M.A. in Counseling, specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Tell us about your background.
For the last sixteen years I was a busy mom raising four young children, trying to juggle work, family and my own interests. I guess that hasn’t changed expect they are a little older and I am hopefully getting a little wiser.
The company I work for is a first responder to families that are displaced from their homes by natural disasters. I have worked for them as a manager of relocation specialists, full time for the last twelve years. When people go through a traumatic loss, they feel helpless. I get to be an expert in a field that makes an impact in their lives when they need it most.
Why did you choose SOLES?
I was looking for a program that would compliment my existing work experience. I could have gone into management, HR, marketing... But what I liked most about my job, what had meaning for me, was working with families and making a difference in their lives. I stumbled on a link to SOLES, attended an orientation meeting and immediately knew I was in the right place.
Have you done any practicum or internships through SOLES?
My internship begins next year. But, I have assisted Dr. Johnson on a study at the Burn Institute, collecting and evaluating data on juvenile fire starters. I have also assisted him in starting USD’s first ever Clinical Forensic Mental Health Film Series.
Tell us about any research or independent study you have done at SOLES.
I am participating in a research study that will look at dual identity, shame and resiliency in cross border populations, particularly those in exile. Dr. Margarita Luna, a truly gifted teacher and wonderful mentor, will be leading the study. I feel so privileged to be a part of this work.
Have you completed an international experience?
I am beginning a research project this winter that will take place in the U.S. and Mexico.
How has your SOLES education impacted your career goals?
In every class, I have learned something that has not only enhanced my role as a manager but also as a friend, mother, mentor and student. It has so far been a truly rewarding experience.
Which class has impacted you the most?
Clinical Interviewing with Jessica Williams has impacted the way I think about teaching and learning. Jessica teaches with instinct. It is brilliant to watch.
Are there specific SOLES faculty you feel have contributed significantly to your success?
Oh boy is that a loaded question, they are still grading me! I have learned so much from my instructors, each in different ways. What I love about graduate school though is that I have been able to collaborate on projects as partners.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation, I’d like to pursue a doctorate (possibly in Leadership Studies). My dream job would be in three parts: to teach, to have a small private counseling practice and to pursue research that studies human behavior.
Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students?
When deciding where to study, know that the place is only the beginning. It’s the people and connections that make the experience. Immerse yourself in it and enjoy!