After helping out with the cleanup of Hurricane Katrina over Alternative Spring Break, she not only wanted to learn about the effects catastrophe can have on people, but she also wanted to learn how to help them.
“It changed my entire outlook on my career path,” Jennifer said. “I switched to sociology the following semester.”
After graduating from Wilson in 2008, Jennifer went on to receive a master’s degree in psychology, with a specialization in social psychology, from Walden University in 2010.
Jennifer currently works as a counselor at Abraxas Youth and Family Services in South Mountain, Pa. Abraxas provides treatment along with educational and transitional programs for youth, adults and their families. Jennifer said that most clients at Abraxas have committed crimes or have had major behavioral problems, making it no longer appropriate for them to live at home. Abraxas also treats clients who have histories with drugs and alcohol.
Jennifer has worked at Abraxas for a year and a half and is considered a senior counselor. She says there is a relatively high turnover rate in the field, which she correlates to the intensity and stress that is associated with working with troubled young people. “I feel that I have lasted as long as I have due to the experiences and education I received at Wilson,” she said. “My time there really helped prepare me for the work that I was entering into.”
During her time at Wilson, Jennifer interned at a psychiatric center for children and adolescents, and received a lot of experience leading group sessions. She says the internship prepared her for her current job and it’s helped her make some great connections in her field.
Jennifer is originally from Chambersburg, Pa. and had the experience of growing up around the Wilson campus. When it came to continuing her education after high school, she saw Wilson as the natural choice. Her mother, Patty Beidel, also graduated from Wilson and now works as the associate director of admissions.
At Wilson, Jennifer was chief justice for the Wilson College Government Association (WCGA), editor of the yearbook for three years and a campus tour guide. She was also a member of the choir, Campus Activities Board and Candle Club. Jennifer received the Alumnae Legacy Award for her leadership and accomplishments at Wilson.