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

Growing up in a family of chaos, marked by domestic violence, mental illness, and chronic health conditions, ignited my passion for issues of social injustice and neglect. Three years into my undergrad degree, I realized that my fervor for people was focused on issues including human trafficking. An opportunity opened to intern in D.C. with Shared Hope International, an anti-human trafficking organization. This experience was life-changing and since 2010, I continue to fight alongside abolitionists in this modern day slavery. Upon completion of my internship and graduation, I became a child care worker in a teenage boy’s group home. This job set a course of rising indignation toward injustices and for the next four years, I worked and served in the child welfare field. My career in social justice flourished after a teen told me about receiving probation for stealing shoes from Wal-mart. He shared that he stole the shoes for school because his mom could not buy him any. Realizing the toll that early neglect and abuse takes on the human body and psyche paved the way to my becoming a counselor on a crisis and detox unit. It is here on the crisis unit that my desire for providing licensed therapy was born and I decided to pursue returning to school. I believe that my own childhood experiences, along with frustrations of watching my parents neglect their mental and physical health, compounded with multiple work and volunteer exposures to injustices, have fueled a fire to empower others seeking recovery in an effort to free them from the same pain and heartache that accompanies unresolved trauma and mental illness. Therefore, I am pursuing my master’s degree in counseling, in order to receive licensure as a therapist, thereby creating space to provide intensive trauma therapy to individuals without hope. My goal is to restore the helplessness and hopelessness that often takes root in the midst of despair and ultimately to provide counsel to victims of human trafficking.

Karen from Illinois
Lincoln Christian University