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

I am the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I am the youngest of five siblings, who is aiming to also be the first to earn a Master Degree. I come from two very dedicated parents who both served 20 years in the U.S. Army. My family has been my support and my driving force to finish school and be the best possible individual that I can be.
Since graduating I have been working at Sheppard Pratt Health System’s, Mann Residential Treatment Center. I began as an Education Teacher Assistance, after my first month, I received a request from my supervisor to apply for the position of Science teacher, working with students with severe emotional/behavioral issues. After taking this promotion I have been able to work on sharpening my skills on creating and implementing appropriate learning environment in the classroom setting. I have also had the pleasure of learning Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). With this training I am able to help co facilitate DBT skills group with our therapist. I also like to use DBT skills with my students in the classroom who may need it during difficult moments. I am able to effectively communicate with students based on my understanding of the developmental needs of adolescents and demonstrate knowledge of age-specific student needs in instruction. Outside of the classroom I was able to apply these skills in forming the first volleyball team within the Mann School. With the guidance of my coworkers and lead teacher I have fostered meaningful relationships through participation of meetings and working cooperatively with other members of the school.
I was also afforded the opportunity to work as a Resident advisor at Thomas J.S. Waxter Children's Center. During my time here I was able conduct tours, orientation, and educational sessions for residents and families. I provided emotional support and counseling to resident coping with loss and created and developed bereavement groups. I facilitated floor meetings to discuss concerns, reviewed complaints, and convey information about policy change. As well as, facilitating group sessions and provided one-on-one support.
In five years my aspiration and goals are to have become a certified school psychologist. I feel as though by becoming a school psychologist I will be able to make positive, lasting difference in children and adolescents' life. By working at Sheppard Pratt I have gained more insight on supporting students with mental health needs by providing counseling, assessing and evaluating individual differences to identify intervention strategies, and changing practices and policies to improve school outcomes. These skills will continue to assist in my career as a school psychologist in five and ten years. However, more specifically in ten years I hope have earned a doctorate in psychology, thus opening more opportunities within this profession. With a doctorate in psychology I will be able to provide more support by owning my own clinic. I will be able to reach more children and adolescents outside of school.
After attending Bowie State University for my undergraduate degree, I knew this was where I wanted to continue to pursue my goals and education. The School Psychology program has a lot to offer someone who is serious about becoming a licensed practitioner, such as myself. I am dedicated and passionate about this profession, at Bowie I will be able to take full advantage of core skills needed for a remarkable school psychologist. I also in intend to take full advantage and excel while at Bowie to apply for school psychology certification in the State of Maryland.
My personality and tenacious attitude are strengths that will add to this program and profession overall. With my personality I will be able to bring together people of various cultures and backgrounds to promote a learning environment that is safe and inclusive. I enjoy developing and creating the best way to change a behavior. This is typically done by developing a plan that helps the child be successful while changing their self-image. It is great when a behavior plan works, more so when the child’s attitude and world view has also changed. Another rewarding aspect to becoming a school psychologist is serving as link between families and the school, and between the school and the community. I believe that I possess many characteristic traits to add to this profession. I possess strong interpersonal skills, strong sense of ethics, and respect towards confidentiality, patience, and willingness to learn. Each one of these characteristics will allow me to better aid the community I will serve.

Valerie from Maryland
Bowie State University