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Alumna Aims for Career as a Clinical Psychologist

09/07/16

Nicole Hansen ’16 of Johnsonville, N.Y., is taking her psychology degree to the next level as she pursues her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y.

As an undergraduate, Hansen served an internship at the Brien Center in North Adams, which provides mental health and substance abuse services.

“I learned a lot about what it is actually like to work in the field, compared to learning about it in class,” she explained. “I was able to facilitate my own wellness group with the members and create professional relationships with them. The internship solidified that this is the career for me.”

At MCLA, “I took many different kinds of classes,” Hansen continued, “expanding my knowledge from abnormal psychology to organizational psychology. I am most interested in helping to improve peoples’ environments in order to better their future.”

Through her program at The College of St. Rose, Hansen will become a licensed mental health counselor. She dreams of one day working in a psychiatric hospital as a clinical psychologist.

MCLA, said Hansen, prepared her for success by providing a well-rounded education.

“The best thing about the psychology program at MCLA is that it encourages students to discover their interests by offering a wide variety of classes,” she said. “There isn’t a certain track that you must take; there are many options to tailor your education in order to get the most out of it. Most classes are also on the smaller side too, providing a comfortable space in which to get to know the professors and classmates on a more intimate level.”

MCLA also provided a small-town atmosphere, which allowed Hansen to make some great friends. In addition, the College provided her with an internship within walking distance to campus, and “always gave me a feeling that I was at home.”

What's her best advice for a prospective MCLA student?

“Take advantage of internships and the variety of classes that a liberal arts college offers,” Hansen said.

“MCLA is affordable, provides smaller classes, an atmosphere to know your peers and community members, and many opportunities to better yourself,” she continued. “I would not have been able to get the education I received from just any college. North Adams will forever be my second home.”

Once she completes her master’s degree, Hansen will consider opening up her own counseling practice. She also plans to complete a doctorate in clinical psychology, and to pursue a variety of other interests in the field, such as child, adolescent, or adult development, and school or college counseling.