Bronco Spotlight: Shacara Burrel

Bronco Spotlight: Shacara Burrel

Bachelor of Arts in family studies; Master of Social Work: interpersonal practice, 2019

  • Substance Abuse/Mental Health Specialist at GFM The Synergy Center

  • Intern at Kalamazoo Defender

  • Juris Doctorate student at WMU Cooley Law School (first dual enrolled student in the MSW/JD program at WMU Cooley Law School)

A Mental Health Specialist's primary purpose is to provide substance abuse treatment/ mental health counseling services/therapy to individuals, couples, families, and children. Services include but are not limited to writing reports, developing therapeutic goals, conducting substance abuse/mental health screenings and assessments identifying needs, strengths and abilities. 

What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?

The most rewarding part of the job is helping individuals improve coping skills and supports when they need them most, and being able to bridge the gap and connect the dots so that change and success can be attainable. The most challenging part is that change takes time and change can look different. Sometimes not seeing that change manifest in front of you can cause you to question whether or not the services being provided were beneficial or effective. It is important to develop an understanding that change and progress can become apparent in small increments if you look for them.

What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?

Community service and volunteering impacted my career and assisted me in preparing for my career. Education alone is not enough. It is necessary to put yourself in the real world and to grasp an understanding of how things work outside of the school books. It helps with connecting the dots as you learn. The more experience and personal exposure you have, the broader your perspective will be, which will assist with relating and connecting.

What advice would you offer students to help them decide on a career path?

Someone once told me that ' if you would do it for free, it’s what you were created to do'. Most of the time, you already do what it is you were created to do. It’s already in your heart: follow it.

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