Undergraduate Studies ePortfolio BA Psychology Argosy University Mandie Lea Almendinger Class of 2011
Personal Statement From the time that I was 4 years old and my parents became foster parents to children and teens in need, my heart was drawn to helping others and I was passionate about those that were hurting and in need. I remember telling my mother when I was about 12 years old that I wanted to be a social worker, and she told that that it would take a lot of work, I said, “I don’t mind. It always takes hard work to do really good things.” Many times throughout high school I had careers classes and essays to write about the future and too many times to count teachers would tell me that people get burnt out on social work and that perhaps I should consider being a teacher or a school counselor, and although I consider those to be commendable careers that help kids, I never changed my mind… and now that I am a “grown up” and an undergraduate student that is set to graduate, I can’t wait for my life-long dream to come true! When it comes to being a social worker there are the obvious skills and abilities that people should have such as having good communication and relational skills, being about to solve problems effectively and be an advocate for clients. I believe that I possess all of these general skills but I believe that I bring more to this career as I have a genuine heart and passion to serve people. I long to make a difference in other people’s lives. I currently work and live full-time with teenager foster girls who have been horrifically abused, abandoned and neglected. My job is to not only coach them in proper and responsible behaviors but to be their houseparent and show them what it means to be loved and cared for; what it means to have a true family that is there for you.
I am a very compassionate person. I like to serve others with problems and give my time to those who are less fortunate than I. Also, I would hope that when allowed I could share my faith in my career as my belief and personal relationship with Christ are the driving force to my personal and professional goals. This job that I currently have with the teen foster girls is not glamorous by any means but I truly enjoy it every day because I know that I am making a difference, an impact, on these young girls’ lives. I want to be a social worker so that I can work with children and teens and let them know that they have someone who is on their side. I want the less fortunate children and youth to know that they are not alone and that there is always somebody who is on their side fighting for them.
Resume Mandie Almendinger 16550 Crossandra Lane Cell: (763) 587-1610 Spring Hill, FL 34620 Email: email@example.com Education BA in Psychology, Argosy University , 3.9 GPA Summer 2011 Crown College, Christian and General Studies, 3.7 GPA Winter 2009 Monticello High School, 3.7 GPA Spring 2007 Relevant Coursework Child and Adolescent Psychology Counseling Theories Marriage and Family Counseling Maladaptive Behavior and Psychopathology Psychology of Children and Violence
Experience Behavior Coach/Houseparent, Hope Youth Ranch April 2011-Present Seasonal Data Entry Worker, Monticello High School May -August 2010 Shift Leader at Subway, Albertville Premium Outlets May 2005-July 2009 Program Staff, Big Sandy Camp & Retreat Center June -August 2008 Monticello Times Intern, Monticello Times Newspaper March - July 2005 Picture Finisher, David’s Photography October 2003-July 2004 Core Qualifications Results Driven Exemplary planning and organizational Skills Detail Oriented Analytical Skills Exceptional Communicator Computer Literate File/Records Maintenance Flexible Team Player
Extracurricular Activities National Honor Society 2005-2007 Varsity Girls Golf 2005-2007 Venturing Volunteer Program 2005-2006 Marching Band 2002-2005 4-H (various roles including: treasurer, secretary, vice-president) 1995-2006 References Andrea Dollerschell: MA, Counselor, Litchfield, MN (651) 253-5945 [email_address] Amy Moorhead: Branch Director of New Life Family Services, Anoka, MN (763) 323-3435 [email_address] Mary Lenz: Behavior Coach, Hudson FL (920) 850-5187 [email_address]
During my time at Argosy University I have not only learned so much about psychology and the human mind, but about myself and how I relate to the world around me and why. My time here has been spent gaining knowledge that is going to be needed in order to advance in my career but more importantly I have learned to believe in myself, make my education a top priority, how to understand why I think, react, behave, etc. in the ways that I do. I can't imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn't taken the time, effort, and energy to finish my Bachelors degree. Even though I didn't always enjoy the long hours of homework, writing papers and studying for tests I WILL forever be grateful for all that I learned and that I put forth my best effort throughout it all.
