SOLES Alumnus Spotlight: Sean Green '13 (MA), School Counseling, Doctoral Student

Sean Green
begin quoteI believe that all universities have something to offer students. To me, I have always valued community over everything. The feeling of support is critical towards a student's success.

Tell us about your SOLES degree program and why you chose it.

I am actually blessed to be a (hopefully) two-time SOLES grad. I completed my Master's in School Counseling in 2013, and I am hoping to complete my PhD in Higher Educational Leadership in 2020. I chose SOLES for both degrees for its reputation, staff, and faculty. I have always felt at home.

Who was your favorite SOLES professor, and/or what was your favorite class?

While there are so many to choose from, I would have to choose Dr. Martin from Counseling. Because it was my first experience at SOLES, having good teachers in the beginning was critical. Dr. Cameron and others definitely played a role in being warm and welcoming. Dr. Martin was my advisor though, and he has always been incredibly supportive.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

I am a fan of the reading room in SOLES. There are plenty of beautiful places on campus, but the reading room is where I have spent most of my time.

Did you complete the international requirement while you were at SOLES? Where did you go, what did you study, etc?

I went to San Diego State for my undergrad and I got married pretty young. We have kids, so I could never do the semester away sort of thing. So when the opportunity came up for me to study abroad for 7-10 days, I lept at the opportunity! I was able to go to Costa Rica in 2012 with Dr. Estrada and Dr. Burden for the multicultural counseling class. It was an amazing experience! I remember when I went on the trip, I flew out of LAX and flew to Costa Rica with just a backpack, like a hiking backpack. I didn’t know Dr. Estrada nor the 20 people I travelled with there; it was me and one other school counselor, the others were MFTs. So I literally didn’t know anyone when I hopped on the plane, but I had this amazing experience in Costa Rica with Dr. Estrada! We studied at the United Nations School of Peace in Costa Rica. We got to explore Costa Rica, went ziplining (which was probably the most amazing experience of my life), volunteered in schools, went to the mental hospital there, as well. It was a really amazing experience getting to see how counseling is utilized in different parts of the world, but also a great international experience. Prior to that I had only been to Mexico, so it was cool. I thought it was great!

What is your fondest memory of being at SOLES?

The community. I believe that all universities have something to offer students. To me, I have always valued community over everything. The feeling of support is critical towards a student's success.

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

My SOLES education has had a tremendous impact on my career and career goals. I am hopeful that it will continue to do so, as well. Prior to pursuing my Counseling degree I was out of school for about 7 years. I took a really big gap between my bachelor's and my master's and part of that was that I was working in schools. I was actually working at Cathedral Catholic High School and I knew that I wanted to be in education (and I don’t mean for this to sound bad), but I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher, so I didn’t know exactly how that fit. The other part that I knew was that I wanted to be in a leadership role in teaching and education, and part of that stems from when I was growing up. I never had a black principal and, in fact, I remember the first black professor that I had was in counseling at USD. Those things were important to me; that representation is important to me. As I was going through the program, I remember interviewing with Dr. Martin (who became my advisor and who has been a tremendous help and role model in my career and education). I met Dr. Cameron, who at the time was Dr. Nash (I still call her Dr. Nash-Cameron), and both of them played an absolute pivotal role in my professional career, as well as my educational career. Really, that experience of working with them, getting to know them, getting to know kind of the impact…understanding the impact they made on me made me want to make a similar impact on others. I thought the best way to do that was through the PhD program as well, and I have since been blessed with a lot of opportunities that I think have put me in the position to make similar impact; so that’s what I’m hoping to do. I'm hoping to continue to do what I think they did for me.

How have you remained involved with SOLES since you graduated?

I am lucky to work for SOLES. My role as the Fellow and Director of the Pontem Path is a perfect culmination of my education, experience, and passion. It also enables me to remain connected to a school that has served me well. 

If you could offer a current SOLES student advice, what would it be?

Get to know your professors and cohort. I met a lot of great people in my cohort. The ones that have become friends, are definitely lifelong ones.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

The other things that I will add, specifically, are: Assistant Dean Linda Dews played a pivotal role! She probably doesn't know, but I would definitely like to highlight the role she played in my graduate experience. I still remember walking into her office, it must have been in 2009 (because I started in 2010), and meeting with her and talking about scholarships, and the community, and the diversity, and she made a HUGE difference in how I looked at the program and how I approached the program. And like I said, I didn’t spend everyday in her office or anything, but I’d kind of check in and stop by every year or every six months. Her reassurance, her availability, and just kind of ability to connect me to different areas of campus was critical in my experience in the graduate program. The other thing I would say, community-wise and cohort-wise, is that my cohort and I were pretty close. We’ve all been out of school now for 7-8 years and I still talk with at least 5-6 of them regularly and there were probably 12-15 in the cohort. When we travel we connect, as well! Professional networks and opportunities are really important as well. 

Contact:

Amanda Gonzales
amanda@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4539

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