Catriona da Silva

MA Counseling, specialization in School Counseling with Pupil Personnel Services Credential

What is your background? For example, where are you from, where else have you earned a degree, and where have you worked?

I studied at the University of California, Berkeley and earned a BA in Sociology. Prior to attending the University of San Diego, I worked with homeless adolescents and young adults at a transitional living program in downtown San Diego. Within this capacity, I oversaw individual cases and provided academic guidance and support to youth while also working as the liaison between the group home and local school districts. 

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?

After working at a local nonprofit for five years, I decided it was time to pursue my MA. I attended the SOLES Open House, where I was able to meet current students and attend a school counseling information session. I was drawn to several aspects of the program, particularly the approachability of the department faculty.

When did you begin your program, and when do you anticipate completing it?

I started my program in September 2015 and plan to graduate in May 2017.

What do you hope to do with your degree and/or credential, and why?

I hope to work as a professional school counselor at a high school within San Diego County. 

Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time, part time, and what do you do?

I am currently working as a substitute teacher in a few school districts within San Diego County. This experience allows me to better acquaint myself with the local schools before I begin my work as a school counselor. Additionally, I am able to gain the perspective of an educator which will be helpful when I collaborate with teachers in the future. While I work full-time, I am able to adjust my schedule as needed to focus my efforts on my classes at SOLES. 

Tell us about any research or independent study you have done at SOLES.

My advisor, Dr. Rowell, allowed me to actively participate in his action research in school counseling group shortly before my first semester at the University of San Diego. I work with this team to collaborate with other school counseling programs and emphasize the importance of action research within the field. Additionally, I provide ongoing assistance to Dr. Rowell in his publishing projects related to school counseling and action research. It is important for me to maintain strong relationships with the faculty as I am confident that I will seek advice and assistance into the future.

How has your SOLES education impacted your career and/or career goals?

I considered returning to school to complete my MA for several years after receiving BA. After gaining experience in other areas, I realized that I truly wanted to work as a school counselor. The University of San Diego has provided me with the opportunity to continue my education and eventually join the profession of school counseling. The admissions team took the time to review my past endeavors, both professionally and personally, and saw my passion and potential in the field. I will be eternally grateful to this university and the lifetime of opportunities that I will now encounter after obtaining my MA in Counseling, with a specialization in School Counseling.           

Are there specific SOLES faculty, staff or administrators you feel have contributed significantly to your success? How have they helped?

I am grateful to each faculty member that takes the time to come to class prepared and open to discussion. Each faculty member has answered each of my questions with respect and interest.