Table of Contents for Professional Work Samples
Cognitive Abilities There are many ways and strategies to approach problem solving. “solvingis formulating new answers, and going beyond simple application of previously learned rules to create a solution or achieve a goal. Problem solving requires seeing things in new, flexible ways, thus, opening the mind to multiple possibilities as an important precursor to successful problem solving” (Argosy, 2010). If Maria wants to help her students to help find a solution to protection and repopulation of their respected endangered species, then she also needs to give them the required problem solving process to engage in.” Problem solving consists of goal-directed activity, moving from some initial configuration or state through a series of intermediate steps until finally the overall goal has been reached: an adequate or correct solution (Ashcraft, 2010, pp.18).” Therefore, in order to help them solve the problem that their endangered species are facing, I believe she should teach them the problem-solving characteristics that they need to understand to solve the problem or find a projected solution. The key characteristics to problem solving are goal directedness, sequence of operations, cognitive operations, and sub-goal decomposition (Ashcraft, 2010, pp.18). The first characteristic, goal directedness is based on determining the overall goal that is trying to be achieved. In this instance, it is the goal of the student to determine a way to keep their endangered species from going extinct by using the facts that they already know and have learned since beginning the project. They should set up smaller goals to get them from the overall problem to the end solution, which is also known as sequence of operations. The students have to understand that it will take more than one step to get them to the solution that they desire, and just saying that they will save them, won’t actually produce any results. The third characteristic to solving a problem “the application of various cognitive operations. Various operators can be applied to different problems, where each operator is a distinct cognitive act, a permissible step or move in the problem space” (Ashcraft, 2010, pp.18). In this scenario, retrieving an answer would be an operator, as would be each step and sub-goal along the way. Finally, the last characteristic is sub-goal decomposition. This implies that each step is a sub goal that the students must understand and utilize. No goals can be skipped over or the solution may not be attainable. “Solving a problem involves breaking the overall goal into sub-goals, then pursuing the sub-goals, and their sub-goals, one after another until the final solution is achieved. This yields a hierarchical or nested structure to the problem-solving attempt (Ashcraft, 2010, pp.18). In order to relate the process of reasoning and problem solving concepts that have been covered this week, I think it is important that Maria demonstrates the importance of reasoning when it comes to presenting their ideas. Children are often very excited and eager about making a difference, but forget to use common sense and be reasonable. “is the cognitive process of relying on known facts to form judgments and draw inferences. There are two types of reasoning: inductive and deductive” (Argosy, 2010). The students would need to connect their problem solving strategies and their own use of reasoning in order to best accomplish and succeed at their goals and make the best decision making choices possible. References Ashcraft, M. H. (2010). Problem Solving. Cognition (3rd ed., pp.18). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall. University, A. (2010). Module 7 Problem Solving. Retrieved December 13, 2010, from Argosy University Online Programs: http://myeclassonline.com/re/DotNextLaunch.asp?courseid=4131487
Research Skills “ In western cultures, eating-related problems are common in adolescence. Overall, more than every second girl and nearly every third boy in the United States of America are suggested to have them” ( Hautala, Helenius, Junnila, Liuksila, Raiha & Vaananen, 2008).disorders in our modern day society are a reflection of how distorted young children, adolescents and even adults have become in regards to their body image. Throughout my research paper I want to show that that there are key developing factors and prevention methods that should be taken in order to prevent and treat those with eating disorders in adolescents so that they will not have to suffer for years to come with body image, self-esteem, and very serious health complications or even death. There are three main types of eating disorders which include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating. These disorders affect “over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys” (: Eating Disorders and Their Precursors, 2005). The research funding in the area of very poor with only $12million dollars spent on research with other 10million affected people in the United States compared to research funding for other disorders such as 2.2million people affected by hrenia that have a total of $350million dollars annually according to The National Institute of Health. In a study done in 2007 on adolescents over a 10 year time span, “The results showed that the prevalence of dieting and diet product use among female adolescents significantly increased between 1995 and 2005 and as did the prevalence of all weight control behaviors (including dieting, diet product use, purging, exercise and vigorous exercise) among males” (Molnar, 2007). According to Burrows and Cooper, there are many possible risk factors in the development of eating disorder in adolescents but the risk for development was higher especially so in pre-adolescent girls that were already considered overweight; “overweight girls had more concerns about weight, shape and eating and attempted dietary restraint more often. They had more negative self-esteem related to their athletic competence, physical appearance and global self-worth and more symptoms of depression” (Burrows and Cooper, 2002). Another study done in 1986 that set about to determine the factors of developing eating disorders involving young adolescent girls, “ revealed significant differences among girls based on intact versus broken families” which is certainly something that our modern day society deals with on a daily basis (Eisele, Hertsgaard & Light, 1986). There seems to be no person, household or family that has not been impacted or affected in some way by broken homes and failed marriages.
