share her opinions with anyone, feeling one of the most important things a mental health professional can do is offer a completely objective perspective on important issues. She prefers to be as independent as possible, though she is not too stubborn to ask for help when she needs it.
|Strengths & Weaknesses||Over the years, she has grown slightly more reserved, no longer quite as quick to talk about her life before her assignment with Starfleet Medical, but if asked, she will make no excuses about her life as an alcoholic. She is proud of what she's been able to overcome, but she is eager to move on and focus on her career, knowing that every day she has the potential to lose control of her life. She is a firm believer in personal accountability and is not afraid to use tough love if it will help others avoid learning important life lessons the way she did. She is more sensitive than most people know, but it's a side most rarely see, as she knows others depend on her to remain in control.
She will answer to Carolyn or Lyn, though for some reason those who don't know her very well prefer Carolyn, while Lyn is the preferred nickname for close friends. Her ex-husband liked to tease her by calling her "Gracie" after her middle name, but she hasn't allowed anyone to call her that since their divorce
|Ambitions||Dr. Shaw is a recovering alcoholic, but she has a very strong desire to stay sober by helping others. Being a mental health professional is an around the clock job and because others depend on her guidance, the thought of taking another drink couldn't be further from her mind. She doesn't see her disability as punishment for her sins, but rather a permanent reminder of someone who was too quick to throw away her life. She feels she's been given a second chance, and is committed to making the best of it.
|Hobbies & Interests||Forensic psychology, musical theater, holonovels, singing|
|Personal History||Carolyn "Lyn" Grace was born May 11, 2350 to John and Cassandra Bennington in the city of Harmony Falls, located on Risa. John was on leave from Starfleet Academy when he met the attractive Terra native on the pleasure planet, and he quickly initiated what they mutually agreed was to be a casual fling. Six months into the relationship, Cass became pregnant, and although she was completely resigned to raising the child on her own, pressure from John's parents guilted him into a marriage of convenience.
John spent most of their early marriage in San Francisco attending the main campus of Starfleet Academy, while Cass chose to stay on Risa as a hotel manager so she could give her daughter the security of a permanent home. From the very start, the long distance relationship was wrought with problems that were only exacerbated by John's love for gambling, drinking and exotic women. When Carolyn was two, John walked out on his family, citing he had forgiven himself for the sins of his youth and needed to move on with his life. From that point forward, though it was difficult adjusting to life as a single parent, Cass put all her energy into raising her daughter.
Carolyn lacked nothing while she was growing up. Though she had several opportunities to become a party girl amongst the Starfleet tourists, she preferred to spend time with her mother, who because she was still relatively young, was more like a best friend than a mother. Lyn attended the Risa Prepatory Academy through high school, studying a variety of subjects, most notably, psychology and law. It wasn't until she was sixteen that she decided she wanted to enter Starfleet and serve as a psychiatrist in the JAG Corps. This worried Cassandra, as she feared the decision would weaken their very close relationship, but the determined Lyn would not be swayed now that she was tiring of Risian life.
She was accepted in the fall of 2367 to Starfleet Academy as a pre-medicine major with a minor in Federation law, and after graduation in 2371, she was accepted into Starfleet Medical Academy’s emergency medicine and psychiatry programs. Knowing the JAG Corps would still be an opportunity she could pursue later, she committed herself whole-heartedly to the program, specializing in trauma therapy. Lyn survived the difficult academia, having received greater insight into how trauma to the mind affected trauma to the body and vice versa. Upon completing medical school, she submitted her application for her first Starfleet posting.
Unfortunately, the stressful time took its toll on the relationship she shared with her mother, whom she spoke to only rarely via subspace. In hindsight, Lyn would later regret not seeing the evidence of manic depression in her mother, but up until a year after her daughter's graduation, Cassandra faithfully controlled her illness with medication. As a child, her mother's spontaneity made the elder woman an ideal companion, and on those days when Cass showed signs of depression, the sensitive Carolyn assumed her mother was lonely for John. Just before Lyn left for her first assignment, her mother surprised her with a month long vacation to Betezed, citing a need to bond with her before she left the nest and ventured into the great unknown.
The two had a great time but Carolyn was anxious to prepare for her new assignment, so when her mother received word that the Risian hotel she owned was unexpectedly short-handed, Lyn was all too relieved to spend the rest of her vacation by herself in a small apartment on Bajor, awaiting the arrival of the USS Wellington, her first post. Two weeks before Lyn was to board the Wellington, she received word her mother committed suicide, an apparent overdose of anti-psychotic medication that until that moment, Lyn didn't even realize her mother needed.
It was a difficult blow that would later haunt her, but the shock and anger she felt was enough to keep her sufficiently numb long enough to get her mother's affairs in order before boarding the Wellington. She did seek counseling, but refused to let it affect her career plans, so despite a painful loss, Carolyn forced herself to move ahead, knowing the greatest tribute she could give her mother was to become a successful Starfleet counselor.
Carolyn was grateful for the opportunity to stay busy caring for others, as it gave her less time to mourn the absence of both her parents. Lyn gradually learned to deal with lonely off-duty hours through alcohol consumption, and although she was a regular in Ten Forward who liked to party with the best of her shipmates, she was careful not to let her drinking habits impact her career. Although she never really outgrew her love for a good time, by the end of her first year, she had taken on a host of new responsibilities. She was promoted to Assistant Chief of Mental Health Sciences, and she also married Security Officer Timothy Shaw, so for a time her life as a wife and officer kept her from feeling lonely.
