MA Counseling, specialization in School Counseling with Pupil Personnel Services Credential
What do you hope to do with your degree and/or credential, and why?
I want to work with high school students, particularly from minority backgrounds. I would like to advocate for their educational success in order to enhance their life outcomes, providing them with the necessary resources and support to access higher education. I know firsthand what it is like to not have the means to attend college, but I also know that it is possible. I want to instill that hope in students.
When did you begin your program, and when do you anticipate completing it?
I began my graduate program fall 2014 and anticipate completing it spring 2016.
How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?
I heard about SOLES via the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) website. They list all graduate programs by state and USD was among them. To be honest, USD was not my first choice, but after the interview process I was convinced that this program was a good fit for me. I was ecstatic to hear about the international component and knew that this program would not only provide me great training, but also a life enhancing experience.
What is your background? For example, where are you from, where else have you earned a degree, and where have you worked?
I have lived all over the place, so it is hard to say where I’m actually from. However, before I moved to San Diego, I lived in Orange County for about eight years. Throughout those eight years I was in the real estate industry until I decided to return to school and get a college education. I enrolled at a local community college where I took night classes while working full-time. After four years, I received an AA in Social and Behavioral Sciences and then transferred to the University of California, Irvine where I received a BA in Sociology.
Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time or part-time, and what do you do?
I am currently working part-time for the Charter School of San Diego. I work with 7th-12th grade students as a classroom assistant. This is my first time working at a charter school, so it is interesting to see the difference. Most of the students are not able to attend a traditional school for a variety of reasons, so I like getting to know their stories. Since there is not a school counselor at the site, I try to use whatever counseling skills I have learned while working with the students. It has definitely been a rewarding experience.
Tell us about any internships, graduate assistantships, student teaching, practicum or fieldwork you have done through SOLES. Where did you work, what did you do, and how did it impact you?
I just started practicum this spring semester at La Mesa Middle School. It is currently transitioning to an arts academy, so I consider myself lucky to be there at such a momentous period. Even though I just started, I am already learning a lot about the role of a school counselor. Throughout the semester, I will be responsible for carrying out guidance lessons, attending meetings, creating reports, and counseling students. I am excited to get my feet wet and finally experience what the school counseling profession is all about!
How has your SOLES education impacted your career and/or career goals?
Every course I have taken has taught me something new and exciting about the school counseling profession. One thing I learned right away is that counseling is not about solving other people’s problems, but helping people solve their own problems. Therefore, my SOLES education has provided me insight on how to help others without knowing all the answers.
Which class has impacted you the most? Why?
The class that has impacted me the most so far is Counseling Skills. Aside from the fact that my instructor, Gina Bongiorno, was AMAZING, the course itself was very practical. We were required to videotape ourselves doing actual counseling. It was nerve-wracking at first, but then it became a great learning opportunity. I learned to be so much more than just a counselor in that class. I learned about myself and what it was like to really connect with people.