The Human Services Professional Development Award is earned by two students each academic year. Award recipients are selected based on their academic excellence and ability to apply the components of Career Architecture. The winners attend a national conference for professionals in the field of human services and, upon their return, disseminate information about their experience at the conference to the Stevenson community. The winners for the 2011-2012 academic year were Molly Shapero and Cory Brown, who describe their experiences as follows:
Attending the National Organization for Human Services 2011 conference was enriching on both a professional and social level for Molly Shapero and Cory Brown.
Throughout the conference, Cory attended a variety of sessions that focused on at risk youth and new interventions to assist them. The use of multi-systemic therapy with adolescent groups was very intriguing to him. It focused on the idea of developing a team that consisted of a therapist and several family members to counsel an individual. While it was not considered family therapy, it was built on the premise that the development of support systems has a therapeutic value. Another session dealt with an alternative to school suspension. The main idea there involved incongruent messages that are sent to students when they are prohibited from the learning environment. The proposed alternative would be a three day suspension followed by 6 weeks of group therapy with both students and parents. Both of the sessions provided the foundation for strategies that Cory would like to implement upon entry into the human services field.
Through her experience, Molly was able to attend multiple workshops as well. One of which was on Social Justice, which she found enlightening as well as a good example of the importance of collaborative team work to sort out issues amongst other human services professionals. Through the lively discussion, Molly enjoyed hearing the various theories and approaches which are being implemented in the Human Services field today. In addition, another workshop Molly enjoyed was that on Journalism which gave out useful information for those looking to be published in a professional journal. This was something Molly believes will serve her well in her professional career, as well as her duration of coursework at Stevenson University and Graduate school.
In addition to attending sessions, Molly and Cory also had an opportunity to serve as co-presenters twice. They developed a poster presentation that highlighted the Human Services department at Stevenson. Entitled “Enhancing Education & Achievement for Human Services Students through Collaboration with Community Agencies,” it contained information about the coursework and internship components of the department. In addition to the poster, Cory and Molly also partnered with Ms. Lauri Weiner, a Human Services Professor at Stevenson, to highlight the dynamics of the U.S. immigration process. Both of these presentations evoked meaningful debate and sharing of knowledge among conference attendees.