Psychology Alumni Spotlight
My name is Claudia Hernandez, and I am a first-generation undergraduate student at Saint Xavier University. I initially began my experience at SXU with the hope of completing a typical college degree. Fortunately, a degree from Saint Xavier University is far from typical.
Being a Hispanic minority and a child of immigrants, I took this opportunity to achieve what most people are not given the opportunity to obtain. This includes my parents who came to this country to provide for their families and who weren't given the prospect to further their own education. My family, my friends and the community at SXU has provided me with the love and support I needed to further my educational growth.
After declaring a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in sociology, I was exposed to a wealth of information and experience from countless faculty members at SXU. From the Racial and Ethnic Relations course to Individual and Group Counseling course to Statistics for the Social Sciences course at Saint Xavier University, I grew to understand society, individuals and myself. As a result, I am on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's List at Saint Xavier University; I am a Sexual Assault Advocate; and I was accepted into a total of eight graduate programs, ranging from doctoral degrees to Master of Arts and Master of Social Work.
With the support, knowledge and experience given to me, particularly from the exceptional Psychology Department at Saint Xavier University, I will be graduating in May 2017.
It has been an absolute pleasure to be an undergraduate student at Saint Xavier University. I owe countless professors everything and more for providing me with the necessary resources to further my educational career.
Job Title: Child Life Specialist
Company: Advocate Children's Hospital
Undergraduate SXU Major: Bachelor of Science in Clinical Counseling Psychology
How did your major prepare you for the job you are in?
"Having the opportunity to learn all about child development and the developmental stages of cognitive and social development are pieces of knowledge I use every single day in my job working with children/families and I'm always thankful for the professors who stressed the importance of learning those milestones."
What is the importance of internship experience?
"My internship experience was absolutely crucial to be in the specialized field that I'm now a member of. It gave me the opportunity to learn first hand from those who are already established in the field, complete different rotations in many sub specialties (Oncology, General Pediatrics, Radiology, etc), and build rapport/relationships with those who I now have the honor of calling my co-workers. My internship lead to my now full time job in a wonderful department filled with other intelligent, compassionate, resourceful, genuine and ambitious women."
Please explain how campus involvement paved a path for you in regards to career paths.
"Getting heavily involved on SXU's campus made all the difference for me as all of those organizations and activities are what made up my resume after graduation. The curiosity about those experiences lead to employers wanting to learn more about those leadership roles and how I juggled being a scholar/athlete/student leader because it helped me build skills that I now use in the real world. The other wonderful part about being very involved is that you have the opportunity to build relationships with so many SXU professionals who are usually more than willing to write stellar recommendation letters for those students they have worked with. My practicum supervisor still talks about how impressed she was when she received a very personalized recommendation letter on my behalf from President Wiseman."
Do you have any career advice that would be important to share?
"Talk to EVERYONE! It doesn't matter if they are in your desired field or not, because they could always have a connection or know someone who is involved that could lead you to a volunteer opportunity/internship/job of a lifetime. Also, be kind and never forget what it's like to be a student or new grad. Take the time to share your knowledge and help (to the best of your ability) anyone who reaches out to you as we've all been in those shoes."