This month we feature another interview with an alum – this one working with her Master’s degree. Read more about her experiences as an undergraduate, though, and the things that made her competitive for grad school and her current job. In fact, given she works as a counselor, you might be surprised to hear how valuable she finds her Public Administration minor to be. So…read on, and be willing to consider some minors you might not have thought about before!
1. What is your name?
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? When/where did you earn that degree?
My major was in Psychology and I have minors in Public Administration and Spanish. I graduated in 2008. I have a MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling that I obtained from Marquette University in 2011.
3. What is your current job and how would you briefly describe what you do?
I currently work for the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin as a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Counselor. My job includes providing individual counseling, group counseling, and case management for clients. Also, I am required to maintain client records to state standards.
4. How do you use your human development and/or psychology education in your current job? If you do not, please explain.
I use principles of psychology and human development daily to help me identify areas in my clients’ lives (that they may be unaware of) that are causing them difficulties. Also, I often teach my clients principles of psychology and human development that may help them make positive life changes (for example explaining cognitive development to a parent who may be struggling with his or her child’s behavior problems).
5. Was this your first job upon graduation (from college or grad school – whichever is applicable)? If not, what was your first job?
This was not my first job after I completed graduate school. I worked in a similar position as a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Counselor at Acacia Mental Health.
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/graduate school search and/or competitive as a candidate? Is there anything you didn’t do that you wish you had done?
Two things I did at UWGB really stand out as having impacted me positively in my current job. First was being a Student Ambassador. That job required me to make quick relationships with people and that has been something I do daily at my current job. The second thing that was very helpful was getting a minor in Public Administration. Having a background in more of the “business” side of things has given me an advantage over many of my peers and made me feel more comfortable regarding things like budgets, grants, and billing. I believe in time that it will also possibly help me secure a supervisory role. One thing I wished I had done that I did not was to participate in study abroad, I’m not sure this would have direct bearing on my current work life but I do believe it would have exposed me to more diversity. Regarding being competitive in terms of being accepted to graduate school, I would have to say that participating as a research assistant and then later conducting my own study were likely helpful.
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 grad school and/or employment?
I would suggest that students try to make themselves unique in some way, some way that they are passionate about. For example, when I was in school and would talk about the combination of Public Administration and Psychology, I would often get strange looks, but it has been immensely helpful since I have graduated. On a related note, I would recommend engaging in a wide breadth of experiences. College is a great time to try new things and combine different areas of study in interesting and creative ways.