New Member Spotlight: Mary Garafalo

1)     What is your background in psychology (e.g., education)?

My interest in psychology began in high school when I enrolled in AP Psychology as a senior.  As I made my way through the curriculum, something just clicked and I knew that this was the field for me.  After high school, I continued to study psychology throughout college at the University of Minnesota where I enrolled in courses such as Social Psychology, Cultural Psychology, and the Psychology of Human Sexuality.  Each specific course provided the opportunity for me to expand my psychological knowledge while reinforcing my passion for the field.

2)     Describe your current occupation and any involvement in the Minnesota Psychological Association if applicable.

I recently obtained a full-time position as a Residential Counselor through Avanti Center for Girls.  At Avanti, I will be working with girls ages 13-18 who exhibit various traits that could lead to mental health disorders in the future.  In addition to this position, I also have an internship through Perspectives, Inc.  At this internship, I work with members of divorced families as a Parent Coach through their Parenting Time Program.  This program allows non-residential parents to have supervised visitation with their children while improving essential parenting skills.  Finally, I also currently volunteer as a receptionist at a fantastic clinic called Walk-In Counseling Center.  This clinic is volunteer-based and provides free counseling to any and all who are experiencing a variety of issues.

3)      What inspired you to pursue a degree in psychology?

I was inspired to pursue a degree in psychology because of its multifaceted nature.  A psychology degree opens many doors and provides a variety of opportunity for careers and professional growth.  When deciding to pursue a degree in psychology, I ultimately believed that it would provide integrated knowledge while teaching highly applicable and limitless skills (and I was right!)

4)      Why did you join the Minnesota Psychological Association?

I first heard about the Minnesota Psychological Association through the University of Minnesota Psychology department.  I decided to join the Association because I believed it would provide many opportunities for creating connections throughout the psychology field and that it would be an excellent means of continuing my psychological learning after graduation.

5)      What do you hope to learn/gain from your new membership?

Very similar to my answer above, I hope to learn from those who have more direct experience in the psychology field than I currently do through attending lectures, meetings, and conferences.  I also hope to create meaningful connections through networking with other members in the Minnesota Psychological Association.

6)      Any outside hobbies/interests you do not mind sharing?

My hobbies and interests unrelated to psychology include yoga, cooking, reading, traveling, spending time with friends and family, as well as being outdoors (let’s hope it warms up sometime soon!)

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