AH certifies grads for
By Audrey Akins
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 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
"Normally (they) are juniors looking for
something that will help them find jobs and build their résumés,"
O'Donnell said students can begin the program
whatever their current ranking, and some even begin as post-baccalaureate
Participants come from different majors
and ages, but share the common goal of helping others and making a difference
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,"
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
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,
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.