Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program Student Coordinator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I’m currently working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’m the Student Program Coordinator for a program called the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP) and recently became a Certified Career Counselor. In short, my team of five and I work with the sophomore class, teaching professional development and the top skills employers identify as necessary for success. We also help them get stellar summer internships at companies as big as Google and Facebook and smaller, very innovative startups around the globe. I also recently became the instructor of a Summer Alternative Course that is offered to a select few students in our program, aimed at taking a deeper dive into the research behind and importance of communication, feedback, problem solving, and preparing for success in the workplace. This role comes with a lot of career counseling, and at times mental health counseling, and my background and experience at New Paltz has helped me integrate so well into this role. I work with roughly 300-500 students, and wake up every day eager to go to work!
Before coming to MIT, I worked as a staff therapist at South Bay Community Services in Lynn, MA, doing outreach mental health work. I had a caseload of clients that I would travel to and perform therapy right in their homes. I realized how much I yearned to be back in the atmosphere that New Paltz provided me. Working in the Psychology Department at New Paltz as both an advisor and teaching assistant helped me realize how much I enjoyed working with students, teaching and helping them to also find their passion and navigate their future career paths. My time as an advisor and TA was so valuable. Without those opportunities, I probably would not have stumbled across what I truly love doing.
Another important thing I learned after my time at New Paltz was that my degree is very applicable to many different career paths, and I don’t feel restricted to just mental health counseling. Having a liberal arts education has opened countless doors for me. It has given me knowledge and experience in many areas and, in turn, has allowed me to explore different trajectories along my career path. I was able to delve into subject areas I was interested in, all the while discovering exactly what I wanted to pursue after graduation. With a solid foundation built up, I was ready and qualified for various opportunities. My training through my academics and learning from the experience of my wonderful professors at New Paltz has certainly helped me to be successful in my current role, and for that I am so grateful.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
I am a licensed mental health counselor with a thriving private practice in Poughkeepsie, New York. I help people cope with and recover from trauma and anxiety. I also help women, LGBTQIA-identifying folks, and other oppressed groups to empower themselves in a society that does not always support their empowerment. My coursework at New Paltz prepared me for this work by giving me a solid foundation in humanism, multicultural competence, trauma recovery, and the scientist-practitioner ethos. My liberal arts education has given me critical thinking skills as well as a philosophical and socio-cultural context for my present work.
I was inspired by so many of my professors—it feels remiss to name only one. Each professor taught me something new about human nature, impressed upon me the importance of ethical behavior, or enabled me to achieve goals despite obstacles.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
I'm currently a therapist in private practice in the community specializing in working with children, teens and young adults. I perform talk therapy, along with play therapy, and run table top RPG therapy groups that I developed. The Mental Health Counseling program gave me the factual and practical knowledge in how to work with a wide range of people and needs.
My liberal arts education has been invaluable to me. To me, a liberal arts education is truly a study in thought, thought systems, and forms of expression and interaction with this thought in the outside world. Understanding conceptions of how and why the world is the way it is through philosophy and history; different forms in intra-personal, community and global interactions through psychology, sociology, anthropology; and the cultural semiotics through linguistics, art, and literature are the most key parts of my daily work. Understanding all this allows me to understand my clients, their views on the universe and how to connect back with them. It gives me myriad tools and lenses to align and communicate with them so I can better help them navigate their worlds.