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Learning Center Experience
Donnellan contributed this month’s article titled the “2-1-1 Initiative,” a
human services hotline that provides crisis intervention and community
referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
She discusses how
important this initiative is and how it can save many lives. When Professor
Donnellan was working as a substance abuse and rape counselor, clients came to
her in dire need outside of business hours. It was a challenging situation to try
to find them shelter and get them the help they needed. She encourages her
working students to explore the national 2-1-1
line to learn more.
has been teaching psychology at Kaplan University for a decade. Her education and experience is
vast and interesting, as she chose to follow her heart and pursue a
professional path to help others in need.
From a very early age,
Professor Donnellan saw firsthand the struggles of people in need. Her father
was the chief of psychiatry at
a local hospital while he taught medical school at Georgetown University. His
daughter was allowed to occasionally tag along. “My neatest memories are when
we had our restaurant dinners interrupted by former patients who saw my father and
could not help themselves but to thank him for his influence in their lives,”
Professor Donnellan said. “Those words from his patients meant so much to him. That
inspired me to be kind to others and to learn as much as I could about the
field so that I could be as impactful and make a difference—just like my dad.”
After obtaining her
master’s degree, Professor Donnellan taught elementary, junior, and high
school, working as a school counselor and starting a part-time private practice
as a licensed therapist. She came across a reoccurring theme: she learned how kids
experienced trauma but she didn’t truly understand trauma. To
gain more hands-on experience, Professor Donnellan left her good-paying
position to work as a rape and substance abuse counselor.
The 3 years that she
spent in this crisis role shaped the rest of her professional career. “I
learned so much in the time that I spent with these women and families,”
Professor Donnellan said. “It was grueling, tough work, about 80 hours a week. But
I gained the knowledge and the empathy that enabled me to become a
compassionate professional who now can really understand the effects of trauma
and how to help treat it. That is how I know firsthand how critically
important this 2-1-1 initiative is, and I encourage my students to volunteer
and learn more about how they can help their community.”
Donnellan missed teaching, and was excited at the prospect of working at a
respected college and teaching online. “I can’t believe I have been with Kaplan
University for 10 years now!” Professor Donnellan says. “I love my job and I am
so inspired my students. I hope that I can mentor them throughout their psychology education and the career path they choose to follow.”
Professor Donnellan is
currently finishing her PhD in interdisciplinary studies. Her thesis and
research focuses on stress, trauma, treatment, and resilience. To read her
article on the 2-1-1 initiative, visit the Center for Public Service Articles and Publications section.
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