Kerry ZuWallack ’09 (Baltimore, Md.) is using her passion for the military to shape her career in mental health.
To say Kerry “wears many hats” would be an understatement. She works as a residential counselor in the Sheppard Pratt Healthcare System, interns in the Trauma Recovery Outpatient unit at the Baltimore VA Hospital and is completing her final semester at the University of Maryland, where she is pursuing her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work.
“After graduating York College with my bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science, I was able to pursue my career in mental health right away, working at Sheppard Pratt with underprivileged, emotionally disturbed youth,” she said. “This opportunity taught me a great deal and helped better my chances of getting into University of Maryland School of Social Work, an accomplishment that I am very proud of.”
While working at Sheppard Pratt and on her master’s, Kerry was accepted for an internship at the Baltimore VA Hospital working with veterans whose primary diagnosis is post-traumatic stress disorder. She is now applying for a highly-competitive social work internship/supervisee position with the United States Navy.
“If I am accepted into this program, I will be directly commissioned into the United States Navy and serve as a social worker, working with the military population,” she said. “My passion is serving the military population, therefore if I am chosen for this unique opportunity, it could potentially set up my career as a licensed clinical social worker.
While a student at York College, Kerry used her professors as resources to guide her on her current path.
“Dr. Kathy Brace helped me tremendously with choosing courses to meet my needs,” she said. “And without her Dr. Laura Steck, I would not have gotten my internship at the York County Prison.”
At the prison, Kerry worked alongside their mental health counselor. She was able to rotate throughout many other jobs in the prison including intake, cell placement and anger management.
“This internship was my first hands-on experience working in the mental health field and allowed me to broaden my horizons with possible interests after graduating,” she said.
Kerry believes that students in Behavioral Science should further their education in order to progress in their career and be proud of the help they will one day provide.
“Don’t get frustrated or discouraged by the continuing obstacles and education that is needed to be successful in this field,” she said. “Take a variety of courses, expand your horizons by working with different populations and advocate for yourself throughout this journey. With the recent tragedies in the United States, this degree is needed, and we are the young professionals that will help shape its future.”
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