Katelyn Conner

Update: Katelyn earned a master’s degree in 2017 and is currently a school counselor at Siegel Middle School in Murfreesboro, TN.

What are you doing now?

I have been a service coordinator with North Central Alabama Mental Retardation Authority for 2 years. I serve adults with intellectual disabilities by connecting them to the support services (residential, day habilitation, job training, personal care, etc.) they need to become fully integrated members of our society. As a case manager, I advocate for clients to receive the best quality of services and help them achieve their personal goals.

How did UNA's Psychology program help you achieve what you have become?

UNA's Psychology program helped prepare me for my current job and my future as a school counselor. While all of the individuals I assist have developmental delays, many individuals also have mental illness that requires additional support. My UNA degree helped give me an understanding of these different diagnoses and the physiology behind them. The information I learned in my Psychology of Learning class is extremely helpful in creating Behavior Support Plans and helping address maladaptive behaviors that hinder the individual. Every course in the UNA Psychology program helped prepare me to be successful in the mental health field.

What advice would you give students who are interested in becoming UNA Psychology majors?

One of the best things I did as an undergraduate student was to gain hands-on experience in this field. I volunteered at "The Healing Place" for about two years while at UNA, and this allowed me to take the knowledge I learned in the classroom and apply it to actually helping others. I also completed a practicum with "Attention Homes of Northwest Alabama." I believe these experiences helped me really see the impact my major could have on the individuals, family, and community. Fieldwork showed me that I had picked the right major and path for my future. So whether its volunteerism, internships, research, or psychology conferences, getting hands-on experience is invaluable.