Passion for helping others leads double major to career in counseling


April 29, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement

Growing up in Phoenix, Daniela Rios always wanted to be a pediatrician and was accepted into Bioscience High School. During her senior year, she took her first psychology class and became very interested in it. Thus, she decided to major in psychology when she came to Arizona State University. Along the way, she took a particular interest in development while taking some classes in the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics and decided to add on a major in family and human development. Picture of Daniela Rios in ASU cap and gound. During all four years at ASU, Daniela Rios has been a part of the ProMod Peer Mentor Program, serving as a mentor to high school students in Phoenix Union district, assisting them with their FAFSA and college applications and working with their families to prepare them for college life.

In May, she is graduating with a double major in family and human development and psychology.

Rios is the type of student who understands the importance of getting involved to get the most out of your time in college. She has always looked for opportunities to gain experiences that will facilitate her growth as well as serve others, and there is no end to the list of people she has helped in her community.

During all four years at ASU, Rios has been a part of the ProMod Peer Mentor Program through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. She has served as a mentor to high school students in Phoenix Union district, assisting them with their FAFSA and college applications and working with their families to prepare them for college life. Through this work and other experiences such as working as a respite and rehabilitation provider through the Hope Group, Rios decided to pursue a career in counseling to fulfill her passion for helping others. 

During her last two years here at ASU, Rios has participated in three internships, which include working with disadvantaged preschool children as well as domestic violence survivors in need of career training, medical and educational assistance. Furthermore, she has taken on leadership roles in her multicultural sorority, through which she has done a host of other service work. It is through service that Rios has found her purpose, passion and future.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: Growing up I remember I was always very fascinated with the human brain and learning why people behave the way they do. When I was in elementary school I remember sitting down with the school counselor and drawing out my feelings on a piece of paper. When I reflect on this moment I think about the positive impact she had on me, and I want to be able to provide that support and guidance for children and young adults. I would say my interest in psychology sparked when I took a psychology course as an elective in high school and learned all about the various areas, theories and real-world applications of psychology.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or that changed your perspective?

A: Something that I learned at ASU both in my classes and outside experiences (internship and on-campus job) was that although there are many nonprofit organizations and resources to assist the community, most individuals are unaware of these programs or simply do not take advantage of them.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I decided to attend ASU because it allowed me to stay close to home and to my family. ASU also offered a variety of opportunities for me to be involved including internships, clubs/organizations and on-campus jobs.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: My best piece of advice is to be involved, network and enjoy your experience as an undergrad. ASU offers unlimited opportunities and resources for students; take advantage of these opportunities. Whether it’s joining a club or attending an internship fair, these experiences have the potential to benefit you. The majority of the friends I have made at ASU have been a result of being involved in a research lab, becoming a member of an organization, working on-campus or attending a study session. Being involved can also help you identify what you are passionate about, help you meet incredible people who share similar interests as you, and expose you to opportunities that you may have never known about.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus to hang out with friends and study was the Computing Commons on the Tempe campus.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am still considering my options after graduation. At the moment, I plan on taking at least a semester off to work either for a nonprofit organization or a job where I can gain more experience in my field of interest. During this time, I plan on enhancing my resume, gaining more experience and applying for graduate programs in counseling/therapy.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I am an advocate about access to high-quality education and mental health services specifically for children and young adults. If I were given $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, I would use it towards improving the quality of education children receive and funding programs that focus around raising mental health awareness. For example, implementing programs that help children develop positive coping skills to deal with their emotions and minimize behavior problems in the long run. I also think it is important to provide high-quality training to social workers, counselors and therapists in the field and make their services accessible to anyone in the community.

John Keeney

Media Relations Coordinator, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics

480-965-3094

Inner workings of the human mind drive grad's curiosity


April 29, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement

Navneet Kaur was raised in India and moved to Phoenix when she was 9 years old. In high school, she took her first psychology class and discovered a passion for the field of child development. Working as a volunteer at an elderly center served to reinforce her idea that she was fascinated by the inner workings of the human mind and wanted to further her education with a focus on young children’s cognitive development.  Picture of Navneet Kaur in ASU cap and gound. During her time at ASU, Navneet Kaur got involved in many ways, including working at the Child Study Lab, serving as an intern at the Young Minds Center for children with autism and learning disabilities, and volunteering on several research projects like the Arizona Twin Lab and the REACH Courage Lab.

When she came to ASU, Kaur decided to double major in psychology and family and human development.

During her time here, Kaur got involved in many ways, including working at the Child Study Lab, serving as an intern at the Young Minds Center for children with autism and learning disabilities, and volunteering on several research projects like the Arizona Twin Lab and the REACH Courage Lab. It is through these experiences that Kaur found that she has an interest in both typical and atypical development.

Furthermore, she learned that there is often a troublesome gap between research that is being conducted and the translation of that research into practice. Taking advantage of experiences that immersed her in both of these worlds has given Kaur a unique perspective on the need for translation and dissemination of research in real world settings.  

After graduation, Kaur has plans to continue working in research labs and possibly attend graduate school. This will allow her to gain experience and further her education on the most effective ways to bridge the gap between research and practice.       

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I think my "aha" moment was during my last semester of high school. I volunteered at an elderly care home and worked with patients with dementia. I was so intrigued by how their minds worked and their behaviors. Since then, my interest has shifted to child development and child psychopathology, but that was the first time I realized I wanted to study psychology.  

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: Before starting college, I thought psychology only meant sitting on a couch in front of a psychologist. As I learn more about the field of psychology and human development, it seems psychology is in everything we do. It is amazing what you can do with knowledge in psychology! 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: Initially, I chose ASU because it was close to home. I am so glad I chose to go here because I have met some amazing people and learned so much the past four years.   

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: I think one piece of advice that I would give to students still in school is try something new! Whether it is joining a club or a lab or talking to a random person in the library, just try something new.   

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus is Noble Library; my freshman year I met all my friends there. We would meet in there between class and attempt to do homework, but mostly we just talked about life. It was our second home. When it got flooded my freshman or sophomore year, I felt so lost and did not know where I would go in between class.  

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan to work in a research lab after graduation to gain some more valuable experience in the field of research. My long-term goal is to close the gap between research and practice. Research is doing some great work that never reaches the target population. I want to disseminate research to providers, so they can use evidence-based treatment when treating patients.  

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: If I had $40 million I would definitely open up clinics where anyone with mental health problems can go for help. Insurance companies often do not cover all sessions needed for improvement, and many times mental health issues are ignored. I would want to provide services to those in need, especially children. 

John Keeney

Media Relations Coordinator, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics

480-965-3094