Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

My name is Megan Gonzales and I am a 34-year old Hispanic single mother living in Texas. A doctoral degree is something I have considered for many years but is just not by any means the norm in my community, with my ethnicity, or position as a mother to be honest. However, recently while working within an Office of Refugee (ORR) program that I saw the overwhelming need for more licensed psychologists in our area. I have worked in the mental health field for the last 13 years so I always knew to an extent there was a shortage of psychologists in our area, but most recently my eyes were blown wide open to just how depleted our resources are.
In the type of program I currently work in, our goal is to reunify unaccompanied children with their family as quickly as possible while still taking all steps to ensure that the child is and will be both physically and mentally safe and secure in their new environment. This includes addressing any possible mental health needs the child may have. Due to the overwhelming number of traumas and experiences these children face not only while living in their home country but also in their journey to the United Sates, many of the children arrive to our facility with either a history or newly presented mental health symptoms and concerns. After fully assessing the child and finding the need for additional support, our process would then be to have the child evaluated by a psychologist. This is where the problem springs up. Most of our children are reunified with their family member within 2-8 weeks. Should a child present with any mental health concerns to the point where we refer to external psychological services, the child will most likely be in care for 6 months or possibly more. The majority of this time is waiting for a psychological evaluation or the psychological report. Our area in Texas only has a handful of psychologist and even fewer who are willing to see the population we care for. The psychologists who are willing to con

Megan from Texas
California Southern University