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Student Profile: Jessica Verboomen, Bachelor of Arts in Human Services
Jessica Verboomen found her perfect fit at CityU. With an associate degree in human services, and years of experience in the chemical dependency workforce, Jessica pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services to grow her career and develop a broader reach. Through the internship portion of the program, she worked at a student support service agency and was subsequently hired on full time. Congratulations to Jessica who will receive her diploma this summer!
City University of Seattle (CU): Can you tell us a little more about yourself? What’s your professional background?
Jessiva Verboomen (JV): I was raised in Grays Harbor and relocated to Pacific County shortly after my husband found employment in Raymond, WA. After completing my associate degree in human services through the local community college in 2009, I began an internship and entered the workforce full time to pursue my Chemical Dependency Professional State Certification, which I obtained in 2010. I have spent the past several years providing treatment and family services to adult and adolescent populations struggling with addiction.
CU: Why did you decide to enroll in the bachelor’s in human services?
JV: Even though I had experience under my belt and had built a great reputation within my field, I felt like I could do more. After graduating from my associate’s program, I started working toward a bachelor’s through another state college but I had difficulty relating to the course material and teaching style. When my husband and I decided to start a family, I took a break. I always knew I wanted to go back and finish my bachelor’s but I knew I wanted to attend a different school with different goals. I spent years trying to speculate the “perfect” time to go back to school, and finally, with a lot of encouragement from my professional peers (one colleague in particular pointed me to CityU, she is an alumni and raved about the program) and full support of my husband, I found CityU! I had one conversation with my adviser and I just knew it was going to be a perfect fit. Human services has always been my passion and I felt the program at CityU would prepare me for a fulfilling and impactful career.
CU: What did you learn, and how will this degree help further your professional goals?
JV: I learned so much it’s difficult to condense it all. There isn’t a single class I took that didn’t translate into practical knowledge I currently use – and will continue to use years from now. While enrolled in the program, I continued to work in chemical dependency and have been able to apply so much knowledge to my current style and practices. This degree started as something I just wanted to finish for my career and myself, but has turned into a stepping stone to where I want to go in the future. It wasn’t until a few months ago I really understood just how many doors will open for me professionally – and in so many different fields and areas – now that I’ve completed my Bachelor’s in Human Services. I am also exploring opportunities to continue into a master’s program.
CU: You interned at True North Student Assistance and Treatment Services and were hired on afterward. How did your education at CityU prepare you for the internship and your current role?
JV: True North is a student support service agency offered through Capital Region ESD 113. CityU’s human services program had several classes emphasizing community advocacy, community change, and family development. These areas are often touched on in the workplace, but many agencies choose not to or are unable to truly emphasize their importance. True North is one of the few agencies I am aware of that places a high importance on these components. CityU’s classes in these specific areas well prepared me for my internship and current role at True North, and CityU provided the education to fulfill these needs and roles.
CU: Would you encourage others to study human services at CityU? Any advice for them?
JV: I absolutely would and have encouraged others to apply for this program at CityU! Anytime anyone mentions going back to school, especially within my field, I talk their ear off about my experience at CityU. My advice would be to try and savor each moment, each assignment, and each class because it goes by so quickly.
CU: Are you planning to apply for jobs after you graduate? Where do you want to end up?
JV: I am not planning on applying for jobs after graduation due to the simple fact that I have one! Going through CityU’s bachelor’s program I’ve learned of the many open doors and opportunities in other areas of human services. The internship portion of the degree allowed me to explore other agencies and career options with a different population. (I was working with adults, my internship has been with teenagers.) This change in pace, along with the content of the program, has reminded me exactly why I started in human services to begin with. My passion has always been to advocate, support, and educate the adolescent population. Thankfully, my internship placement has turned into permanent employment and I intend on remaining with True North.