Linda Leibowitz, is the associate director of the Graduate Program in Mental Health at UPenn and lifelong Philadelphian. Prior to her appointment to the faculty of the Graduate School of Education at UPenn, Ms. Leibowitz was a teacher for 35 years, senior career teacher, and school counselor in the School District of Philadelphia.

(Photo Courtesy of Linda Leibowitz)

(Photo Courtesy of Linda Leibowitz)

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What sort of education is needed to successfully do your job?

“The path to my current position as the associate director of the School and Mental Health Counseling Program at the University of Pennsylvania began in 1968 when I attended Temple University. (I’m a lifelong Philadelphian and went from Pre K-12 at Friends’ Select School in Center City). As an undergraduate, I majored in Elementary Education with the goal of becoming a school teacher. I earned my B.S. in Education in 1972 after completing a student teaching field experience in the inner city of North Philadelphia. Upon graduation, I got a job as a 1st grade teacher in Philadelphia and began to take continuing education credits at St. Joseph’s University for my Pennsylvania School counselor certification.”

What is the most relevant aspect of your education that applies to your day-to-day job?

“The most relevant aspect of my education is the application of theory to practice. Counseling is a field where the fundamentals of the required educational content areas are essential, but without the field experience to translate the theory into practice, the new counselors would be less than prepared to do the job. As one of the Penn counseling field placement coordinators, I work hard along with my students to find field site placements that really meet their interests and will offer them the experiences they need to do the job in the real world.”

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What is the most fun aspect of your job?

“I love teaching and advising. I teach the Internship I and II courses for the year 2 students. I love bringing the realities of the day-to-day job of a school and mental health counselor to the classroom. My 35 years of experience allow me to bring real cases and issues for my students to explore and then take this knowledge to their internship sites for ‘practice.’ Also, as the associate director, I have many administrative and organizational responsibilities. But, what I also really enjoy is working individually with my students as an advisor and university site supervisor. I love being a part of their professional journal and am so fortunate to have on-going relationships with my students long after they graduate.”

What advice would you give someone just starting out in the field of technology?

“The world of technology grew over the course of my career. I began my education writing papers on a typewriter and I continued to learn how to include the use of technology in my own learning and my teaching. Although this has been a challenging transition for me, I am working hard to implement and use technology in all aspects of my job and teaching.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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