Year: Class of 2016
Degree program: MA in Clinical Psychology
Previous degrees: BA in Psychology '12, BA in Sociology '12
Hometown: Greenfield, MA
Assistantship: Graduate Assistant in UMassD's Office of Student Conduct
Awards: Louise M. Goodrum Unsung Hero Award
Next steps: Clinician in a mental health and addiction outpatient facility
Learning more about mental health
The summer after I graduated with my bachelor's degrees, I completed an internship as a Youth Support Coordinator in Australia. I worked with teens struggling with mental health and family issues and a variety of other issues.
After returning to the States, I worked as a caseworker in a group home for boys. The boys, ages 13-18, had a variety of mental health needs. I realized that if I wanted to help people, I had a lot more to learn about mental health.
I thoroughly enjoyed both experiences, which led me to apply to the Clinical Psychology Master's Program.
Internship as a clinician
The experience that enhanced my graduate studies the most is my recent internship as a clinician at a mental health and addiction outpatient facility. I started this internship last August and have absolutely loved it.
I had my own clients, ran groups, and was able to do almost everything that a master's level clinician can do. It really opened my eyes to what it truly means to be a clinician. I was able to see all of the advantages, as well as all of the challenges that we have to face.
It allowed me to determine that I would like to focus my career on working with adult populations who are currently struggling with mental health and/or addiction in an outpatient setting.
Graduate assistant in the Office of Student Conduct
I loved having the opportunity to work on campus as a graduate student. It allowed me to get back in touch with many of the staff I was close to during my undergraduate years. I loved being a part of the UMass Dartmouth community again, and not only for educational purposes.
I learned a lot as a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Conduct. I met with students who violated the UMass Dartmouth Code of Conduct. In those meetings, I took time to get to know the student in order to try to understand why they made certain decisions that landed them in my office.
I had the opportunity to apply what I was learning in class about mental health to the cases, because often, students were making poor choices based on other things that were going on in their lives. I loved being able to connect students to resources to help them get on the right track.
The hardest part was finding the balance between holding students accountable for their actions while also making sure they were getting connected to resources they needed to help them to be successful.
The purpose of the office isn’t to only give students punitive sanctions that could potentially prevent them from reaching their educational goals. We also include educational sanctions that will allow the students to learn from their mistakes, succeed in school, and thrive in their lives.
Working toward Mental Health Counseling license
After graduation, I plan to take a week off to get some much needed rest and relaxation.
I’m going to work as a clinician in the mental health and addiction outpatient facility where I completed my internship. I plan to work full-time so I can get the required amount of hours that I need in order to apply for my license in Mental Health Counseling. I’ll be eligible to apply for it in two years, as long as I have fulfilled all of the required hours.
Thankful for UMassD community
UMass Dartmouth is my home away from home, and I’m going to miss being a part of this incredible community. I am so thankful for everyone I met here and for everything I’ve had the opportunity to experience. There will always be a spot in my heart for UMass Dartmouth.