Less than a year into her marriage, Tim was transferred to the USS Omen, a tactical cruiser which did not allow families. The distance was hard for Lyn and she found herself fearing abandonment as her father had done so many years before. She eventually returned to drinking and because of her life experiences, she found herself accusing her husband of cheating constantly, which only made Tim resent her. The marriage gradually fell apart, and by the time her first anniversary came along, the two had already agreed to a trial separation. Carolyn realized belatedly she wanted to save her marriage and on a sudden shoreleave, she decided to surprise her husband and announce her desire to reconcile. When she arrived on Starbase 186, where the Omen was docked for repairs, she found Tim in bed with a fellow female Security Officer, dashing all hope that they could ever rekindle their relationship. This realization was the final straw for Lyn and when she entered a local bar known as "The Warpcore," she had every intention of drowning her sorrows.
To this day, she doesn't remember much about how her commercial shuttle crashed landed on a nearby deserted M-class planet, but for three days and nights, she was too delirious from alcohol poisoning to attempt to call for help. By the time she was discovered, she had injured her spine so severely that she was paralyzed from the waist down, incapacitated for so long she had suffered permanent damage, also losing a baby she never knew she was carrying. Though the cause of the crash was later determined to be mechanical failure, given her blood alcohol level and past history, Starfleet discreetly placed Lyn on medical leave, sending her to the Montview Clinic in 2376 for rehabilitation and counseling designed specifically for Starfleet officers trying to overcome severe trauma and addiction.
Unable to cope with his wife's accident, Timothy and Carolyn divorced, and they parted somewhat amicably, though both will admit they still carry scars from that day. Under the guidance of Dr. Kareena Vasques, Carolyn thrived, quickly regaining her desire to help herself by helping others. Over time she learned how to deal with her grief, and when she was released six months later, it was with a renewed spirit and determination to resume her career as a counselor - all barely contained in a specially designed gravchair - a device that was to be her legs.
Her first assignment after returning to duty was to Starfleet Medical in San Francisco. Though working mostly as a paper pusher for the Director of Starfleet Counseling, Carolyn frequently advised other starship based counselors on trauma therapy and also served as a Counselor-Inspector, evaluating mental health professionals enlisted during the Dominion War. Traveling from assignment to assignment as a representative of Starfleet Medical awakened her love for her work, but she longed for a more permanent posting. That opportunity came in 2377 when she was assigned as Chief of Mental Health Sciences for the USS McCoy, a newly commissioned Olympic-class hospital ship. She enjoyed her job, but after a year of treating physically and emotionally scarred officers, she was ready for a change of pace.
Starfleet Medical was prepared to assign her to starbase duty, but when she learned of the USS Knight and its immediate need for a counselor well trained to handle trauma cases and those with telepathic and empathic abilities, she was convinced the Knight was where she needed to be. Though reluctant to give the barely healed Carolyn such a stressful and highly specialized position, but in desperate need of someone to assume the role if only temporarily, her superiors assigned her to the USS Knight as a Counselor-Inspector and acting Chief of Mental Health Sciences, meant to observe the status of the crew of the Knight and to attend to their need for a qualified therapist.
Alone on the McCoy, Lyn was once again at a crossroads. She enjoyed her work, but was growing tired of the politics in Starfleet. She wanted to help people without having her hands tied at seemingly every turn by red tape or the regulations that had once guided her. She loved Starfleet and what it stood for, but after nearly losing her life, she wondered if she should be doing more.
Sensing her disillusionment, a well-meaning colleague sent Shaw’s bio to someone he knew working for the Federation Emergency Response Agency. When Lyn was contacted for an interview, she was at first annoyed with her colleague and then intrigued by the agency’s design and purpose. Officially, she served as a member of the “borrowed” Starfleet contingent, but Carolyn knew one day, she would have to make a decision about her future with Starfleet.
That day came a full decade later when an old friend, Sarah Fox, now a Captain, became the Commanding Officer of the Nebula class USS Pytheas. At the request of Fox, Carolyn requested to have her commission reinstated. Lyn credited her time aboard the Pytheas with reigniting her passion for Starfleet and healing. She then felt ready to plant roots somewhere and was pleased to serve as the Chief of Mental Health Sciences within Jacobi Medical Center.
Her time at JMC was beneficial in many ways. Her passion for healing fully reignited, Lyn was able to collaborate with a variety of like-minded colleagues every day whose goals weren’t just to help patients survive, but to truly recover. She wasn’t dashing off to a new planet every week, so she could truly hone all of her skills and take the time to conduct the research and seminars that she felt could make a difference fleet wide. JMC also thrived on cross training its staff, which meant Lyn gained the opportunities and the confidence to sharpen her emergency medicine instincts while heading her own department.
Lyn might have stayed at JMC for the duration for her career had Starfleet Medical not asked her to return to the fold as its representative, with the USS Nightingale in mind. At first, Lyn was hesitant to leave the security of JMC, but confronted with the reality of just how many people were in dire need of medical care following recent disasters, she couldn’t resist the opportunity to provide front-line medical and mental health care once again. Besides providing a certain rush she hadn’t felt in a long time, there was a unique emotional satisfaction that came with representing the needs of others in the profession she loved and providing care to others the moment they needed it.
|Service Record||2375- 2376: USS Wellington, Assistant Chief of Mental Health Sciences
January 2376 – June 2376: Medical leave, Montview Clinic
June 2376 – December 2376: Counselor Inspector, Starfleet Medical
2377 - 2380: USS McCoy, Chief of Mental Health Sciences
2380-2381: USS Knight, Counselor-Inspector/Acting Chief of Mental Health Sciences
2381 - 2386: SS Barton, (FERA), Chief of Mental Health Sciences
2386-2387: USS Pytheas, Chief of Mental Health Sciences
2387-2392: Jacobi Medical Center, Chief of Mental Health Sciences
Present: USS Nightingale, Starfleet Medical Representative/Assistant Chief of Mental Health Sciences