MENU

Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

First-generation+Master%27s+degree+student%2C+Melissa+Vandenberg+is+set+to+walk+the+stage+May+13.+
First-generation Master's degree student, Melissa Vandenberg is set to walk the stage May 13.

First-generation Master's degree student, Melissa Vandenberg is set to walk the stage May 13.

First-generation Master's degree student, Melissa Vandenberg is set to walk the stage May 13.

Kelsie Clifton, Features Writer and Columnist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Soon to be Master’s degree graduate, Melissa Vandenberg, knows what staying diligent to the course looks like. She received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin and will be receiving her Master’s in Counseling this Spring 2017 at the May 13 commencement. She was also recently nominated as the outstanding graduate of the Counseling program.

Vandenberg was a Business Major with a minor in Political Science doing her undergraduate years, but realized that path was not one she wanted to be on.

“I had to take a psychology class for my basics and ended up really enjoying it. I decided to give psychology and I ended up graduating with a major in psychology and a minor in business,” she said.

The young student originally began her journey toward her Masters in the Clinical Psychology program but then switched over to the Counseling Program, as she saw that to be a better fit for her.

“I absolutely love psychology and everything that comes with it. However, I realized I wanted my main focus to be on therapy. My favorite thing about the Masters Programs is that you get to focus on one topic and sharpen those specific skills. Also, you have professors who guide you through the process and can give you a one-on-one experience,” she stated.

Vandenberg has encountered teachers who have left an impact on her life through her time as a student. Saying that their care for their students goes deeper than just the classroom.

“Dr. Maria Avalos and Dr. Robert Zeglin are outstanding professors. I have had Dr. Avalos as a professor since before I switched programs and she has been nothing short of phenomenal. The University should feel lucky to have someone like her. She is not only a skilled teacher but she cares so much for her students. She goes over and beyond to answer questions and give guidance. As a Latina student, it is inspiring to see another Latina woman do what she does and be who she is,” she explained.

“Dr. Zeglin is newer to my experience but having Internship with him has been fantastic. He makes anything seem possible in our field. He is very encouraging and gives realistic guidance and correction that promotes personal growth and personal confidence and is a great addition to the University.”

Vandenberg said that the most challenging thing she has faced through pursuing her degree has been realizing the high expectation in which she must perform academically. She learned quickly that if she wanted to succeed she had to push herself and excel in discipline.

“You eventually get the hang of it and begin performing at this level with much more ease. I always encourage anybody who wants to get a higher education to go for it. I come from a family of immigrants. I am the second to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in my family and the first to graduate with a Masters. I was rejected from UTPB when I was an undergrad because of my grades but worked hard to get back in,” she said.

“I didn’t know what I was doing most of the time but wasn’t afraid to ask questions. I worked and went to school full time and because of this I haven’t had that much money. However, graduating with my Masters has been so worth it. I have been given a great education and experience. I have met inspirational people and have been given the tools and confidence in myself to succeed. Now I get to go out and do my part to make this world a little bit better. I am very grateful to The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.”

Vandenberg plans to take her state exam for counseling after she graduates and would then like to find a job in the community.

“I don’t have a specific group of people that I plan on working with just yet. I feel I need more work experience to determine that. Ideally, I want to find a place that will allow me to work with a diverse group of people. I can’t say that I have a dream job but I feel confident and I feel open to what this career path has to offer me and what I have to offer it,” she stated.

If there was any advice that Melissa could give to graduating seniors wanting to pursue their Masters, it would be that they can do it despite fear and setbacks.

“Student’s should not let fear be what persuades them not to achieve their Master’s or Bachelor’s degree. It takes discipline and openness, but if you have this then you have the tools you need to succeed,” Vandenberg said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    Chimpanzee study garners accolades for UTPB psychology faculty

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    Summer 2017 Graduates encouraged to envision ‘risks, rewards’

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    Falcons represented at LSC ‘Media Day’

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    Foundation announces scholarship awards, largely to West Texas students

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    UTPB student, faculty member attend creative nonfiction conference

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    UTPB history professor broadcast coast-to-coast in South Africa

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    UTPB President Dr. Watts pens final words in office

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    Watts gives concluding thoughts with Odessa American

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    ‘Send-Off’ for Dr. Watts, humorous, poignant

  • Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors

    Showcase

    Send off for President Dr. Watts set for June 27

The student news site of The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Despite setbacks, spring graduate candidate earns honors