UT Tyler

Graduate Student Alumni Spotlight

Counseling Psychology MA

Katy ManganellaStudent Name:  Katy Manganella, MA

Program: Master's in Counseling Psychology (now the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program)

Graduated: 2011

Employer: Volunteers of America - Greater New York

Position: Associate Program Director

What attracted you to this field?

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the psychology field and the helping profession. I knew I wanted to be fulfilled by the work I did and have a large need to contribute to something larger than myself. This field is the only one I have been interested in or passionate about.

Why did you choose to attend UT Tyler?

I chose UT Tyler because of the credible degree program and the psychology department's reputation for producing successful mental health professionals. I was also attracted to UT Tyler's small class sizes which give you the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with your professors. I knew, because I had also gone to undergrad here, that the program allowed you to make it what you wanted. For example, I was very interested in social psychology research and through the program, had the opportunity to be quite involved in that.

What do you like most about UT Tyler?

First, the relationships I built with my professors and fellow students. The program allowed me to build my professional network and now, the same people I went to class with are my colleagues. I also really enjoyed the research component. I was able to pursue that passion of mine and was able to write a thesis in a program that didn't require one. I was able to make the program what I needed it to be and I was able to seek out my own individual interests and passions. Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention the quality of the coursework I received at UT Tyler. Classes were stimulating and were both intellectually and emotionally challenging.

What are your career aspirations?

In short, my aspiration is to leave the world a little better than I found it. More specifically, my aspirations lie at the intersection of mental health services and program implementation. I am an advocate for mental health services within existing and developing human service agencies and programs. I am interested in working with the most disadvantaged of our society, where there is the greatest need and greatest opportunity to make a difference.

What's your work experience?

Shortly after I graduated, I moved to New York City and was offered a position with an organization helping homeless and formerly incarcerated men to get back up on their feet. I provided counseling and guidance for those clients as they overcame the barriers (both logistical and psychological) of homelessness and re-entered the workforce. I currently work for a non-profit, human service agency and serve as the Associate Program Director for two supportive housing programs providing services to formerly homeless clients with either an Axis I mental health diagnosis or an active substance disorder; and in many cases, both. I lead the social services team and we help our clients overcome the barriers that have contributed to or caused their homelessness.

Do you have any advice to pass along to other students interested in this program?

Take advantage of your time in the program. Follow what you're passionate about. If there is a topic you're interested in, seek it out. Stay hungry to always learn more.

Find out more about Psychology and Counseling

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