Celebrating CEHSP Seniors

May 3, 2021

As the academic year comes to a close, seniors from each department in the College of Education and Human Service Professions share their experiences and insight.

Clayton Gallus.jpg

Clayton Gallus

Department: Applied Human Sciences
Major: Physical Education Teacher Education
Minor: Outdoor Education
Hometown: Becker, MN

What is your advice to incoming students?  

You are your best academic advisor. Take your time to understand the degree you are going for and you will get yourself through college in an efficient time.

What has been your most meaningful experience at UMD? 

It was to be selected as the Physical Education Student of the Year for the 2020-2021 school year. It meant a lot to me since it was voted on by the faculty and staff I have had throughout my 3 years at UMD. It lets me know that I have made a positive lasting impression to the people around me. 

When you look back on your college experience, what will you remember most?  

The relationships I made with the students and faculty here at UMD. Within my time at UMD, I have made plenty of strong relationships that will last a lifetime. I can look back right now and say to myself that I am glad I transferred to UMD because I met so many inspiring, hardworking, and comforting people throughout my last three years of my college career. 

What are your plans after graduation?  

My plans after graduation are to become a physical education teacher and incorporate outdoor/adventure activities into my curriculum. Also, I see myself coaching either basketball or baseball during the school year, and over the summer doing some backcountry guiding.

What are your ultimate career or life goals?  

My ultimate goal in life is to pass down my knowledge to the next generation to better themselves. My life will always consist of teaching others, but it may not always be in a school setting. The most memorable learning experiences are through hands-on experiences in an unfamiliar setting. The more I can get people into that environment to learn, the better off I will be in reaching my goal.


Gabriella Emme smiling, holding a clarinet

Gabriella Emme

Department: Communication Sciences & Disorders
Majors: Communication Sciences & Disorders and Music
Hometown: Hermantown, MN

What is your advice to incoming students?

My advice to incoming students is to stay involved in the activities that you enjoy. You will meet some of your closest friends through these activities. Whether you're looking for ensembles, intramural/club sports, or clubs related to your interests, you can be sure to find them at UMD.

What has been your most meaningful experience at UMD?

My most meaningful experience at UMD was performing my senior clarinet recital this spring. I was able to show my current professors in both the music and CSD departments, my friends, and my past directors what I worked on over the past four years.

When you look back on your college experience, what will you remember most?

When I look back at my college experience, I will remember all of the wonderful professors that I met and friends that I have made.

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be attending the University of South Dakota for my four-year doctorate of audiology in the fall.

What are your ultimate career or life goals?

My career and life goals are to work as an audiologist and continue to be involved in music by playing clarinet during graduate school and beyond.


Ashley Miller, outside in front of an evergreen tree, smiling

Ashley Miller

Department: Education
Major: Teaching Mathematics
Minor: Mathematics
Hometown: Paynesville, MN

What is your advice to incoming students?

If you are ever stuck, reach out to someone. There are so many people on campus whose main job is to be there for us and support us, so definitely take advantage of that. If you are having housing issues, reach out to your RA or other housing staff. If you are having academic issues, reach out to your advisor. If you are having physical or emotional health issues, reach out to the Health Services staff.

I also recommend getting involved or getting out to do fun activities. There are so many great programs, activities, and clubs on campus that there's something for everyone! If you are bored and looking for activities to do on campus, check out Kirby Program Board and RSOP—the staff in both areas are so great and helpful!

What has been your most meaningful experience at UMD?

Coming to UMD was a huge life change for me—coming from such a small school with so many friends and going to a much larger school where I hardly knew anyone. One of the most meaningful experiences was being welcomed at UMD with open arms and the friendships and relationships I built with those people who welcomed me. Between my friends, roommates, classmates, and coworkers, I was always surrounded by people who cared about and supported me throughout my college experience. I never felt alone at UMD, which helped me to become more comfortable and confident in this new environment.

When you look back on your college experience, what will you remember most?

Looking back at my time in UMD, one of the things I will remember the most are the professors I had that supported me and helped me grow in my teaching career. I am so thankful for the ones that pushed me to be the best teacher I can be and taught me many of the philosophies and mindsets I plan to carry over into my own classroom after graduation.

What are your plans after graduation?

My plan for after graduation is to find a job teaching mathematics to either middle school or high school students. As of right now, I have opportunities at schools throughout the country, but I am still trying to decide which path is the right path for me right now.

What are your ultimate career or life goals?

One of my ultimate career goals is to build my experience teaching for a couple of years before I possibly go back to get my master's degree. Eventually, I would like to find a school district to settle into and one day maybe start a family of my own.


