Kaitlyn O’Donnell (2014)
I graduated in 2014 with a major in psychology and a double minor in Substance Abuse Counseling and Criminology. The summer after my junior year I found an internship with the Housing Authority of Bergen County with the clinical coordinator at the Bergen County Housing Health and Human Services Center. This building houses the county’s single adult homeless shelter. During my internship I had the opportunity to complete intakes, work on assessments, create treatment plans and goals with clients, and work with them to help them secure the resources they needed to exit the shelter. At the end of the summer I was offered a part time position by the non-profit that runs the physical aspect of the shelter within the building. I worked my entire senior year of college as a Shelter Support staff member and worked daily with the clients to ensure both the smooth operation of the shelter and also in the daily community outreach program. When I graduated with my degree I was offered a full time position with a partnering agency Alliance Against Homelessness of Bergen County as a case manager. In this position I work with individuals diagnosed with a disability receiving a subsidized housing voucher to assist them secure an apartment, move-in, and successfully become independent in the community. After one year with the agency in June of 2015 I was promoted to Senior Case Manager at the agency. I still have my case load, and now also assist the other case managers in their day to day activities. In September of 2015 I started the three-year part time Masters of Social Work Program at Ramapo College, allowing me to continue to work full time and attend classes at night. I look forward to seeing what opportunities lie ahead in the field of Community Mental Health, far from where I thought I would end up working, but exactly where I belong.
Ashley Beaton (2013)
I graduated Ramapo College in May 2013; while at Ramapo, I majored in Psychology, minored in Literature, and earned an Elementary Education certification. From September 2013-May 2015, I attended University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and received two Master’s degrees within the school’s Applied Psychology and Human Development Department: a Master’s of Science in Counseling and Mental Health Services and a Master’s in Philosophy in Professional Counseling. At the end of my two years at UPenn, I had met the requirements to apply for licensure as a counselor in the state of New Jersey and took the National Counseling Exam. As of June 2015, I was hired at Robin’s Nest, Inc., a children’s services agency that services South Jersey (Burlington, Camden, Salem, Gloucester, Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties), to work in their Outpatient Services department. I work as a fee-for-service outpatient therapist, and am currently licensed in the state of NJ as a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), working toward my LPC.
Runa Khanom (2013)
While I was at Ramapo College, I majored in Psychology and minored in Gerontology. After graduation, I enrolled in the Master’s program at New York University, where I pursued a degree in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. After graduation, I was studying for my licensure exam in order to practice therapy. I am a licensed associate counselor (LAC) in the state of New Jersey and I am currently in the process of obtaining my New York State license. I work at the Acute Partial Hospital Program at Bergen Regional Medical Center, where I work with patients who suffer from co-occurring disorders. As an LAC I provide individual/group therapy, formulate treatment plans, conceptualize cases, complete comprehensive psychosocial assessments, advocate for patients, and participate in the interdisciplinary care planning. Overall, my experiences at Ramapo College and along with the guidance from faculty members, provided me with the opportunity to explore my interest, which led me to find my passion.
Dominique DeJean (2013)
I graduated from Ramapo as a psychology major. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to work with kids and that graduate school was in my future. As part of my fieldwork for Abnormal Psychology, I interned at a school for children and adults age 3 – 21 with developmental disabilities. Within my first few hours, I quickly realized that is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Rather than switching majors senior year, I decided to continue with my psychology degree and go to graduate school to get my master’s/initial certification in special education. Having a psychology background has not only helped me with my graduate coursework (there is a lot of research-reading involved!), but it has given me an invaluable advantage and insight into my students and their needs. Specifically, I utilize strategies and knowledge from child, cognitive, and developmental psychology on a daily basis. If I could go back and do it all again, I would still choose to major in psychology.
Nicole Catalano (2012)
Hi! My name is Nicole and I graduated from Ramapo College in May of 2012. I held a double major in psychology and social science as well as a double minor in community mental health and science technology. With the support of my undergraduate professors, I was able to enter graduate school immediately in September of 2012. The courses that assisted me the most in my graduate studies were: Abnormal Psychology (as I constantly diagnose and assess individuals), Research Methods and Data Analysis (yes, as difficult as it is, you will be that much more prepared in graduate school!), and Advanced Topics in Psychopathy (I have encountered several clients who present with the symptoms). Above all, my internships and fieldwork have prepared me the most, and I definitely recommend getting more experience if you are able.
