Scholarship Helps Student Continue Youth Counseling 

Meredith Head, graduate student in the Educational Psychology program, was awarded this year’s Love Kindness scholarship.

Mike Robertson, donor, with Meredith Head.

Meredith Head has known what she wanted to do with her life since she was a teen.

“I think I’ve known I wanted to be a therapist since I was about 13 or 14. I’ve had friends who would tell me, ‘You should be a therapist; you’re so empathetic and understanding.’”

Head, a graduate student in the Educational Psychology program, was awarded this year’s Love Kindness scholarship. Mike Robertson, an ordained minister, established the scholarship in 2017 to as a way to support and honor those who were making a difference in the community.

Head’s focus is on clinical mental health counseling. She works with homeless and runaway youth at Pathfinders, where she will join the staff full time after she completes her master’s degree in the summer of 2021.

She earned her undergraduate degree at UW-Madison in psychology and women’s and gender studies.

She became interested in focusing on young adults while working at Rogers Behavioral Health in the residential adolescent mood disorders unit. ‘I always knew I wanted to work in mental health, and when I got the opportunity to work with teens, they were my favorite group to teach and do therapy with.”

However, she felt strongly about reaching out to those who weren’t able to afford therapy. That’s why she chose Pathfinders when she was deciding on the site to do her clinical experience at UWM.

“I sought out Pathfinders. It wasn’t on the list. I found them because I wanted to work with youth, LGBTQ-identifying youth, diverse youth. It was like a perfect fit for me.”
She saw a need that she felt called to fill, she added.

“There’s such a gap in support for these populations. Most of the youth I work with have never been able to see a therapist. There’s a lot of trauma they carry with them, not being able to go home at night, not being able to trust your family or your community.”

In addition to her academic work, Head does volunteer work. During her undergraduate years, she taught sexual health education with an organization called Sex Out Loud. At UWM, she taught a workshop about consent to a group of high school-age girls with Girl Power, which is part of BBYO, a Jewish teen movement.

Head said she is extremely grateful for the Love, Kindness scholarship, given the loans and financial burdens of graduate school.

“Even though I’m not in this field for the money, that scholarship has lifted a burden off my shoulders. I am able to serve the community without burning the candle at both ends. Earning the scholarship really meant a lot as well as honoring my interest in love and kindness.”

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