Career of the Month: Another Alumni Profile

In a new recurring feature, we share information from graduates in different careers. This month we profile an alumna who started off on one career path and transitioned to another. Benefit from her experience by reading on!

1. What is your name? Nina McCormick

2. What was your major and minor at UW-Green Bay, and in what year did you graduate? Do you have a graduate degree (MS/PhD), and, if so, in what field? Major in Psychology, Minor in Human Development, and class of 2009. I attended graduate school at UW-Stout for a MS in Mental Health Counseling but I did not complete my degree. I’m debating going back to finish when my kids are older.

3. What is your current job and how would you briefly describe what you do? I am a Special Education Aide at Genesee Lake School, which is part of the Oconomowoc Developmental Training Center. I work one-on-one with children/adolescents in their ICARE classrooms, which stands for Innovative Care for Autism and Related Disorders. The students in my particular classroom would be considered “lower functioning”, and it is my job to help individuals not only with academics, but also with social skills, personal care, etc. For example, I might take a student to a doctor appointment, then come back to school and work on how to fold towels or how to communicate what day of the week it is using an iPad. I spend my entire day with the student, helping them eat lunch, taking them for walks outside when they need a break, and trying to focus on building a relationship with them. I also work on the units occasionally as a Residential Counselor, which I really enjoy, but the hours aren’t compatible with having young kids that you need to find child care for.

4. How do you use your human development and/or psychology education in your current job? If you do not, please explain. I use both my psychology and human development education in my job to some degree. At Genesee Lake School all our students have either a developmental disability or a mental illness that is too severe to allow them to do well in a regular public school environment. I would say the majority of our students have also witnessed significant trauma and abuse before they came to us. Having a background in Psychology and Human Development has definitely given me an advantage at my job.

5. Was this your first job upon graduation? If not, what was your first job? No, my first job was with Wisconsin Early Autism Project. I also worked in child care for several years.

6. What kinds of things did you do as a student (e.g., specific classes taken, independent studies, working with your advisor or career services, volunteer work, part-time jobs) that you believe made you successful in your job search and/or competitive as a job candidate? Is there anything you didn’t do that you wish you had done? I personally chose to do an internship at the Golden House working specifically with children there. I have always wanted to work with kids, and that’s a passion of mine that has never changed. This was not only good experience, but it definitely looks good on a resume.

I had two part-time jobs while I was in college, one of which was in child care, and the other was teaching yoga classes.

The only thing I wish I would have done more of is volunteer my time in the mental health field.

7. What advice would you give to current UW-Green Bay human development and/or psychology students with regard to making the most of their education and making themselves maximally competitive for employment post-graduation? Don’t get discouraged if you are not planning to go on to graduate school. The reality is that it can be difficult to find a job in social services/mental health without at least a master’s degree, but as wonderful as those programs are, they are not for everyone. All my life I wanted to be a therapist and once I was in graduate school and actually started doing supervised counseling, I decided it wasn’t for me at this time in my life. I love what I do now, but I had to work my way up to it. The great thing about my job is there is so much room to grow. Get as involved as you can, volunteer, study hard, and enjoy what you do. This may not be the highest paying field out there, but I think it can be one of the most rewarding.

Careers of the Month: February 2012 Edition

In this month’s edition of the ever-popular Careers of the Month series we explore some service options that many students find appealing. We do have some alums who have participated in AmeriCorps Vista, and UW-Madison is both historically and currently one of the schools that supplies the most graduates to the Peace Corps. Learn more about AmeriCorps Vista and the Peace Corps and the possibility of gaining valuable job skills while serving in the United States or internationally.

Careers of the Month: September 2011 Edition

This month we feature not one career – but whole graduating classes’ worth! If you are interesting in knowing some of the first job titles of our recent graduates, visit the Career Services’ website and read their annual alumni survey results. Be sure to read the files that give the results “by major” and check out the information provided for Human Development, as well as for Psychology. Each year, Career Services asks our most recent grads to report what their first job is after graduation. Some students report the graduate program they entered instead. It’s great reading and will give you a real sense of the types of careers and educational paths students pursue. There are a few things to keep in mind as you look at these reports. First, they’ve archived the information for a few years, so there are several documents you can review. Second, students who respond to this survey are recent grads reporting their first jobs very shortly after graduation – that means these are not always their long-term career goal, but rather the job that is paying the rent while they do a more extensive career search. Finally, some of these students had double-majors and/or specific certifications beyond Human Development or Psychology (e.g., the person employed as a 5th grade teacher), and others have unique skills sets we don’t typically expect to see in our majors (e.g., the “professional basketball player”)!

