Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Capturing the Extraordinary Capella University Experience

Guest blog post by Nathalie P. Jones, PhD, MSW - Assistant Professor Social Work Department Tarleton State University

While reflecting on my journey at Capella University one word comes to mind, “Extraordinary.” This word comes to mind because the experiences were beyond usual and or comfortable for me. During my doctoral journey I learned many lessons about myself. For instance, I am extremely passionate about education, resilient, and unwilling to give up. One of the many lessons learned at Capella University consisted of self-aware awareness.

Some may wonder how self-awareness contributes to personal and professional development. As a profession in the field of Human Services, it is imperative to be self-aware. On a day to day basis, human service workers are expected to serve vulnerable populations. Therefore, being in tune with oneself, assists with providing effective services and prompting positive change.

My experiences at Capella University consisted of establishing healthy relationships with faculty and classmates. Initially, the relationships were established through the online courserooms. However, relationships were nurtured during the yearly colloqium requirements. During track 1, I learned the importance of networking and connecting to goal-oriented individuals. The connections established during track 1 are the individuals that are on speed dial in my cell phone currently..  

The courseroom introduced human service learners to meticulous approach to advocacy, networking and research skills. My specialization is in social and community services whereas all courses assisted with professional development. There were times during the doctoral journey that I was affected by exhaustion and loneliness. Those feelings were short lived because I had the opportunity to reach out to classmates located in various regions of the world, who provided amazing support.

Currently, I am working in higher education as an Assistant Professor at Tarleton State University in the Social Work Department. This position provides me the opportunity to educate, empowerment and to encourage future social workers. Through the social and community electives, I gained skills that provided awareness on social inequalities and community resources. I credit myself to serving as a mentor to learners, largely because of the amazing mentors that were gained while attending Capella University. Not only did I learn additional professional skills that prepared me to serve as a faculty advisor and research mentor.  But, personally I have gained forever friends that I can call on upon to keep me accountable in any area of my life.  The Capella University experience was extraordinary as I became self-aware, established healthy relationships, and obtained professional skills that have afforded me the opportunity to be labeled as an Engaged Scholar for the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.

About the Author: Dr. Nathalie P. Jones is an Assistant Professor in the Social Work Department at Tarleton State University. She facilitates courses such as Human Behavior, Policy, Research of Social Work methods, Practice I & II, Service Learning & Cultural Diversity. Dr. Jones’s research interest include: Healthy Aging, Scholarship of Teaching & Learning with Social Media & Mentoring & Professional Development of women. Dr. Jones has worked in the field of human and social services for over fifteen years. Her professional experiences have included: Advocating for seniors, providing grief and bereavement counseling, investigations, reunifying families, life skills for adolescents, mentoring, and substance abuse counseling for both adults and adolescents. 

Dr. Jones is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, the founder of Working Women United, Inc which provides empowerment services to women and girls. Also, she is the founder of Passion for Life which provides a platform to discuss the importance of healthy relationships.  She is also a member of the Tarrant County Disporportionality & Disparities committee. 

She is the campus advisor of the Sigma Omicron Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. The advisor of the Student Social Work Association (SSWA-SW) of Tarleton State University​. She is an advisory board member of BOLD, organization of undergraduate young ladies and a coordinator of the Diverse Faculty group at Tarleton State University. Finally, Dr. Jones serves on the commencement committee, is the Practice Chair for the social work program and selected as an Engaged Scholar for the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at Tarleton State University.

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