Alumni Profile: Robin Woods, M.S.Ed. '13

What was your educational/career background coming into the program?

I obtained a B.S. from Geneva College majoring in Human Services.  I am currently employed at the University of Pennsylvania working with a diverse population of students and faculty.  In addition to my FT job, I am a licensed and ordained Christian minister.  I serve as the coordinator for my church’s community outreach program working with a broad spectrum of constituents in the Philadelphia area.

Why did you choose SMHC at Penn GSE? 

I chose the SMHC program because I believed it was the best fit to immerse me in a gamut of worldviews and provide me with an opportunity to understand the most salient issues facing our local community. 

How has the integration of school & mental health counseling in our program contributed to your education/experience?

The integration between school and mental health counseling in the program has provided me with critical insight and knowledge into how issues within the school system may have a significant correlation to the family structure and mental health issues.

What has the experience of the program been like in regards to time management? How have/did you balance work, family, field placements, classes, assignments, etc.?

Time management was a challenge.  It was necessary for me to continue as a full-time employee and this proved to be quite challenging in securing an appropriate internship.  Initially, my internship was not what I desired, however, I soon realized that it help me to discover personality characteristics that had not been previously revealed.  My placement was one of the best experiences of my life in terms of my personal growth and professional development.  I had to give up a great deal of family time and obligations in order to fulfill my responsibilities.  As a reward, however, I would also schedule time in between time-consuming assignments to spend time with my family.  The Mondays after a weekend session were exclusively for me!

How has the diversity of the cohort contributed to your experience? 

The diversity of the cohort provided, and continues to provide, a wealth of cultural enrichment and resources. In fact, the knowledge base of the cohort was one of the most attractive features of the program.

Describe the program's focus on urban education & mental health issues.

I am currently developing programs for the local community and youth under the auspices of my church.  I am also consulting with organizations in the City of Philadelphia on various programs for youth and social impact initiatives, and to provide resources for clients in substance abuse/mental health facilities.