Naseem Farahid, smiling with Bulldog logo on wall behind him

Naseem Farahid

Department: Psychology
Major: Psychology (Clinical Counseling Track)
Hometown: Was born and grew up in Amman, Jordan. Moved to Minneapolis, MN at age 17.

What is your advice to incoming students?

I have worked in Admissions for the past three years and have spoken to hundreds if not thousands of students—I have five important pieces of advice:

First, take your time—don't feel rushed to immediately commit to a major and force yourself to love it, because you might hate it and end up cramming a major you really want in two years or going over the 4 years—utilize your liberal education class, talk with professors and people outside of your major and explore your interests (this is coming from someone who had four different majors, and three different minors and is graduating with 4 years—shout-out to MaryLynn Garro in CEHSP advising for helping me graduate in 4 years).

Second, don't be afraid to jump on any opportunities that come your way, see a job on campus, a club that looks cool, or even a research opportunity that sounds interesting—jump on it, you will only truly regret NOT doing something as opposed to doing something—even if you don't think you might be fully qualified, you can supplement that with hard work and diligence.

Third, be authentic, don't try to be someone you aren't—if you are goofy, be goofy, if you are more serious that is A-okay! Those authentic characteristics of yourself are what make YOU shine above others, this has helped me in academia, networking, and my personal life, in the jobs that I have, and also applying to jobs post-graduation (I learned this when I was a RockStar during Welcome Week summer of 2018 "Be your genuine, authentic, and unapologetic self").

Fourth, something I learned in Admissions, be adaptable—you don't know what opportunities or obstacles will come your way, it will make your life easier by being more flexible, and people will 1000% notice your adaptability and appreciate it (and want it on their team).

Last but not least by any means, be kind to yourself, your GPA is important, but not at the cost of your mental health. We all really want that A in our classes, but sometimes it's okay to take the losses so you can focus on yourself and things that you can control and get those wins in your corner—in the words of Dr. Marsha Linehan (creator of dialectical behavioral therapy) you are doing the best that you can with what you have got and no one can ask you for more. [Long winded, but something I wish someone told me coming into college]

What has been your most meaningful experience at UMD?

I have had three really meaningful and impactful experiences, being a research assistant under Dr. Catherine Reich, I learned so much from her and I respect her so much—I am very critical of myself and always want to do more and fill my plate beyond what I can handle, and she was really great at putting things into perspective and showing me the value of my accomplishments. Her mentorship is invaluable to me.

Second, taking classes with Dr. Jacki Buffington—her classes opened my eyes to so many issues we have in our mental health system that enraged me and gave me the passion and drive to want to create change in a system that has been relatively unchanged (some would argue a bit worse) over the course of 200 years. Especially with the treatment of individuals with severe mental illness and trauma.

Last, but not least—the friendships I have forged over the past four years, I have gotten to know so many people, and being able to laugh, vent, and work with some of them has been one of the best times I have had.

When you look back on your college experience, what will you remember most?

I will definitely remember my work and research experiences—all of those opportunities have given me so many important skills and life lessons that I take with me every day.

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be working at Northwood Children's Services as a counselor in their residential treatment facility! I am really excited for it :)

What are your ultimate career or life goals?

I would like to get a Ph.D. in clinical counseling psychology focusing on children and adolescents in the areas of trauma and severe mental illness. I would also like to pursue some program in policymaking, community psychology, or something along those lines to help me address institutional failures within our mental health system to provide better services to our mentally ill. I am not sure which setting I am seeing myself in, but I am ready and willing to be adaptable to whatever comes my way!


Colton Brinker, smiling with white wall background

Colton Brinker

Department: Social Work
Major: Social Work 
Minor: American Indian Studies
Hometown: Lena, Illinois

What is your advice to incoming students?

Push through the struggles. They’ll make you stronger.

What has been your most meaningful experience at UMD?

My most meaningful experience at UMD was having supportive professors that motivated me to overcome obstacles and allowed me to get to where I am today.

When you look back on your college experience, what will you remember most?

I’ll remember most the time I spend in classrooms learning alongside my cohort and building the skillset for a career that I care so deeply about.

What are your plans after graduation?

I was accepted to Augsburg in Minneapolis for their Master of Social Work program with an emphasis on macro practice.

What are your ultimate career or life goals?

One of my ultimate goals is to develop a nonprofit aimed at supporting the needs of LGBTQ individuals.


Jayna Brown is a UMD student who is majoring in Integrated Elementary and Special Education. She works with Lissa Maki as a communications assistant in the College of Education and Human Service Professions.