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Reaching Out

UI Coeur d’Alene graduate plans to use counseling skills to help others

Kerry Green has always been an advice-giver to her friends and family. When she was in the Army National Guard, she helped the family members of her fellow soldiers serving overseas and supported her friends when they returned from deployment. As a single mom of two and a gymnastics coach, she guides children.

“I’m pretty empathetic, and I’m just a people-person,” says Green, 25. “I love being able to talk to people and being able to relate to them.”

Now, she’s ready to use those skills to help even more people.

Green will walk in the May 11 commencement ceremony at the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology through the center in December while concurrently beginning her master’s in rehabilitation counseling and human services.

Green says the variety of online and evening classes offered at UI Coeur d’Alene and through the UI College of Education helped make her studies possible.

“I took a majority of my classes online. Being a nontraditional student, having little kids, it was a lot easier,” she says. “I don’t think I would have been able to get my bachelor’s done as quickly as I did if classes weren’t being catered toward students that don’t fit the typical picture.”

The people at UI Coeur d’Alene helped as well. Green was a work-study student at the Harbor Center, where she felt welcomed with open doors.

“Everybody I’ve encountered has been helpful and supportive,” she says.

Green transferred to UI from North Idaho College in 2013 and dove immediately into a heavy course load and summer classes so she could finish her bachelor’s in a year and a half. She’s now well into her master’s studies.

 “It’s amazing,” she says. “I’ve reached a point in my education when you get to start learning how to apply things and really feeling like you’re a part of what’s going on in the field of psychology.”

Green says undergraduate and graduate studies have broadened her views and given her insight into the diverse groups of people who access counseling services. She hopes to help fellow veterans someday because she understands their needs, “and I think they’re needs that need to be addressed more fully,” she says.

However, she’s leaving her options open to working with anyone who can benefit from her skills. She’s particularly passionate about mental health care, with a desire to help change and improve current systems.

“I have a passion for helping people and meeting them where they’re at and helping facilitate change,” she says. “I feel driven to go outside the system if I need to — actually create change and challenge old ways of thinking.”

Article by Tara Roberts, University Communications and Marketing.

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