Camryn Skari will be graduating with a Masters in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling this June. In addition to being a graduate student, Camryn has worked with the WOU Foundation Phonathon team for the past three years, and has been the lead caller for two years.
What has it been like working for the WOU Foundation?
The Foundation became a second home. It was one of the most amazing opportunities, as I was able to develop friendships and professional relationships with other students, local business owners, alumni, and other faculty and staff. My job never felt like a job, and that is a privilege I think is so rare to find. The Foundation helped me become more involved in events on campus such as alumni meetings, fundraising opportunities, auctions, the Smith Fine Arts Series, and so much more. I will always remember this job and the family we were, and hope that anyone else who joins the Foundation shares the same joy and excitement!
Why did you choose to attend graduate school at WOU and your specific program?
Working with the deaf/hard of hearing/deaf-blind population has always been my goal, and there are only two universities in the nation that offer any type of counseling specialized to fit this population. I wanted to be close to home and had already gotten my bachelor’s here so I decided to stay, and it was the best choice I could have made!
What has been your most memorable class?
One of my most memorable classes was Social Psychology during my undergrad. Dr. Brannan taught the class and week eight was “cult week” – her favorite. We spent the whole week talking about the psychology behind cults (how they form, how leaders become who they are, etc.) and I’ll never forget the amount of excitement she had towards such a taboo and random topic. She LOVED cults.
What have some of your extracurriculars been? How did those impact your time on campus?
I played for a national volleyball team all throughout high school, and even attended a four-year university in DC to play for a semester. I decided not to try out at WOU, but made sure to stay involved as much as I could. I participated in intramural volleyball and had a blast! The online platform was so easy and the refs were great. If you have the opportunity to join, even for fun, it’s a great way to network and have fun!
Do you have any advice for students?
Make your own fun! Being in such a small town it can feel boring and mundane, but the more you go out and search, the more you’ll see how much the town has to offer. You can go eat with friends at the food trucks, head to independence for their summer concerts by the river, bike along the path on 99! There’s more than you think, as long as you’re willing to explore.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned throughout your time at WOU?
Reach out whenever you can! Any peer, mentor, professor, staff, you have connected with, keep that connection. You will learn so much more and be exposed to so many opportunities if you maintain strong relationships. Try your best to never burn a bridge, and always reach out to old professors, as they can help you succeed in more ways than you know.
Who stands out from your time at WOU?
My boss Emily Swart has been a rock in my professional life. Anytime I needed work off for a game, for a personal matter, she understood and supported. All she cared about was the success of the school, but more importantly the success of her student workers. Our classes and academics were always a priority and anytime she could treat us with snacks or dinner, she would. She valued and appreciated the time we put in more than many other bosses would, and that is something I will always remember and cherish!
What will you miss the most about WOU?
I think I will miss the familiarity the most. WOU is so small it always felt like home. When I first came here it was a little overwhelming, but once I learned the ins and outs it became whatever I wanted it to be. Professors or students may walk the same way after class, and those faces of strangers became friends, and then professional colleagues. You never felt lost or alone, as there was always something familiar about the town and the people.
What do you love most about the program you completed?
Since I was 14, I knew what I wanted to do, and I guess what I love most about the classes I’ve taken is that they’ve taught me everything I’ve ever wanted to learn. The brain, the body, social systems, personal beliefs, culture and diversity, disparities and system problems. Everything I’ve learned has shaped the way I professionally view the world and has benefited me in some way or another. I felt the teachers were all so practical and I never felt I learned something that I wouldn’t need in my future work.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I am currently doing an internship with Partnerships in Community Living (PCL), and throughout that experience I haven’t worked and started looking for jobs. The deaf/hard of hearing/deaf-blind population have been my passion for as long as I can remember, and ideally I will run a program for transition age youth to get them the services and resources they need to be successful.