Careers of the Month: February 2011 Edition

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we feature two “relationship-oriented” career options this month. Enjoy!

Customer Service Representative
What could be more precious than the relationship between a business and its customers? If you are interested in a bachelor’s degree-level career that will allow you to employ wonderful communication and conflict resolution skills and interface regularly with the public, learn more by clicking here.

Health Educator
To work as a health educator with a bachelor’s degree, you would likely need to have that degree in health education. If you are considering a different kind of graduate program after completing your Human Development or Psychology degree, however, consider health education or public health. Here’s another career that will allow you to build great helping relationships with those in need of your services. Read all about it at this link.

Careers of the Month: October 2010 Edition

The careers this month both have some link to health care or health care settings. Psychiatric aide is a career that could be pursued without any graduate school training; these individuals may work in psychiatric hospitals and assist nurses and other staff with patient socialization and care. Becoming a rehabilitation psychologist would require a doctoral degree, although it is also possible to obtain a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. These individuals specialize in helping individuals with disabilities or long-term health problems. Read more by following the links provided!

Psychiatric Aide  or Psychiatric Aide

Rehabilitation Psychologist

Careers of the Month: September 2010 Edition

This month we bring you two career-related careers. Employment counselors may work in job placement agencies and help individuals in their career searches. Vocational rehabilitation counselors typically have a graduate degree and may assist, for example, individuals with disabilities, as they prepare to enter or re-enter the workforce. Learn more about both of these occupations by following the links provided.

Employment Counselor
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Careers of the Month: April 2010 Edition

This month we feature two careers that you may not even have heard of before! Read more about them and think about how your skills and interests might match with them. Remember, some of the careers we feature may require graduate study, and same may require additional majors and/or minors beyond Human Development or Psychology.

Technical Writer: Use those great skills you are honing as you write your term papers and consider a career that involves pen and ink (well, probably typing and toner cartridges). Read more at:

Employee Relations Specialist: Merge your skills working with people and your interest in the business world with a career in employee relations. Learn more at:

Careers of the Month: February 2010 Edition

Many of our Human Development and Psychology students decide they want to enter medical professions. Two potential careers are highlighted below.

Registered Nurse: Graduates of our programs have gone on to nursing schools and to technical colleges that offer nursing programs. Some were interested in providing physical health care (, while others have discussed the possibility of going on for a graduate degree in psychiatric nursing to pursue a career in mental health services ( Click on the provided links to learn more.

Medical and Health Services Manager: Interested in health services, but perhaps not as excited about providing direct patient care? Another career possibility is providing management for health care facilities. Read more in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and note that an advanced degree is required in this very competitive field, but that graduate programs may accept applicants with liberal arts bachelor’s degrees (like Human Development and Psychology!). See:

Careers of the Month: October 2009 Edition

We have many students who tell us they are interested in counseling careers. This month we bring you information about two types of “counseling” professionals you may have overlooked.

Financial Aid Counselor: We all know the importance of financial aid in higher education. Ever consider becoming a professional who can help students through that stressful process? Learn more at:

Academic Counselor/Advisor: Another common source of stress for college students comes in the form of academic pressures and decisions. Professionals with graduate degrees in counseling, higher education, and related fields can help students with course selection, future planning, and coping with the stresses of academic life. Find additional information at:

Careers of the Month: September 2009 Edition

Each month, we try to profile two specific careers and provide students with more information about them. If you want to see past entries (e.g., occupational therapist, school psychologist), click on the “Career Options” link on our Topics menu. This month, we are trying something a little different and providing information about one entire category of different careers: the gerontology field.

Gerontology: Many of our Human Development and Psychology students are interested in working with older adults. Never considered a career in gerontology before? Well, here’s your chance to consider that possibility! Visit the Gerontological Society of America website ( and/or their pamphlet on career options in the field ( to learn about many different career paths in that area.

Careers of the Month: April 2009 Edition

Looking for a career in a business-related field? Explore these two interesting options!


Human Resource Specialist: This may be a great option for students who want to work in a business environment, have significant contact with people, and help them to understand and succeed in the workplace. An advanced degree is often necessary, as is training/experience in business. A human resource internship is also increasingly important. For more, see  


Retail Salesperson: Although a college degree is not required for these jobs, the Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that having a degree can be helpful as individuals look to advance to management-level positions. Read more at: