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Emma Horton

2385

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

Bio

I am a rural, American woman living in Montana and pursuing my Masters in Social Work at Columbia University with a focus in Clinical Mental Health and School Systems. My previous career was in environmental conservation with Trout Unlimited and American Rivers. I was an AmeriCorps member in 2013, completing my full term working in education and conservation in Montana. I graduated Cum Laude from St. Lawrence University in 2012 and am thrilled to be returning as a non-traditional student to pursue my graduate degree. I volunteer for my local food bank and farms to help combat food insecurity. I am also an avid knitter and ultra runner, competing in ultra marathons. I have also worked as a waitress, barista and house-keeper. I am as proud of these jobs as I am of my professional careers. The work-ethic, relationships, and nuanced perspectives of our world are something I would never trade. I have met some of the most brilliant, profound people through the service industry and I am proud to have worked and learned alongside them. Now, I am excited to pursue my passion in a career as a Social Worker in rural America. I intend to work in schools and universities with adolescents and young adults to promote diversity, empathy, and mental well-being in rural communities. I currently work at the Southern Utah University counseling center and it has revealed how much adolescents and young adults need increased access to mental health care. In my future career, I am excited to create dynamic group and individual therapy programs to support the next generation.

Education

Columbia University in the City of New York

Master's degree program
2021 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Social Work
  • Minors:
    • Science, Technology and Society

Lawrence University

Bachelor's degree program
2008 - 2012
  • Majors:
    • Environmental/Natural Resources Management and Policy
    • Anthropology
  • Minors:
    • African Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mental Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      Social Worker

    • Intern

      Southern Utah University
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Waitress

      2016 – Present8 years
    • Housekeeper

      2014 – 20151 year
    • Social Media Manager

      American Rivers
      2014 – 20151 year
    • Service Member

      Americorps
      2013 – 20141 year

    Sports

    Ultra Running

    2014 – Present10 years

    Awards

    • 4 top 3 finishes, including 3 gold medals

    Nordic Skiing

    Varsity
    2006 – 20104 years

    Awards

    • state championships

    Research

    • Natural Resources Conservation and Research

      Paul Smiths University — Data collection manager
      2012 – 2013
    • Sub Saharan African Cultural Research

      Saint Lawrence University — Data compilation, entry, and evaluation
      2010 – 2012

    Arts

    • Knitting
      2020 – Present
    • Saint Lawrence University

      Drawing
      2008 – 2012

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Gallatin Valley Food Bank — Volunteer
      2018 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship
    My name is Emma, and I am pursuing my graduate degree in clinical social work so that I can serve the mental well-being of others, particularly young adults, through my career. I believe supporting mental health in young adults has the potential to reverberate beyond the therapeutic impacts on the individual. As younger individuals carry their skills, strengths, and self-compassion onto others, it creates a ripple effect of growth opportunities. My interest in this potential led me to pursue a future career that will specifically work with adolescents and young/emerging adults, particularly those in the LGBTQ+ community. I am most interested in working with the population in the not-for-profit sector so I may best serve individuals regardless of their income and ability to pay for mental healthcare. I greatly enjoyed working with the young adult population throughout my education at Columbia School of Social Work and I feel deep compassion for such notoriously difficult ages, during which I once struggled as well. I believe the power behind social work is that our impacts on individuals can eventually affect the local and global communities in which we live. This core tenet of clinical social work inspires me. In my life, I have been lucky enough to see the impact of small acts on my development and ability to find meaning in my life. Eventually, I hope to create a space in my practice to provide teens and young adults with mental health care while engaging in communal storytelling using narrative therapy, drama therapy, and improv skills. Social work in clinical practice traditionally focuses on the individual and their close relationships, but I envision more work being done to support individuals' mental health and relationships with others. I dream of creating an opportunity to explore the multitude of identities within oneself in tandem with others in a dynamic and playful yet powerful way. My connection to the world of improv, drama, and narrative storytelling, has been a huge part of my personal growth. It is my avid hope that I may create opportunities in group narrative therapy for all income demographics from an array of identities and communities. My previous education in anthropology, my personal experience, and my self-awareness along with my exceptional education from Columbia and my field placements are the foundation from which I will build this practice that melds both new creative endeavors with clinically sound practice. I want to aid others in their journeys through a shared imperfect world by supporting the dignity and self-worth of individuals, and by helping rewrite the values of our society to foster justice. By creating the opportunity to explore the stories and journeys of my clients, I hope to ultimately impact the greater narrative within which we all exist. The financial support I am seeking would directly impact my ability to pursue this career initiative. I believe that fantasy, both as a genre and as an act of daydream, is not a luxury but a necessity as a tool for growing and nurturing hope. I hope my future work can reflect this belief because, within my own story, my greatest hope is not simply for myself and my dreams, but for the hard-won dreams of others.
    Hobbies Matter
    When I first learned to knit it was anticlimactic. The resulting scarf, made of pale yellow and dark red scraps of yarn was uneven, itchy, and awkwardly short. It was not a good scarf, and when you think about the requirements of what a good scarf is, it really says something for how fall short my project had fallen. I did not knit again for years. I picked up the hobby again in college. One of the directors of the Environmental Science department was passionate about knitting and she managed to justify an entire class (with a 3-hour weekly lab) that was based around knitting. We explored knitting and its vast cultural history, seeing socks from the ancient Egyptians knit in an almost identical pattern to how I knit them today. We looked at the sheep, the goats, the rabbits, the silkworms, and their indoctrination into domesticity. That was where my love for knitting began. It no longer was a too short scarf. It was an ancestral connection. It was a practice of community; it was making a gift for yourself. As Stephanie Pearl-McPhee says, it was the act of taking a straight line and turning it into something three dimensional. Magic. Wizardry. In the ten years since I have graduated from my undergraduate education, I have knit countless hours. It has become an art, a solace, it has tied me to friends, it has tied me to myself. It is one of the slowest and most tedious practices. Often a garment looks like a rumpled shapeless ball for the months that it exists in its incubation and creation. I had a sweater that I started and only just finished the same month a year later. It is plain, gray, and tweedy. But the magic contained in the stitches fills me with such delight as I pull it on. There were thousands of road tripped miles this sweater joined me on. Camping in the back of trucks, in Montana mountains. It has desert dust in the fibers, and some rain from the Wyoming plains absorbed into the cuffs. It holds my life, and a life of its own. As I continue my graduate degree, now to become a therapist, to college age students like I once was. I remember the sensation of falling in love with creating my own life. How knitting was practice for that. The tedious moments make something beautiful, the ordinary is what ties us to our humanity, and our history. There is a liberation in being able to make for ourselves what we want. I learned that through knitting. I learned it when I needed it most and I have learned it over and over in my life. Nearly always with an unfinished piece of art and a pile of yarn by my side.
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    Professor Pomponio had a reputation. Her classes were rigorous, and her energy was intense. As a student, I was equally with reputation, governed by a highly distractible character, compounded by a mindset that assignments were arbitrary. When I handed-in my first exam, I knew I had aced it. So, when she returned it with a 1.0 and a note to visit her office, I was incensed. Ten years later I still remember staring at the book-lined walls, hiding my anxiety. “Emma, did you study for this exam?” I shook my head. “Have you ever studied?” I replied I never needed to. She nodded, “Emma, you got every answer correct, but I know you didn’t study. And there will come a time in your life when you will have to understand something that doesn’t come easily to you, and you'll wish you learned how to study for it.” She stared intently, “School is easy for you, but life is harder than school. The answers won’t always come easy, this is your opportunity to learn how you will handle that.” That semester, I studied for every exam. I received the highest grade in the class. That year, she was diagnosed with brain cancer and continued to teach throughout her battle. The intensity of the standards that she held for others where never higher than the ones she held for herself. She passed away right before my graduation. She was right, of course. Life is harder than any class. Doing the right thing, deciding where I want my life to go. Deciding how I want to impact the world. It has been a practice-- a study. I finally learned how to work hard for small things, so that now I am ready to work hard for the most important moments of my life.
    Bold Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    The most practical solution I have come up with for helping those struggling with mental health, is to do the small part I can as an individual. That is the reason that I am in school now for my Masters in Social Work at Columbia University. I am from a rural community and I know my future lies in rural places too. I have always loved small town America, small town everywhere. It speaks to my personal roots, and it speaks to my heart. However, Montana, the place I call home, has the highest suicide rate in the country. Closely behind are other rural states, Alaska, Utah, Idaho, the Dakotas. These places need mental healthcare access- especially for young adults. I believe in a world where rural America can be home to diverse, liberated, and compassionate people. The lack of compassion, empathy, and the obvious fear and distrust that are now almost iconic traits of rural communities come at the expense of social welfare of people in urban communities. But these traits plague and decimate the health and liberation of the people within rural communities too. Violence inflicted on others denotes a deep seated violence inflicted on oneself. I hope that by becoming a social worker and working with low income, rural adolescents and young adults I can help revive the places that shaped me into who I am today. The places that I loved, but also that kept me trapped for so many years. The places that suffocated me, until I found my own therapist and began my own mental health journey. The most practical way to heal people, is to heal the people closest to you. I aim to do just that.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    I am the first person in my entire family to have ever received mental healthcare. The profound stigma against mental healthcare was so overbearing, oppressive that none of my family members, even in their darkest, most lonely times could find the empowerment or conviction to pursue it. They called it a weakness, an indication of failing as an individual. But even with such overwhelming shame attached to therapy and mental healthcare, confronting the criticism of my family was perhaps the least difficult part of my mental health journey. The most visible indication of my internal conflict was in my eating disorder. The shrinking of my body to account for the shrinking world and experience that I was able to cope with. I grew up in an immensely poor and rural community and from a young age I was isolated, unpopular, too odd to fit into a community that was already relegated to the outskirts of society. It had no place for a child who was interested in different places or experiences. In places like this, people band together tightly, almost suffocating. And they band together young. As a girl who loved reading and school, whose parents had only lived in town for 20 years and so were considered ‘newcomers’, I was not considered a good candidate for friendship, for invitation to birthday parties or sleepovers. While the benefit of an early onset of social isolation gave the experience some sense of normalcy, it was still heartbreaking. To an eight-year-old child, being excluded is the greatest form of punishment and I was too young and too naïve to understand that I was excluded because I did not fit the social narrative that had been enforced in my community for decades. It felt personal, not just to me, but also to my peers, I was doing something wrong and none of us could overcome that offense. There is a sort of bravado that I see now in the small Montana town where I live that exactly mirrors what I witnessed in my hometown of 800 in New Hampshire. Despite being thousands of miles apart from each other, each place has adopted the identity that was cast on them as a stigma and has turned it into something that we all follow in unspoken acquiescence. Small town pride. There is something gut-wrenching to me now about it, because there is a sadness in it that I was never able to comprehend until years of therapy gave me better eyes to see what before had been a violent sea above which I needed to keep my head for mere survival. Eating disorders are a symptom of deep, underlying trauma, as diverse as the individuals who are affected by them. I will never forget, in one of my group therapy sessions, our therapist asked us what it feels like to not engage in disordered behaviors. And the girl next to me, immediately responded: “I want to peel my head like it’s an orange.” Her