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MSW, Military Family, Corrections Experience

Now 39, I seek advancement to the next level of my career.  My personal and career goals have not always been the first priority of our military family. My husband of almost 16 wonderful years has dedicated 27 years of service to this country.  He is fully supportive of my decision to pursue Graduate school. “Now it is your turn” he tells me with a smile.

As a hardworking professional and dedicated student, I earned my BA in Psychology and it has served me well since then as a professional.  I have over 12 years’ experience in the health care field.  The knowledge obtained with each step of my career has been an invaluable asset to my most current achievement as a Licensed Psychiatric Technician (PT).  My knowledge of multiple departments and operational procedures has been beneficial not only in my professional career, but will be a continued asset in my ability to excel in the MSW program, and later as a social worker.  As a military spouse I lived in Japan for 2.5 years and I came to adore the country and miss it daily. My spouse has been stationed overseas twice in the last 8 years. This last tour he went without me and our animals for 3 years and we have only been able to see each other twice a year.  He will return home to us April 2015. We have made enormous sacrifices as a result of his military service and I have only worked part-time for the last 3 years while pursuing my baccalaureate degree.  We have overcome many challenges, invented new strategies, in order to make our lives, marriage, and family a success.  This is why I feel called to work as a social worker, helping other military families cope with their unique challenges.

I met my husband 20 years ago and being married to a sailor has come to define my life professionally as well as personally.  I have been inspired by my travels while living abroad and the opportunities to visit Sydney Australia, Kuala Lumpur and Malacca while in Malaysia, exploring the land and connecting with the people.  I celebrate diversity through travel, new experiences; people from parts of the world that I hope to visit someday.

Since January of 2011, I have been employed with the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison (CSATF/SP), in XXXX, California. I have been afforded many growth opportunities as a Psychiatric Technician and for the last 3 years have been working in the capacity of the Medication Court Administrator (MCA) as a patient liaison and advocate for the facilities’ inmate/patient population requiring involuntary psychotropic medications.  Working in the Mental Health Crisis Beds (MHCB) I have become acutely aware of the great challenges facing our prison systems, resulting from economic constraints, principles of justice, and substance abuse problems that never go away.  Working in the MHCB has provided me with an increasingly in-depth look at patients suffering with debilitating mental illnesses and substance abuse addictions; after completing your program at UXX, I look forward to working with clients in my local community who often face complex, multifaceted challenges that with great frequency have something to do with substance abuse by one or more member of the family.

At CSATF/SP I provide Nursing and Mental Health care requiring extensive knowledge in both fields.  Developing educational and therapeutic groups approved by the interdisciplinary treatment teams; helps to ensure patient success and well-being.  We struggle to equip patients to initiate and maintain a proactive role in their mental health care, and continue to utilize their resources to achieve a successful re-integration, becoming productive members of our society, lowering recidivism rates.  I hope to focus much of my efforts working to keep marriages and families together and veterans out of jail and off the streets due to homelessness. This is why the social work program at UXX is my first choice, because you offer the Families and Children concentration and Military sub-concentration that is devoted to understanding and working with military service members and their families.  I hope to be an inspiration, a beacon of hope, and empower other military spouses to actively choose their futures; building upon our past as a testament to our strength.

Working with children, especially those growing up in abusive environments has always been my foremost passion.  My background might surprise you; as I was this child.  These two factors combined to make me especially motivated concerning the need to protect at risk children in our community, especially in our military community.  I am deeply engaged with the study of how child abuse transcends all socio-economic and ethnic classifications, with children all too often left to suffer in silence, voiceless. I seldom share the stories of my own abuse and when I do friends and co-workers are generally surprised and typically compliment me on my sense of strength.  My courage and sheer determination to overcome my own adversity as a child lead me to search out positive connections and interactions that I knew even at a very young age were missing; and many of those connections made during my childhood remain to this day.

Successfully overcoming the negative energy, circumstances, and experience of my childhood have resulted in the victory of who I am today, poised to enter your MSW program. My own therapeutic process has been extremely positive, rewarding and empowering not just for myself, but how I use the skills personally and professionally.  The resources that I personally found available through my own therapy have been key components in my success to manage of all aspects of my life. As a military spouse, and a former military child dependent I can relate to the military family and obstacles that we face. This is why it is imperative to break the stigmas and barriers that exist within the military community regarding mental health and how it relates to our overall well-being and the services accessible and available.

My goal is to work with veterans and families at the VA, military hospital and is largely inspired on a fundamental level by my own family tree of service member’s my grandfather, two uncles, step-father, and my spouse with respect to their military careers. I am most confident that my extensive experience in state hospitals and prisons will also inspire me to excel in your program at UXX as I explore many new areas and confront new issues, especially with respect to improving upon all aspects of social services.  I want to encourage spouses and children to find their voice, achieve a sense of self-worth and family-worth that will enable them to accomplish their own goals and aspirations while keeping families together and providing the stability that children need.

Documentation is one of the foremost barriers that prevent many active-duty service members, spouses and their families do not seek mental health services.  There is a fear or concern that any interaction with mental health will have a negative impact on the military service member’s career.  I have personally experienced this concern from my own spouse.  For the first 12 years of our marriage my husband was against any form of mental health assistance; despite my education and professional experience.  It has been 2 years now since his perception of this began to change and we have made a lot of progress together.

I would like to address the blemish regarding my undergraduate GPA.  In 2012, my only sibling was facing an extremely stressful and serious legal battle and the consequence was serious jail time. He was ultimately sentenced to a 4 year prison term.  Out of a sense of family and as his sister, I unselfishly put my educational goals on hold to help him cope, protect him, and prepare him for time spent gaining a new perspective on what his focus in life should be.  Soon, I returned to my own focus on finishing college--the only member of my immediate family to do so. Nevertheless, this resulted in my achievement of a cumulative GPA of only 3.371, still an outstanding accomplishment under the circumstances.  My plan is to focus fulltime on my Graduate course work.  I know what I am capable of and I com armed with an extensive professional understanding of the general outlines of the field of social work.

I am compassionate and empathetic with a strong sense of moral and ethical values and the pursuit of a Master’s Degree in social services has always been my ultimate goal, opening professional doors and resulting in profound opportunities to engage right here in my local community located in the Central Valley of California, XXXX.  My goals encompass not only working with children and their families but the enhancement of family structures, particularly through the advancement of therapeutic communication techniques. 

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For almost two decades now, I have supported myself and my family by helping applicants to graduate school draft eloquent and highly effective admission statements for degree programs BSW, MSW, DSW; and PHD. I am convinced that I have talent in this area as a bleeding heart, myself, a militant for healing and a lifelong learner; it is the stories of social workers that most intrigue me. Working on behalf of social workers keeps my heart engaged as well as my brain. 

With My Son Davy!