2008, Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology
Hawai`i School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University
Executive Director at U.S. VETS - Barber's Point
“[The school’s] offering of a Doctor of Psychology track [instead of] a Doctor of Philosophy track spoke volumes to me, as I am not a researcher by heart. I wanted to learn the art of psychotherapy and healing people from within.”
Dr. Kimberley Cook is the executive director for U.S. VETS – Barber’s Point, an organization that provides comprehensive supportive services to veterans who are homeless and in need of assistance. She operates nearly 20 different programs and oversees 50 employees. “[Our organization is] the only veteran-specific program in the State of Hawai'i to not only directly serve our veterans, but interface with community members who support our veterans.
Cook is excited to work in the nonprofit field. “I have worked for many years with children with autism, in the field of chemical dependency, and with adults with severe mental illnesses. In 2009, I was given the opportunity to become a U.S. VETS clinical director and was given the responsibility of ensuring sound clinical practice for homeless and at-risk veterans reintegrating back in to society. In 2012, I transitioned to the executive director role,” she said.
Cook gains inspiration from the success of veterans within her program. “On any given night, we provide support services to nearly 800 veteran households in the community. Annually, we transition nearly 80% from homelessness to permanent sustainable housing, assist nearly 90% in maintaining their sobriety, and place approximately 100 veterans back in to competitive employment,” she said.
She considers her job to be a privilege and she’s proud to be part of an organization that’s doing important work within the community. “This year,” said Cook, “I humbly accepted one of our organization's highest honors, the ‘Executive Director of the Year’ award. I was also honored in 2016 as a VIP Woman of the Year Circle Honoree for the National Association of Professional Women.” In addition to her work as an executive director, Dr. Cook is a member of the West Oahu Professional Network (WOPN); the Argosy University, Hawai'i Advisory Board; and actively supports the March of Dimes and Make a Wish Foundations.
Cook chose to attend the Hawai`i School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University because of her passion to become a doctor and work in a healing profession. “The pursuit of my Doctor of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology was in perfect alignment with my childhood dream and my passion to serve. [The school’s] offering of a Doctor of Psychology track [instead of] a Doctor of Philosophy track spoke volumes to me, as I am not a researcher by heart. I wanted to learn the art of psychotherapy and healing people from within. [The school] met all of my academic and personal expectations.”
She adds that the rigorous academic program prepared her well for the standards expected in the real world. “The challenging timelines, amount of work, and support you receive along the way really mimicked for me what real world is like. It is chaotic and hard work is necessary to be successful. I absolutely loved the challenge and because of the challenge, I was well prepared for [my future],” said Cook.
Cook earned her Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from the Hawai`i School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in 2008. She describes the program as challenging and asserts the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life-education balance. She said, “the one thing that sticks out for me during my [school] experience was the peer and faculty support. This made a huge impact on my life and career because it taught me that no matter how difficult a situation is, with the proper support and people who understand the struggle, [you can] achieve success. This factor has made me a better supervisor for my staff, a better leader for our veterans, and a better colleague for my peers.”
She recommends that current students put in the hard work now—to see benefits in the future. “Trust in the program that Argosy University, Hawai'i has designed for you,” she advises. “It truly aligns with the community standard for your chosen discipline.”
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