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

I am currently pursuing a Master’s in Forensic Counseling degree. I have always had an intense interest in criminal psychology. Even as a child, I grew up watching Criminal Minds, CSI, and other similar crime shows. However, it wasn’t until I entered into the workforce that I saw the true impact of mental health issues and lack of resources among underserved populations, and how those factors contributed to higher levels of incarceration and criminal behaviors.
I first began working in my field at a residential mental health facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This facility catered specifically to adolescents with sexual maladaptive behaviors. In other words, kids who had experienced childhood sexual abuse, and had themselves become sexual abusers, worked in the sex industry, or were on a path that could lead them to be sex trafficked. The vast majority of my residents came from underserved, oppressed populations and families who had a history of abuse and incarceration. Working with these children, hearing their stories and feeling their pain, helped me to truly understand how important it is to destigmatize mental illness in these populations, and provide adequate, accessible mental health care so that we can reduce recidivism rates, keep families together, and help break the cycle of abuse.

Kimberly from Illinois
Adler University