After working for years in both the legal and insurance fields, Mary A. Blevins says she found her true passion while enrolled in her master’s degree program at South University, Columbia. As a student in the Master of Arts in Professional Counseling program, she was assigned to work with domestic violence survivors at Sistercare, Inc. in Columbia, South Carolina.
"From the very first day of my internship, I knew I wanted to work full-time at Sistercare," Blevins says.
Sistercare, Inc. is a non-profit agency that provides services to victims of domestic violence and their children.
"The day that I found out I was hired was a dream come true," she recalls. "After receiving my degree in 2014, I remained in touch with my intern supervisor and learned of job openings within the organization. I started as the Hospital Accompaniment Advocate and moved up to the counselor position after a year."
Blevins now provides crisis intervention, safety planning, and danger assessments to survivors of domestic violence at local hospitals. She then follows up with individual counseling sessions, and also supervises a team of interns.
Blevins says her South University education helped prepare her for the challenges of her career.
"The professors had worked extensively in the field and incorporated real-life experiences into the textbook material," Blevins explains.
Now, Blevins says she is benefiting from her hard work and her decision to pursue an advanced degree.
"My education has made a huge difference in my life! Without my degree from South University, I would still be working a dead-end job," Blevins says. "For the first time in my life, I can genuinely say I am happy with my career and where I am in life."
Blevins says her greatest reward comes from the domestic violence survivors she helps each day.
"To see my own clients succeed and take control of their mental health is just amazing. That is what I worked so hard for."
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