Program: Human Services (program chair)
Education/Industry Certifications: Master of Social Work from University of Nebraska at Omaha; Bachelor of Science in Social Work and Sociology/Anthropology (minor in Business Administration) from Nebraska Wesleyan University; Graduation Certificate from The Academy for Leadership and Development
Has Taught at SCC Since: 2010
Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: 16 years working in Human Services with children, youth, families, and management.
Describe your teaching philosophy.My teaching philosophy is to fully engage students in the classroom. The textbook is important for students to read the information, and the activities in class help students apply the information from the textbook. I use class discussions, group activities, problem solving, and critical thinking exercises, guest speakers and case studies to enhance student learning. I bring real-life case studies into the classroom for students to utilize critical thinking skills. Students need to be prepared when dealing with real-life/crisis situations. I enjoy getting information from students to understand their current knowledge and building upon this to get them to the next level.
Why did you decide to teach at a community college?I decided to teach at a community college because the company that I worked for suddenly closed, and I found myself looking to start a new chapter in life. I truly believe in education and the doors it can open for you. I enjoyed teaching employees how to work with specific populations and wanted to be able to do this for students entering the profession.
What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?Prospective students can expect a quality education to prepare them to work with various populations in the profession. They can expect to learn the skills needed to be able to handle crisis/disruptive situations, use problem solving/critical thinking skills, basic communication skills, be culturally competent, promote social justice, advocate for others, and seek available resources. Students will be challenged to meet human needs and have a commitment to improving the quality of life for others. They can expect support from faculty to encourage and give feedback when needed.
What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?I started out in the field as a direct service provider working with children, youth and families. I was promoted to a supervisor overseeing family support and visitation services. I was able to write a request for proposal to start a program to keep families together called Intensive Family Preservation. I have also supervised Community Treatment Aide, Outpatient Therapy, Foster Care, In-Home Safety, Family Engagement, Crisis Intervention, and Shelter care for youth. I was promoted to a managerial position supervising up to 35 staff and being on call for crisis situations 24/7. I was trained by the Council on Accreditation to oversee the accreditation process and participated in the site visit. I bring real-life scenarios into the classroom.
What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program? The advice I would give students is that you do not have to have all of the answers. You will be constantly learning in this field. You will be faced with difficult situations and new experiences on a daily basis. It is exciting to know that each day is different and it is an opportunity to be a “change agent” in the lives of others. Be excited about opportunities that are out there for you. You will need to have strong oral and written communication skills and have the ability to develop rapport with others. You will see people at their worst, and you need to remember to have empathy and start with their strengths to give them hope. Also, one of the most important things to remember is to take care of yourself and know how to relieve stress.
What do you enjoy most about working with students?I enjoy seeing students grow within the program and gain confidence. I like when a student has that “a-ha” moment when what they learned in a classroom has transitioned and can be applied into a practicum experience.
What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?I am very grateful for the opportunity to be at SCC and the wonderful people I have met and been able to work with. I have been able to learn from other instructors within the program and division. I have a very supportive division dean who has encouraged and challenged me.
What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?My proudest moment is when I see students who are getting ready to graduate and they gain the confidence to want to further their education or find that dream job that is the right fit for them. Some of our students are first-generation students, and when they earn their degree the sense of accomplishment they have and how they can do anything they set out to do.
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?When I am not teaching, my favorite thing to do is to work out. I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends, listening to music (Keith Urban), trying new places to eat, traveling and watching sporting events, especially Husker football.
What would students be surprised to know about you?Students would be surprised to know that I played basketball in high school and broke my nose. I was going for a rebound and got elbowed by an opposing player.
Is there anything you’d like to add?I am very fortunate to have a great group of instructors to work with, my dean, the administration, and others at the college. My job is very rewarding, and I am constantly learning.