Thursday, October 25, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 46


AH certifies grads for social services

By Audrey Akins
News Reporter

Although UH does not have an undergraduate social work program, students can earn a certificate in the management of non-profit agencies through the American Humanics program, affiliated with the Graduate School of Social Work.

While the certificate is not a replacement for a bachelor's degree in social work, it does allow graduates to work in the social services field. The certificate is
recognized nationally by such organizations as United Way of America, Junior Achievement Inc. and the Girl Scouts of the USA.

The program offers degree plans for students majoring in business and human development, and offers a general plan for most other majors.

Margaret O'Donnell, the program's director, said students have usually already chosen their majors by the time they begin the program, so they usually fit the
humanics courses into their existing degree plans.

"Normally (they) are juniors looking for something that will help them find jobs and build their résumés," she said.

O'Donnell said students can begin the program whatever their current ranking, and some even begin as post-baccalaureate students.

Participants come from different majors and ages, but share the common goal of helping others and making a difference in society.

Students have the opportunity to learn in the classroom through volunteering and internships.

"All activities are student-driven, so they get leadership skills in planning events, fundraising, making brochures and getting guest speakers," said O'Donnell.

"It is a big commitment, and students have to want to do it. (They) don't just come in and sit in class; they do everything," she said.

Senior art history major Lauren Meyers currently has an internship at the Orange Show Foundation, a local non-profit organization that promotes folk art. She
said the humanics program has given her leadership skills and an opportunity for community involvement.

"Being a part of AH has given me a more specific direction professionally," she said.

Psychology junior Kayla George said the program helped her learn she is a leader.

"AH has given me the necessary skills to be able to create, manage and evaluate a non-profit business," she said. "Most importantly, it has helped me to
establish my self-confidence."

UH alumna Jennifer Battle, development coordinator for Crisis Intervention of Houston, Inc., is a former participant in the program.

"Being in AH definitely gives you a heads-up because of the experiences," she said. "You've done the internship, you've done the volunteering, and had the
opportunity to learn in such a supportive environment."

O'Donnell said the UH program has 100 alumni. Thirty-five percent of students participating in the program later enter into a graduate program, 22 percent
earn a master's degree in social work and 60 percent go on to employment in the non-profit or public sectors, she said.

The UH American Humanics program began in August 1993, and has been a model program since 1995, O'Donnell said. There are 85 such programs across the
nation and seven in Texas, she said.

Students interested in the program can contact O'Donnell at (713) 743-8137. The program will have an open house meeting in February.

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