Discipline: Social Work
I am a graduate of the University of Maine in Orono, ME where I obtained a BA in Psychology with a social/abnormal concentration. This program gave me a broad overview of the current understanding of psychological disorders and therapies as well as an understanding of the theories about human social interactions. It also gave me a solid foundation in research methods and I went on to volunteer my time in some of the campus labs assisting the faculty with their research. I have experience working with both mice and human participants as well as some data entry and background research.
During the 5 years that I worked on my undergrad I was also able to work for the office of Student Life in their Commuter and Non-traditional Student programs. I helped to plan events and programs designed to assist this unique population in connecting to the campus and to the resources that they need to succeed. The office interacts with a variety of students from many different life circumstances and ability levels and it was very rewarding to help them learn how to make use of the resources available to them and become successful students.
I also work as the manager of the IT staff on campus. I enjoy working with the student staff to provide excellent customer service. We often assist students who have little to no technological experience and I enjoy teaching them these important skills. These jobs have enhanced both my leadership and organizational skills and they have shown me how important access to appropriate resources can be for individuals to succeed in life.
As much as I enjoyed learning about theory and research I eventually started to feel like I wanted to do something more practical and use my degree. I enrolled in the Social Work master’s program at UMaine because I knew it would give me the tools I would need and I would get actual experience helping people in my community. My goal is to someday work with young people with neurological disorders, such as autism, who are aging out of the programs offered by the school system. I have an autistic son and a sister with Down Syndrome and I hope to contribute to creating an environment where young people like them have options and resources to achieve their dreams. An individual who functions differently than the “norm” should still have all of the same opportunities as anyone else.