tone, deadpan, like it was the deepest truth held within her, struck me like a physical blow. It is one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. Because, for as horrifying as it was, it was equally relatable. I had always felt like my eating disorder, which reached its fullest form during my adolescence and early twenties, was like wearing the wrong size shoes every waking moment, a deep and unbearable ache that I could not feel the beginning or end of. Until finally what made the most sense was to carve away at my own flesh to ease the pain. The world around me felt wrong, the only thing I could cut away were parts of myself. A desperate act, but there felt like there were no choices left. Small town America didn’t fit me. Or so I was told, and so I believed, for two decades of my life. I thought nowhere could hold me. Nowhere could handle an outspoken and independent woman who was angry about being told she was trash because of the hometown she came from, even though that town didn’t even want to take ownership of her. It is many years of therapy later that I see how much my own story has in common with the story of rural American towns. Now, as a thirty-year-old woman I look at my hometown, smaller and poorer than ever before, I look at the suicide rates, the addiction, I see the small-town pride, but I feel where it cuts into its own people instead of supporting them. Something that was once well intentioned, becoming a vine that strangles the new growth and potential of the living being itself. There was no space for me, but there is no space for so many people. There are unfulfilled dreams, there are love stories that will never be written, passions that remain unignited. People conducting amputations of parts of themselves because the world does not seem ready or able to hold them. It rends my heart. Despite my pain that occurred in my hometown, and the ongoing recovery that I must continue to pursue, likely for the rest of my life, I have a desire to tend to this plight of rural America. The need for mental health care and social work in these towns and regions is immeasurable. It is the number one reason that I have decided to pursue my Masters in Social work at Columbia University. My ultimate goal is to work in low income and rural communities in school systems to try and create more opportunity and access to mental health care and support in young adults and adolescents. I want to create space so that they may find their way and lead authentic and fulfilling lives, and subsequently they can create more diverse, more empathetic and expansive communities in small-town America.
    Susy Ruiz Superhero Scholarship
    Dr. Pomponio had a reputation as a professor. Her classes were rigorous and her teaching style could politely be described as intense, though many students used less flattering terms. She was a polarizing figure among students; I imagine she might have been among faculty as well. She was from Long Island and her speaking volume and intensity didn’t let you forget it. My first class with Dr. Pomponio was in my junior year. I had heard the rumors about how hard her classes were, but I was wholly unintimidated, as only a 19-year-old, who hasn’t discovered how little they actually know, can be. While I had not earned impeccable grades throughout high school or college, it was not a result of not understanding material. Instead, I was governed by a highly distractable character, compounded with a mindset that as long as I learned the material it didn’t matter how well I completed arbitrary homework and assignments. When I handed in my first exam for Dr. Pomponio, I knew I had aced it. So, when she handed it back to me a week later, graded with a 1.0 and a note to visit her office, I was livid. It was years ago now, but I still remember vividly sitting and staring at all the books lined along the walls, trying not to show my anxiety. I stoically faced my professor who had approximately the same reputation as the witch of the west in Oz. “Emma, did you study for this exam?” she asked. I just shook my head in response, “And have you ever studied for an exam?” “Well, I don’t typically need to, I consider going to class studying.” She nodded, paused. “Emma, you got every answer right on this, but I know you didn’t study for it. There will come a time in your life when you will have to understand something that doesn’t come easily to you, and you will wish you had learned how to study for it.” She looked at me over her wire-rimmed glasses, “School is easy for you, but life is harder than school. The answers won’t always come easy to you out in the world, this is your opportunity to learn how you will handle that time when it comes.” Her words resonated within me. I studied for every exam after that. I got the highest grade in the class. My senior year, Dr. Pomponio was diagnosed with brain cancer. She continued to teach throughout her battle with the tumors in her brain, fitting classes in between chemo and surgery. She taught even when she lost the ability to speak and resorted to writing everything on the board. Her passion and drive to teach is unparalleled by anyone I have ever met. The intensity of the standards that she held for others where never higher than the ones she held for herself. She passed away right before my graduation. In the nine years since I graduated, I think about the gift that Dr. Pomponio gave me. Everything she told me was true, life is much harder than any university class. Doing the right thing, overcoming my inherent biases and small-minded perspectives, deciding where I want my life to go. Deciding how I want to impact the lives of others. These have been the hardest things I’ve ever tried to learn and master. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Alli Pomponio, who gave me the gift of learning to work hard for small things, so that I could be ready to work hard for the most important moments of my life.
    Bervell Health Equity Scholarship
