6Q&A (Print Only)

Liz Pearson grew up in St. Paul, Minn. and graduated from St. Edward’s University in 2012 with an undergraduate degree in Criminology. She currently works with the Travis County Integral Care Unit focusing on support for children and their families.

What made St. Edward’s different from other schools you were looking at?

One thing I really liked about at St. Edward’s was the diversity that they have there. There is just all these different cultures and things that I have learned about, and I got to study more about it in my major and then in the extracurricular activities I participated in. I was part of the Multicultural Leadership Board (MLB) in Student Life and that is where I really got to meet a lot of different people from a lot of different walks of life. 

What impact did your degree and professors have on your plans after St. Edward’s?

One of my professors, he was a retired judge, he taught me a lot about the criminal justice system. I did not know that much going into the major and then I learned so much about the different areas that I could study and the different types of people I could work with – (Professor) Horton, he was the professor, and he had a huge impact on me … I did an internship for Child Protective Services in Minnesota, but I was involved in the internship class and was able to document every day, what I was doing and what impact I was making. It really paved the way for me to decide that I wanted to work with children and that I wanted to work more in social work.

What jobs have you had since graduation, and what has led you to the position you have now?

I first started out working in a couple of part time jobs working with kids and families. Then my first full time job out of St. Edward’s was a youth care worker at a children’s shelter. There I worked with a lot of different kids with a lot of different backgrounds and learned how to manage behaviors and work with other staffs. 

So then my current job is I work with children and families through Austin Travis County Integral Care. I am a case manager for kids and our families in the program called Y.E.S. (Youth Empowerment Services) waiver, which is services funded through the state. We work with ten to twelve different cases, and it is basically for kids with mental health issues that need extra services through the state and through the county … We also do family supports, we do some community living skills and support and I think that’s it.

Why social work?

What led me into social work was that I really wanted to help people. I learned that about myself at St. Edward’s. I wanted to be a part of something and feel like I am making a difference because I felt that there were a lot of people there whose goal it was to make a change, like the slogan says, and make a difference in someone’s life.

I work a lot with mental health and educating (patients) on what mental health is, because I think there is a lot of stigma associated with mental health, and I wish that more people could be educated on what it really means.