I attended Monmouth University’s Psychological Counseling program, which allowed me to have flexibility in scheduling in-person, hybrid, and online courses. I chose to take the 60-credit track and specialized in addiction studies as well as obtained certifications to become eligible as a Substance Awareness Coordinator and School Counselor. I graduated in May of 2015 and was very fortunate to obtain employment after graduate school in several settings. I have worked as a Behavioral Specialist at a summer camp for at-risk youth, a child and adolescent therapist in Trenton, and took a maternity leave position as a guidance counselor at the elementary level. Currently, I work in a substance abuse outpatient center where I am able to work with adults and adolescents who also present with co-occurring psychiatric disorders. I hold licensure as an associate counselor (LAC) in New Jersey and am working towards gaining hours so I can practice as a private practitioner someday with a license as a professional counselor (LPC). I am so thankful that Ramapo gave me the proper tools and education to succeed in graduate school and in my career!
Julia Nardone-Yoskowitz (2012)
I earned my Masters of Art Degree in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in School Counseling from Caldwell University. The program is a 48 credit, CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) accredited program providing a New Jersey School Counseling certification and license K-12. I completed my program in 2 ½ years graduating in December 2014 and was employed by August 2015.
For the program, I completed 12 courses; 3 of the courses included Practicum (100 hours) and Internship I (300 hours) and Internship II (300 hours) for licensure. I interned for the West Orange Board of Education with an on-site supervisor who was required to be a certified school counselor with a minimum of 2 years in the district. I completed my practicum hours at an elementary school. I wanted to continue and complete my hours only at the elementary level but my supervisor insisted I get middle school and high school experience to make myself more marketable in the field (best advice I received throughout my program). For my internship hours I remained in West Orange but completed hours in elementary, middle and high school.
I am currently employed by The Bridge in West Caldwell, New Jersey as an Elementary School Counselor for the Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education (CWCBOE). The Bridge and CWCBOE collaborated and received a grant to provide a counselor in all four of their elementary schools.
At the elementary level, I do the following:
- Once a month guidance lessons K-5 on character education, conflict resolutions or specific topics requested by the teacher.
- Individual counseling (weekly or bi-weekly) for students with: academic issues, anxiety, friendship issues, negative school attitude and behavior, grief, etc.
- Small group counseling: groups consist of 6-8 students for 6 to 8 weeks on different topics such as social skills, anger management, organizational skills, etc.
- I&RS (Intervention & Referral Services) meetings with other school staff to assist students who are struggling academically.
- 504 plans for students with disabilities to provide them with accommodations in the classroom to ensure the student’s academic success.
- Crisis intervention
Brielle Marino (2011)
I graduated from Ramapo College in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. From there, I attended a two-year master’s program at NYU in counseling psychology, where I was able to refine my clinical skills and study abroad in London and Rome. With my master’s degree, I was eligible to sit for the state licensure exam as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). From there, I landed a job at a private practice managing a caseload of 20 patients. I am currently a 3rd year doctoral student in clinical psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). PCOM is primarily a medical school, and so my training there has been centered around the role of psychology in primary care with an equal emphasis on research. I currently extern at Weill-Cornell New York Presbyterian where I provide individual and group psychotherapy to individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, in addition to administering neuropsychological assessments. I am working on my second publication for the Journal of Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports, and slowly chipping away at my dissertation on identifying subtypes of schizophrenia through differential neurocognitive profiles. I have authored two books, The Last Eve (2015) and Wilhelmina and the What Ifs (2016).
Throughout my academic training, I strongly believe that Ramapo College has provided me with the foundation necessary for pursuing a career in clinical psychology. Some of the most helpful courses have been in psychopathology, research methodology, and cognitive psychology. Ramapo also afforded me opportunities to conduct research under the supervision of Dr. Ishak, and to present at psychological conferences. My education at Ramapo not only prepared me for graduate level coursework, but continues to inform my everyday practice.
Wendy Levine (2011)
I graduated Ramapo in the winter of 2011, since that time I attended William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ and earned my M.A. in Clinical & Counseling Psychology. This was a licensing-track program but it also gave me the option to continue on to earn my doctorate, which is why I initially chose the program. My tuition for graduate school was waived because I took on a Graduate Assistantship, which is also something I would highly advise.
I am now a licensed psychotherapist and work at West Bergen Mental Healthcare out of their Mahwah/Wyckoff NJ location. As a Core Staff Therapist, my caseload consists of clients ages 4-75, with various diagnoses ranging from ADHD and behavioral issues, adjustment issues, anxiety (e.g. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Trichotillomania etc.) depression, personality disorders, eating issues and other impulse control disorders. I also run weekly social skills groups and go into the elementary schools to lead character education groups. I also have worked with several LGBT clients in adolescence and early adulthood. In addition, I teach undergraduate psychology courses as an adjunct at William Paterson. I have taught General Psychology which is “Introduction to Psychology” at Ramapo and also Physiological Psychology that is akin to Ramapo’s “Behavioral Neuroscience” course.
