Carla Ramirez has always known that she wanted to work with adolescents and their families. “I started my psychology path at California State University, Los Angeles, receiving a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Child Maltreatment and Family Violence Certificate. I then decided to gain as much experience as possible and ended up working for four years at a Residential Group Home called Maryvale in Rosemead, California.”
She decided to further her education at Argosy University, San Diego, to build opportunities for employment in the mental health field. She recently began working as a mental health caseworker with the San Diego Unified School District. The district sent her to New Orleans for intensive training, and upon returning back to San Diego, she saw first-hand just how important her work is to the families she serves. “My job position is community based, and provides counseling services to families and adolescents on probation.”
Carla says that the highest point of her career has been working closely with multidisciplinary teams across San Diego County, including the Juvenile Probation Department, Juvenile Court, nonprofit organizations and the San Diego District Juvenile Attorney’s office. “I’ve not only learned from so many professionals, but I’ve witnessed their passion and dedication in working with our youth and families.” She stresses that current psychology students should stay focused and embrace their passion. “Be proud of who you are and what you’ve become, because through great education and great experiences great things happen.”
Carla faced a career challenge when she was laid off from a job she loved. “It was heartbreaking and it took a toll on me emotionally. I had seen it before, working for non-profit organizations, but never thought it'd happen to me.” She stayed optimistic and with the support of her husband and family, landed her current job.
She adds that she decided to pursue her Master’s degree because she knew it would help her make a bigger difference in the community. “I chose Argosy University, San Diego because of its structured program, testimonials, and ability to work with students who have busy lives and schedules. In addition, I’d heard that Argosy University had amazing professors who were clinicians and active in the community.”
Carla, who in 2011 earned a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University, San Diego, says that her education impacted her both personally and professionally. “Being a clinician is not easy, but it has helped me become humble, mindful, and respectful to those I serve in the community. Argosy University did an amazing job stressing the importance of being culturally sensitive to those we work with within our field.” She cites her instructors as being clinicians who brought real work experience and passion into the classroom. “They were always available for their students and extremely supportive.”
Carla received help from the school to find a “perfect fit” with a practicum site. “The support was always there, and thanks to Argosy University I was able to find my passion for grief therapy. I did my one-year practicum at San Diego Hospice & The Institute of Palliative Medicine. That experience prepared me to be the clinician I am today.”
She notes that aside from being a clinician, she is a photographer. “Through my photography, I make an effort to tell a story based on the people I meet. I'm currently developing a project through street photography in which I bring awareness to our San Diego community regarding homelessness and mental health and substance abuse issues.”
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