In order to diagnose an eating disorder, the adolescent must present signs and symptoms of the disorder as well as be open and honest about what they are feeling since much of the disorder, especially anorexia nervosa is so psychological. In another study done, participants were not told that they were being monitored but were merely asked to fill out a questionnaire on a computer because it’s common for shame to be enveloped around a person’s attitudes and they would normally deny their problems. “ It is common for sufferers of eating disordersto feel ambivalent about treatment. In a clinicalsetting young people may feel more aware that aformal diagnosis an eating disorder could lead tointerventions, such as hospitalization or being told they must gain weight,” and these could cause them to minimize the symptoms that they are experiencing and result in their not being diagnosed (, Eisler, Simic & Micali, 2008). For this reason, many studies involving adolescents with eating disorders try to be discreet with the patient, but open and honest with the parents. These struggling youth should know that they are not alone and that there are people fighting for them and who loved them just the way that they are. No adolescent child should feel as though they are alone in this fight, and as can be seen from the research, they most certainly have company. Hopefully in the years to come more and more funding will be placed into the eating disorder prevention and treatment research so that fewer adolescents are left to suffer alone and unnoticed. Translations powered by LEC. References Burrows, A., & Cooper, M. (2002). Possible risk factors in the development of eating disorders in overweight pre-adolescent girls. International Journal of Obesity , 26 (9), 1268-1273. Retrieved January 29, 2011, from the ProQuest database. Eisele, J., Hertsgaard, D., & Light, H. (1986). Factors Related to Eating Disorders in Young Adolescent Girls. Adolescence , 21 (82). Retrieved January 29, 2011, from the ProQuest database. Hautala, L., Junnila, J., Helenius, H., Vaananen, A., Liuksila, P., Raiha, H., et al. (2008). Adolescents with fluctuating symptoms of eating disorders: a 1-year prospective study. Journal of Advanced Nursing , 62 (6), 674-680. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from the EBSCOhost database. House, J., Eisler, I., Simic, M., & Micali, N. (2008). Diagnosing Eating Disorders in Adolescents: A Comparison of the Eating Disorder Examination and the Development and Well-Being Assessment. International Journal of Eating Disorders , 41 (6), 535-541. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from the EBSCOhost database. Kohn, M., & Golden, N. (2001). Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Epidemiology, Diagnosis and Treatment. Pediatric Drugs , 3 (2), 91-99. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from the EBSCOhost database. Molnar, A. (2007, November 20). Study of Adolescent Eating Disorders. Medical News Today: Health News . Retrieved January 14, 2011, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com Statistics: Eating Disorders and Their Precursors. (2005). National Eating Disorder Association . Retrieved January 21, 2011, from www.sc.edu/healthycarolina/pdf
Communication Skills I have created a plan for a community-intervention program to focus on the effects of bullying and violence at school for children like Ricki who have been exposed to violence. It would be offered to children and parents who are dealing with being exposed to or victimized by bullying and or violence. The program that I have created focuses on fostering, “prosocial behavior, effective interpersonal communication, and problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills,” as well as a separate class offered on self-defense and another on how to build resistance and cope with being bullied in a positive manner (Argosy, 2011). These types of learning skills can help children to apply themselves more effectively against the effects of bullying. They can learn to have positive and friendly behavior with their peers, be able to effectively communicate what they need or want from peers, parents, teachers and other adults, and learn how to solve problems and resolve conflicts so that bullying is minimized. I think it would be a good idea to have self-defense classes, not only for those who may have encountered or could encounter the more physical act of bullying but also for children to learn how to respond and communicate to their terrorizers to stop and what authorities will be notified if the bullying proceeds. Children need to know that they are not alone and always have a trusted adult that they can talk to about what’s going on in their life. They need to be open and honest about how they are feeling about what they’ve been exposed to and how to ask for help when needed. In order to foster resiliency and resistance as part of the intervention plan which includes the issues of gender, diversity and ethics, the program would have classes that focused on key areas. For instance, the dimensions of resilience should help children to have, “positive outcomes despite experiencing high-risk situations,” they should be able to “function in the face of acute and chronic life stressors and recovering from trauma” and be able to do this with respect and the ability to function cognitively while doing it (Argosy, 2011). On the issue of gender, there would be made available statistics about the differences between bullying and violence rates among boys versus girls in order to provide this to parents and teachers so they know what to expect at home and in the classroom. They should be aware of the fact that boys may be pushier and more physical while girls are more conniving and verbally abusive. When it comes to diversity, there should be a specific aspect of the program that is geared towards helping kids who have been victimized or exposed to bullying because they are different from the norm; this could be in regards to race, religion, ethics, beliefs, dress, speech, etc. Also, in order to address the issue of ethics, the children need to learn that bullying and violence is wrong and unacceptable. There are some areas that children may think are alright because of what they’ve been exposed to in the media, video games and the like, but they need to understand that those forms of violence are make-believe and that real-life bullying and violence will have consequences. References Argosy University (2011). Psychology 301 UE: Children and Violence: Online Lectures: Module Six. June 17, 2011, from http://www.myeclassonline.com