    I was born and raised in a poor, rural town of 800. My first career after obtaining my undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology and environmental studies was in environmental conservation. For several years, I worked for non-profit conservation organizations in Montana. While I continue to feel passionate about environmentalism, I became aware that conservation work frequently lacks nuance and complexity in communicating with rural people. This is where I began to consider that mental health could be an integral piece to the puzzle that I was trying to assemble to establish strong bonds between people, their ecological environment, and each other. In general, rural healthcare access is abysmal, rural mental healthcare even more so. As I have become more educated about the agents of systemic racism, oppression, and elitism in our society, I have seen how few people receive the opportunity and respect they deserve. This is vividly apparent in the disparity of opportunity afforded to Indigenous people. When I discuss rural American opportunity, First Nations are included and their individual and personal experiences are made infinitely more complex in the wake of the generational trauma inflicted upon them. It is the task of white Americans and predominantly white rural communities to rework the way BIPOC Americans are valued in our society, particularly in the states where most indigenous people reside. Montanans' rates of poverty, addiction, and suicide (the highest in the nation) are alarming. The rates of racism, misogyny, and homophobia equally so. In complete juxtaposition with these insidious facts, there is a softness here too. I have to believe that this softness is the truth of rural America and that the rest is a cancer to overcome. The way a rancher holds a newborn calf. The love of neighbors who have lived next to each other for generations. The rednecks who believe in and vote for human rights and empowerment. The stoic appreciation of sunsets and night skies and mountain ranges. There is beauty in these places, but I fear the mental health crisis of people in small towns could be their undoing. I am hopeful of the change I can create as a social worker because my own mental healthcare journey has been a gateway to a life of greater empathy, compassion, and understanding for myself and for others. Expanding rural America’s capacity for diversity, empathy, and compassion is one of the most critical revolutions we can foster within our nation. My own experience from receiving mental healthcare, to my rural upbringing, and the transformation required to unlearn ingrained hatred of other people and myself have all equipped me with the skills and tenacity to pursue this work. Everyone is deserving of equal opportunity to healthcare. As a white woman from a rural town, I think my most meaningful work can be done in the communities I am from, to do my part to transform rural America to reach its potential as a compassionate, diverse, and empowering society and culture, that allows its inhabitants to thrive.
    A Sani Life Scholarship
    It is fitting that I got my graduate school acceptance to Columbia University School of Social Work while I was working. Waiting at the bar for my drinks for table 86: two beers and a glass of house red. I knew it was ill-advised to read the email while I was on shift, but I had convinced myself I was probably not getting in and I’d been feeling sick about it all week anyways. And so, I opened the email. 2020 has defied definition for everyone. It has been devastating to witness the spectrum of what a year can change. The spectrum of how, for some people, life could stay mostly the same in the wake of a pandemic, turbulent election and the uprising against racism in America, and how for others the entire Jenga tower could fall apart, leaving nothing as it was. I saw a friend lose his mother. I saw my rural state of Montana vote for the most conservative and poisonous state and federal government I’ve ever seen. I saw friends lose jobs. Witnessed people killed for the color of their skin and the racism that runs our nation’s veins. I felt things change for myself too. I have been a waitress for seven years now. Not because I always dreamed of being a waitress, but at the time it was my ticket to financial liberation, and it was a ticket to a life I loved. I wanted something more for myself, but how to attain it felt far-fetched and frightening. But this year I couldn’t stop thinking about the privilege I had to withstand the events that ruined the lives of so many. There’s a poetry in the act of waiting tables. We are all waiting. Not just servers at restaurants, but all people. I think servers live in that space the most, or they move within it maybe. We watch other people wait, expectantly, for whatever it is they want to arrive, and we stand there waiting to deliver it to them. And nearly all servers are waiting for something else too. Standing at the bar waiting for drinks, waiting for their acceptance letter. Waiting on buying a house, or starting a family, or waiting on any excuse to try and get out of the hell hole that can be the service industry. Waiting for the right time, the right love, the right life, to show up. Since I became a waitress, I have been waiting for the right time to do the thing that really called to me: serving rural communities in mental healthcare. This year made me realize just how much mental health care is necessary for our rural communities. The hatred and misunderstanding perpetuated through the culture and communities where I was raised is impossible to ignore. The rates of addiction and suicide in Montana, and many other states similar to it, are alarming. The rates of racism, misogyny, and homophobia are equally so. But there is a soft side to these places too, and I think- have to believe- that this softness is the truth of rural America, and the rest is a cancer to overcome. The way a rancher holds a newborn calf. The love of neighbors who have lived next to each other for generations. The appreciation of sunsets and night skies and mountain ranges. There is beauty in these places and in the wake of 2020, I realized the mental health crisis of people in small towns could be the undoing of them. I am from rural America, and my own mental health journey has been a gateway to a life of greater empathy, compassion, and understanding for myself and for others. I want to be more than a waitress in these places. I want to foster what I believe rural, American communities can be, and that will only come from serving them more than burgers and beers. I thought my desire to work in mental health would fade over time, that the calling would grow quiet. That if I took long enough, I could avoid the insecurity of changing what I was doing to pursue something new. It did not work. 2020 shed light on my most important truth: I am tired of waiting.