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Isabella Sereno

Degree, Program, and date of graduation: M.A Mental Health Counseling, May 2017

Dates of working with the WGD Program: August, 2015 – May, 2017

What work did you do with the WGD program?

“During my time at the WGD, I served as a graduate assistant working for Dr. Maria Elisa Christie in literature reviews, budget planning, and transcription of interviews in Spanish, development of currency charts, and data analysis, amongst others. I have also assisted in the development of the Gender, Environment, and International Development course for spring 2016 and the spring of 2017. Here, I was responsible for the development and organization of the course on Canvas. Similarly, during the spring of 2017, I ensured that all grades and resources were up to date for students. On the other hand, during the 2016-2017 academic year, I was responsible for the planning and organization of the Discussion Series events. During this time I worked with international and national speakers to ensure that their trips and events were well organized. I also worked with advertisement of events through flyers that were promoted via listservs, VT Calendar of Events, the Higher Education building in Roanoke, and the National Capital Region campus. I worked closely with Dr. Christie in the development of conference posters and presentations, the organization and coding of qualitative data, and developing research instruments and forms for IRB approvals on a new research project.”

Most exciting experience, interesting discovery, or connections made:

“The most exciting part of my experience was getting to work with such a diverse ethnic group of individuals. I have always had a passion of learning about new cultures, which is one of the reasons why I decided to pursue higher education in a country different than my own. For this reason, having the opportunity to work in a space in which one can appreciate different languages, ethnic traditions, and multicultural perspectives and viewpoints has truly been a rewarding experience. Also, OIRED has a culture in which everyone gets to know each other really well. This sense of community made my time at WGD and OIRED that much more special!”

After-graduation plans:

“After graduation, I will be moving to Boston, MA where I will be working in a community mental health setting. Here, I hope to work with Latino women in a residential program as their treatment coordinator. I will be able to do individual and group psychotherapy as well as case management for women and their families.”

How has the WGD program influenced your future?

“Working with the WGD has influenced me greatly. Ever since I was younger, I had always been interested in both Psychology and Anthropology. I then decided to pursue only Psychology, which is the focus that my career has had ever since I made the decision (Psychology and mental health). Working at the WGD office, however, has opened my eyes to the idea of combining the two. Being at this work space has helped me remember how interested I am in working in both psychological and anthropological settings. This experience helped me make the decision of dedicating my work to refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in general. Additionally, this work made me realize how important it is to take women’s issues into special consideration, which is why I am now also so interested in working with women and families.