"It is not so much that you go to St. Ambrose to earn a 4.0, rather it is everything: the curriculum, environment, and the support the community provides to each person."
Our students are drawn to service and helping their peers, community, and world. Like David, they choose St. Ambrose. Here, he gained the education and skills to serve and was encouraged to explore. From service trips to hands-on advocating for social justice, we empower students like David to do more, and be more, than they ever imagined.
St. Ambrose was the first step in David's educational journey. After working closely with his psychology professors and completing a unique, three-month internship at the local jail, he earned a master's degree in Clinical Psychology. David now supports and guides teens and adults who are struggling with substance abuse or behavioral addiction as a clinician for UnityPoint Health Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, in Peoria, Ill.
How did SAU spark you to explore?
"The whole dynamic of being there for someone, helping someone, was something I knew I wanted to do," he says. David enrolled with a career goal, but our liberal arts fondation expanded his vision of his future. "There were a lot of classes I took my first year that brought me out of my shell. I was so focused on psychology but being exposed to different teachers and curriculum, it opened my mind and helped me branch out."
How did faculty prepare you for graduate school and your career?
David says the psychology professors played a significant role by listening, questioning, guiding, and supporting his goals. "I could speak to them outside of class or during class, and they laid out all of the information I'd need: how big was the time commitment, what courses would prepare me, and they asked if it was something I would like to do. They were very open."
In what unexpected ways did your professors challenge you?
"They made me to go outside my comfort zone," he says. "It wasn't set up to be 'Here's the material. You must learn this.'" Growth – whether it's academic or personal – can be uncomfortable, but so rewarding. Yes, we push students so they can see, and reach, their potential. "The environment really catered to the need of the specific student. I was not a number and I had the opportunity to get to know my peers and my instructors."
You completed a three-month internship at the Scott County Jail. How was that experience valuable?
"I worked with men and women who were awaiting a sentencing hearing," he says. "As for the environment, I went into the jail, the doors closed, and I worked in the cellblocks. It was an incredibly unique experience," he says, adding he worked closely with on-site mentors. "Having the opportunity to talk to them every day and having their guidance played a significant role."