Cassie Larson ’17

I came to SPU as a freshman with an undecided major, praying that God would give me wisdom as to what my next steps should be. As I researched different majors, I was immediately intrigued by the Human Development and Family Studies major (HDFS) in the Family and Consumer Science Department (FCS). What attracted me was the HDFS mission to improve the quality of life for all individuals through a holistic approach of working with families and communities. Because services for individuals and families are needed in a variety of environments and contexts, there is a wide range of job opportunities.

Within FCS I had the opportunity to study human development and the external factors in life that can negatively impact an individual, such as poor housing, lack of nutrition, neglect, abuse and even the involvement of social services and the justice system within a family. FCS provided me with a foundation of knowledge regarding the health and wellness of individuals, families and communities. While attending SPU, I felt God drawing me to help people who had been abused by human trafficking. SPU provided an opportunity to put my passion and skills to work in the community. I became heavily involved with an anti-trafficking organization in Seattle and volunteered at King County Juvenile Detention Center. Through these experiences and my FCS studies, a strong desire to work with neglected or abused children and adolescents was revealed within me, and I went on to pursue a career that provides restoration and recovery to these children.  

During my senior year I applied for a field office internship with International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is an international organization that partners with local law enforcement and governments in developing countries to protect the poor from violence. This internship led to position as an Executive Assistant in support of IJM Ghana in combating forced labor slavery of children on Lake Volta. Justice systems, government, social services, communities, families, and the church: all have a role to play in ending violence against the poor. These institutions are connected and need to work with one another to make a difference in the lives of children, women, and men who are being abused.

After spending a year living and working in Ghana, I had the opportunity to move to Washington D.C. to join IJM HQ as the Regional Senior Coordinator for South Asia. In my current role, I support our field offices in South Asia who are combating sex trafficking and forced labor slavery. To focus more on children individually, I plan to go back to school to obtain a master’s degree in counseling with a focus on child and adolescent development. My desire is to combine my passion, education, experience, and gifts to pursue a career in child counseling.