Ethics and Diversity Awareness “ Despite the tremendous heterogeneity among racially similar groups and homogeneity across different racial groups, race functions as a master status in society. As a social construction, race has the power to eclipse other identities that are just as potent to identity construction” (Robinson, 2009, pp.2). Race is still such a dominating force in our society despite all the past experiences that the United States and other nations around the world have fought for the rights of every person, despite their race. It is understandable to me why Carrie would be having a hard time blending in and feeling comfortable with completely different surroundings, but there are ways that bridges could be built in order for her to understand and come to appreciate all that there is to know about Kesha’s African-American culture. Understanding cultural values within various ethnicities and diverse and contrasting cultures is vital in order to “appreciate their (African Americans) heritage and contribution to our diverse culture” (Argosy, 2011). Carrie may be feeling uncomfortable with the different dynamics not just because Kesha’s family is so different in traditions and spirituality, but also because of her personality. Coming from a predominantly Presbyterian background combined with the fact that she is an only child with limited family all are contributing factors in how she is feeling now in a totally new environment. Wanting to withdraw from Kesha is going to be a personal choice that Carrie has to make, but I believe it’s important for her to consider Kesha as a person and a friend, not as an African American or as from a large spiritual family; which is the same way she would most likely want Kesha to view her! Carrie needs to understand that cultural values are valuable and should be appreciated. “To fully appreciate the diversity of the African-American subculture, it is important to understand some key values found among this racial group” (Argosy, 2011). The have key roles within the family, their community, and their churches. African Americans are no different than other people in how they want to be treated with respect, dignity and to be appreciated for who they are and loved for who they are. If Carrie is feeling uncomfortable she should have a talk with Kesha and perhaps ask her to share with her about her family’s history and the history of their spiritual beliefs. In all reality Carrie will probably find Kesha’s family history to be quite interesting and only come to understand and respect her friend all the more. She could participate in some of the traditions of their spiritual beliefs and invest her time in getting to know Kesha’s family. “A long history of spirituality in the African-American culture has helped their ancestors cope with the oppression caused by slavery. Further, faith and the church continue to serve numerous functions in the African-American community in modern times” (Argosy, 2011). References Argosy University (2011). Psychology 312 UD: Diversity: Online Lectures: Module Two. Ma y 17, 2011, from http://www.myeclassonline.com Robinson, T. L. (2009). Converging Race. The convergence of race, ethnicity, and gender: multiple identities in counseling (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson.
Knowledge of Foundations of the Field A person’s personality is who they are based off of biology, environment, cognition, emotions and spirituality (Argosy, 2011). From the vantage point of the personality theory, the characteristic traits that best describe what I know myself to be include honest, loyal, imaginative, determined, organized, time-oriented, caring, religious, and friendly just to name a few. The personality theory that I would base my understanding of personalities from is the humanistic perspective, which focuses on the self and how our experiences shape us. The perspective is very optimistic and positive in orientation. Humanists focus on the here and now, because now is the time in our life that we can work on and change (Argosy, 2011). Therefore, in order to describe myself I think that overall I am a very caring person who tries to do my best to take charge of my own circumstances. I do my absolute best to stay positive in all situations and. I believe that the major force that is most responsible for the origin and development of my personality is environmental, which is closely followed by biological. I was raised in a family that from my very youngest I can remember being cared for and placed as a priority in my parents’ life. I was the 3 rd child out of 4 and even though they didn’t have very much money or spare time between their full time jobs they always made time for us to feel loved and important. They helped us with school projects and spent hours on the weekends playing with us and always putting us before themselves. I think that is the biggest reason that I developed such a happy and carefree personality. Above all else, I always knew that I was loved. Then, when I started to get older my father would always say, “You’re more like your mother every day” and he meant it in regards to my personality and how I looked at the world. Now, I can see myself in my mother every day, not only in my appearance but also how I relate to the world and am always trying to care for others. Therefore, biological and environmental both had such a large impact on the development of my personality. From the humanistic perspective theory the behaviors that I want to change would be regarded in a positive manner because, “The goal of life is to achieve personal growth and understanding. This occurs through a process of self-improvement and self-knowledge and results in a state of contentedness about one’s life” (Argosy, 2011). Therefore, it wouldn’t be difficult for someone who holds to this theory of ideas to believe that they can change. It is possible to change because life is all about adaptation and growth and