When I discovered Human Development and Family Studies, I was thrilled to pursue a major with the foundation of learning about people and family systems in such a wide variety of contexts. Human interaction is everywhere, and this major allowed me to dive deep into important factors that lay the groundwork for how each individual approaches the world, such as family systems, culture, and past experiences. This degree opened my eyes to ways that I might be able to combine my passion for working with children and teens and my interest in helping people who are hurting.
While at SPU, I discovered the field of child life and couldn’t believe that a job existed that so perfectly fit my passion. Child life specialists work primarily in the hospital setting, with the goal of walking alongside children and teens, helping them cope and feel safe during some of their most difficult moments, using our therapeutic tools and expertise to normalize, advocate and play, ensuring that an illness or diagnosis is never all that defines a child and their family.
Following graduate school and a clinical internship, I began my career at Children’s Hospital Colorado as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). This past year, I had the privilege of adding “facility dog handler” to my title. Galaxy is a sweet, goofy, two-year-old golden retriever who was raised as a certified service dog to provide therapeutic support in the hospital. Galaxy is my full-time partner at work, and together we continue to serve patients and families, with the goal of bringing whatever support is needed. I continue to feel blessed by my time at SPU.