It has been a busy few years since my time at Ramapo. I absolutely would not have the strong psychology background I need for both my positions had it not been for the education I received.
Jessica Jordan (2011)
MSW from Rutgers School of Social Work and currently licensed as an LSW and working on my LCSW.
When I was an undergrad and majoring in psychology, I thought I was going to enroll in a PsyD program, become a psychologist, and have my own private practice for the mentally ill. (I was fascinated by people with mental illness.) In my last semester at Ramapo, I was set up with fieldwork at a transitional housing placement for mentally ill adults. This is where I had my first interaction with this population. I spoke with workers at the home who were employed as “case managers” and I asked them all kinds of questions about the field and what credentials you need to do what kind of work. I realized I needed to take a year off from school to work, so I could figure out which direction I want to take before making a big commitment such as a PsyD program. (4 more years, more student loans, more time away from living my life.)
After I graduated, I found a job as a case manager for mentally ill adults in a partial-care program, which is a program for chronically mentally ill adults that struggle with living independently. This included a lot of re-directing people to take their medication and come to program. It wasn’t very clinical, which is what I had been craving but had been unable to find because every job I applied for required an MSW, LSW, especially LCSW, and/or LPC. I can’t say I hated it, because I learned a lot but I quickly realized I needed another degree to do the kind of work I wanted. My supervisor there was an LSW and encouraged me to go to social work school. At the time, I wanted to focus more on therapy or possibly even mental health screening. After researching the field, I realized how versatile the degree is. I can become a therapist and have my own practice or I can work in an HIV clinic, or I can become a supervisor of a program and other endless opportunities, whereas, if I didn’t end up liking 1 specific area of focus like school counseling, for example, I wouldn’t end up stuck. So I enrolled in Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work and it has helped me grow TREMENDOUSLY. I know I am biased, but I feel strongly about the MSW curriculum. It provides you with excellent training in various areas. LPC (counseling) or PsyD students that I have seen in my internships have said that their training, salaries and quality of jobs are pretty equal to social workers –if that helps with worrying about which direction to take at all.
I got an internship at Mountainside Hospital in their behavioral health outpatient unit in grad school and quickly saw how the mental health world works. That experience has helped me land my current position that I’ve had since I graduated grad school, got licensed as a social worker and resigned from being a case manager. I am now a mental health and substance abuse clinician in a partial hospitalization program at Trinitas Hospital. This entails intensive group therapy and individual therapy for patients with acute psychiatric symptoms and substance abuse, for a duration of 4-8 weeks before discharging them to outpatient care where I also hold a small individual therapy caseload. This, of course, includes all types of paperwork such as treatment planning, etc. I also do intakes and screenings and whatever else manages to come my way. So, now I get all the clinical work I want!
Social work school can be done in either a full-time, 2 year period or a part-time, 4 year period where you have classes and internships. After that, you can apply for your license and take the exam to become an LSW. After that, you work in the field, and obtain a certain amount of hours that equates to 2 years of full-time work, get supervision for cases (someone to talk to about your cases—which is not always provided at every job and would otherwise be an extra expense for you!) and take another exam, among other requests such as transcripts, background checks, etc. to become an LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker. This is what you need to have your own private practice as a social worker, unless you are a doctor. This is where I am now and I know I am in the right place. My advice would be to work in the field before committing to a next step because it can be a lot different than how you may think it is now. Or at least, that was my experience. But don’t get me wrong, if you are full on focused in a certain area and are ready to enroll in a doctoral program then awesome! Everyone loves it if you can add PHD at the end of your name. J
Jennifer Voelker (2011)
I graduated from New York University in 2014 with a MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. I currently hold a provisional license to practice counseling in NJ (LAC- Licensed Associate Counselor) and am working towards full licensure in NJ and PA. For the past year I have been working for Care Plus NJ, Inc. for the Partnership for Children Program as an IIC (Intensive In Community Clinician) providing in-home individual and/or family therapy to children, adolescents and their families to increase family stabilization and address the emotional/behavioral needs of children and adolescents throughout Bergen County. While at Care Plus NJ, I took part in training to be considered a “trauma-focused clinician” to provide trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy to children and adolescents. I also took part in training through the International Association of Trauma Professionals and am now a Certified Clinicial Trauma Professional (CCTP). I recently accepted a full time clinical counselor position with Progressive Health of PA, Inc. providing individual and group therapy for adults that have sustained a traumatic brain injury (moderate to severe) and am currently being trained as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.
I am extremely passionate about working with trauma survivors and the importance of early mental health care interventions after a traumatic event. This passion led me to also pursue training in disaster response and crisis counseling. I am now certified in NJ as a DRCC (Disaster Response Crisis Counselor) and volunteer with the Medical Reserve Corp. in NYC.