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    I am the first person in my entire family to have ever received mental healthcare. The profound stigma against mental healthcare was so overbearing, oppressive that none of my family members, even in their darkest, most lonely times could find the empowerment or conviction to pursue it. They called it a weakness, an indication of failing as an individual. But even with such overwhelming shame attached to therapy and mental healthcare, confronting the criticism of my family was perhaps the least difficult part of my mental health journey. The most visible indication of my internal conflict was in my eating disorder. The shrinking of my body to account for the shrinking world and experience that I was able to cope with. I grew up in an immensely poor and rural community and from a young age I was isolated, unpopular, too odd to fit into a community that was already relegated to the outskirts of society. It had no place for a child who was interested in different places or experiences. In places like this, people band together tightly, almost suffocatingly. And they band together young. As a girl who loved reading and school, whose parents had only lived in town for 20 years and so were considered ‘newcomers’, I was not considered a good candidate for friendship, for invitation to birthday parties or sleepovers. While the benefit of an early onset of social isolation gave the experience some sense of normalcy, it was still heartbreaking. To an eight-year-old child, being excluded is the greatest form of punishment and I was too young and too naïve to understand that I was excluded because I did not fit the social narrative that had been enforced in my community for decades. It felt personal, not just to me, but also to my peers, I was doing something wrong and none of us could overcome that offense. There is a sort of bravado that I see now in the small Montana town where I live that exactly mirrors what I witnessed in my hometown of 800 in New Hampshire. Despite being thousands of miles apart from each other, each place has adopted the identity that was cast on them as a stigma and has turned it into something that we all follow in unspoken acquiescence. Small town pride. There is something gut-wrenching to me now about it, because there is a sadness in it that I was never able to comprehend until years of therapy gave me better eyes to see what before had been a violent sea above which I needed to keep my head for mere survival. Eating disorders are a symptom of deep, underlying trauma, as diverse as the individuals who are affected by them. I will never forget, in one of my group therapy sessions, our therapist asked us what it feels like to not engage in disordered behaviors. And the girl next to me, immediately responded: “I want to peel my head like it’s an orange.” The tone she held, the way she said it, deadpan, like it was the deepest truth held within her, struck me like a physical blow. It is one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. Because, for as horrifying as it was, it was equally relatable. I had always felt like my eating disorder, which reached its fullest form during my adolescence and early twenties, was like wearing the wrong size shoes every waking moment, a deep and unbearable ache that I could not feel the beginning or end of. Until finally what made the most sense was to carve away at my own flesh to ease the pain. The world around me felt wrong, the only thing I could cut away were parts of myself. A desperate act, but there felt like there were no choices left. Small town America didn’t fit me. Or so I was told, and so I believed, for two decades of my life. I thought nowhere could hold me. Nowhere could handle an outspoken and independent woman who was angry about being told she was trash because of the hometown she came from, even though that town didn’t even want to take ownership of her. It is many years of therapy later that I see how much my own story has in common with the story of rural American towns. Now, as a thirty-year-old woman I look at my hometown, smaller and poorer than ever before, I look at the suicide rates, the addiction, I see the small-town pride, but I feel where it cuts into its own people instead of supporting them. Something that was once well intentioned, becoming a vine that strangles the new growth and potential of the living being itself. There was no space for me, but there is no space for so many people. There are unfulfilled dreams, there are love stories that will never be written, passions that remain unignited. People conducting amputations of parts of themselves because the world does not seem ready or able to hold them. It rends my heart. Despite my pain that occurred in my hometown, and the ongoing recovery that I must continue to pursue, likely for the rest of my life, I have a desire to tend to this plight of rural America. The need for mental health care and social work in these towns and regions is immeasurable. It is the number one reason that I have decided to pursue my Masters in Social work at Columbia University. My ultimate goal is to work in low income and rural communities in school systems to try and create more opportunity and access to mental health care and support in young adults and adolescents. I want to create space so that they may find their way and lead authentic and fulfilling lives, and subsequently they can create more diverse, more empathetic and expansive communities in small-town America.