Where is your hometown?
I was born and raised in Muncie quite some time ago.
Where did you obtain your bachelor’s degree, and what was your major(s)?
I did my bachelor’s at Ball State. When I started, I didn’t really know what I wanted, so I did a bachelor’s in General Studies. I was out in the workforce for a while, then I turned around and came back. I wanted to pursue Counseling, but that was one of my minors. At the time, I wasn’t considering any further education, so I left and came back and finished my BS. I went into the manufacturing field. While I got the BS from Ball State, I earned an associate’s in Manufacturing from Ivy Tech, so I have been in the manufacturing field for a while.
What first interested you in Counseling Psychology and Rehabilitation?
I think it has been in my DNA for a while. I used to watch my mom write letters for a person in the community that had a language barrier. Half his tongue had been removed, and she would write letters to different agencies in the community to get his benefits. She was also the caretaker for another lady who had mental health issues, so it has always been there. My last job that I had was really a deciding factor that I needed to change my career aspirations and go to something different. I was watching people around me get promoted into leadership, so I got really fed up. Counseling has always been in my blood. I just never acted on it.
Why did you choose Ball State?
My undergrad studies were here, and there were a couple instructors that were pushing me and were really concerned about my future. It just seems like the instructors and professors really care about the success of their students. All along the interactions with my instructors have been the best part of it.
What do you think of your experience at Ball State as a master’s student so far?
I think my experience would be a whole lot more rewarding if I didn’t choose to stay alone or isolated. I really find that other students are rewarding to be around, and sometimes, I just don’t feel comfortable with people. I think it would be rewarding to get out of my shell and interact more with the students in the program.
What are your future plans and career goals?
I would like to work and give back to the veteran community. Maybe encourage them that although the road is hard, positive things can be done. I want to give back to my local community by working in some type of entity like a recovery cafe or entity where people are struggling with barriers inhibiting their wellbeing. Maybe be a role model. It is hard, but it is doable.
What is one lesson you have learned as a graduate student?
I think the most valuable lesson that I have learned as a graduate student is that when you open your mind to education or knowledge you understand the world a whole lot better.
What are a few of your favorite hobbies?
Before my knees and back got bad, I used to like to bowl and play basketball. Now, my main thing is, when I can, I enjoy fishing. Fishing gives me time to think, be in tune with myself, and be in tune with the words of my higher power, listening to him. Sometimes, it is competitive as well if I get to catch more fish than the person that I went with.
How do you practice self-care?
Most of the time when I have downtime, I take off, walk the dog—sometimes we go on long walks or sometimes they are short, depending on my physical pain. Just having conversations and listening to my surroundings.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I think if I could have a superpower, it would be immortality. I build on experience—personal and of the world—I can take those experiences and hopefully, get them plugged into a place where there is more wholeness of not only a person, the community, the country, but the world.
What is one staple you always have in your fridge?