“I’ve always wanted to be involved with chemical health and how it affects people’s lives,” says Integrated Behavioral Health student Fardowsa Hassan. “Sometimes people lack support. They feel all alone.”
Hassan, who just completed her first year in the program, felt compelled early on to earn her master’s degree in order to change that.
“I always knew an undergrad degree would not be enough, that I would need something extra to get a job and really prepare myself for what’s out there,” Hassan says. “I’m really passionate about it, so the sooner I can get the necessary knowledge and fine tune my skills, the sooner I can get into the field.”
Hassan studied anthropology and psychology as an undergraduate, but had her eye on the Integrated Behavioral Health program as a sophomore. She attended an information session and knew it was the right fit.
“This program combines both chemical health and counseling,” she says. “I get the academic requirements and the clinical skills and experience.” (The IBH program fulfills the education requirements for both the Minnesota Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (MNLADC) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) licensure.)
Compassionate and Comprehensive
Hassan currently works at the Community-University Health Center. She also serves as a mentor at The Qalanjo Project, an organization that celebrates East African heritage and culture through the arts and provides arts and educational support for young people. She assists high school students with college preparation, scholarship applications, and resume writing.
“You can’t really help someone in this one area without it impacting another.”
Hassan believes young people with chemical dependency are in a uniquely perilous position. “They’re not fully able to support themselves. Their parents need resources, especially in cultures where substance abuse is taboo. But every culture has this issue. We need to provide a platform where these families can get help.”
Since the effects of chemical dependency radiate throughout a person’s life, she adds, it is important to look at the whole person. “You can’t really help someone in this one area without it impacting another.”
Starting with her internship at Hazelden in Plymouth, MN, next year, Hassan will begin the work of treating the whole person by creating “an environment where clients are able to develop in other areas while battling addiction.” She will be developing adolescent and family programming that gives them “space to express themselves, support, and common ground.”
What Course Stands Out for You?
“Each class stands out and coincides with a different part of me. I’ve loved Multicultural Foundations of Behavioral Health with Fiyyaz Karim.”
Pro Tips for Students
- Be open to all the opportunities that you’re exposed to and take advantage of what comes your way.
- Connect with at least one professor; they are readily available.
- Be very aware of yourself. Don’t fall through the cracks, and keep your head up.
- Go out and network; put yourself out there.
Fardowsa Hassan is a recipient of the Nolte-Miller, CCAPS Graduate Tuition, and Quell Bridge the Gap scholarships.