becoming the best you can be! It is accomplished by taking responsibility for yourself to change. I want to change the way that I am afraid of failure more than almost anything. I want to be able to always strive for greatness but not always being so worried about things that are out of my control. I can only control how well I do and put forth my best effort. I need to keep positive and keep my mind off of the more negative aspects of life. Throughout this course I have learned that my personality is actually quite an amazing thing. I have heard my whole life that when it comes to family and friends and dating the important thing is that they have a great personality and now I finally understand why. Not only because it makes someone funny, out-going or caring, but because it is who they truly are overall as a person. It is who they were, who they are and who they continue to become every day of their life. Which is why with the humanist perspective the emphasis is placed on the present and making everyday count right now! Now is all that we can change. We can’t change the past or worry about the future. We need to keep in the moment and make the most of the time that we have. References Argosy University (2011). Psychology 361: Personality Theory: Online Lectures: Modules One and Four. Retrieved March 1, 2011, from http://www.myeclassonline.com
Knowledge about Psychology There are various psychoeducational and supportive approaches that can be used at the community level that can be identified and integrated in order to assist children who are at rick from terrorism, have experienced terrorism or those that have experienced major loss because of terrorism. These types of approaches can also help them to cope more effectively and develop high levels of resiliency. First of all, Allison needs to feel safe again. She won’t be able to cope, move on and build resiliency in an environment that she feels afraid in as “the importance of creating a safe environment for a child” is crucial (Argosy, 2011). Then, Allison is going to have to open up, stop holding everything inside and let her psychologist help her. She needs to remember that being honest about how she’s doing is, “critical in discussing any incidents” (Argosy, 2011). Her father and psychologist should also provide her with “information about what the government is doing to intervene as a way of putting the event into perspective,” such as telling her that the United States is now going to intervene in the Middle East and that the United States will be prepared for terrorism and will protect against future terrorism. At the community level, Allison could become involved in a social service agency or participate in classes in the community that are geared toward those who have lost a love one due to violence, or more specifically from an act of terrorism. This way, she can be involved and see that she is not alone in her struggle to move on. She can learn how to cope with what has happened, learn from others who have faced similar hardships, and build resiliency in order to handle what has happened and how her life will be affected because of it. Within this setting terrorism could be talked about openly so that Allison and other children can have their questions answered. They could also play games such as “Disaster Discovery Flash Game, Disaster Action Kid Checklist of Activities, and FEMA for Kids: Games” which would help them to familiarize with terrorism and how to act in case of emergencies.
In Allison’s case it’s important for her to form resiliency so that she can move on and live as normal as a life as possible. She is not only effected as a child, but as a young girl who no longer has a mother, which is a great burden to bear. Little girls learn how to be a lady from their mother, how to cook, how to dress, and overall just how to be a beautiful women. This act of terrorism stripped her mother away from her which could greatly impact her gender identity, so going to classes in the community such as a Big Sister Program could greatly benefit Allison as she would continue to have a positive female role model in her life. No matter what diversities she faces, she will always be set apart now as the girl whose mother died on 9/11. In order for Allison not to let that define her she will need to work hard to move on from what’s happened and find joy in life again without her mother. In regards to ethics, she can take classes that can teach her how to be a lady, she can talk to her psychologist about what the differences are between “right” and “wrong” and how to determine everything that went on during the terrorist acts and why God would allow it to happen. The more help that Allison’s father can find in the community, the easier the burden will be on him of now being a single-parent, and he could benefit as well from taking classes to keep builing his own resiliency and learning how he can best help and love his daughter. References Argosy University (2011). Psychology 301 UE: Children and Violence: Online Lectures: Module Four. June 3, 2011, from http://www.myeclassonline.com
My Future as a learner Concerning my career, it does worry me at times how much I care about other people and what they need and at times I do get afraid that I may burn out at an early age in the social work field as I have heard has happened to so many others. I am hoping and praying that once I am in the position that I need to be in that I will be able to find a perfect balance between my work and private life so that I can not only help these children and strangers in need, but that my family and friends that also need me would not feel neglected. I am still trying to determine whether I will pursue graduate school right away after completing my degree or waiting another year, but I do plan to get my masters in the psychology field. I am currently employed in a psychology related field working with foster teens in a therapeutic program, but would love to be more involved with other age groups in the field as well. It makes sense for me to take a year or so off from school so that I can focus on getting the experience and training that I need to do the best possible in graduate school, but I’m open to starting sooner if that’s what I feel will be best for myself and my family.