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ASC Alumni Stories

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August 22, 2019

Sociology alum Lori Kulas

"Learning about human development, factors that lead to human behaviors, actions and feelings, and how these influence interactions within the environment has been critical in helping me achieve success in my career."

Lori Kulas graduated with a degree in Sociology in 1998, and has been working in the field of substance abuse and mental health as a Chemical Dependency Tech.  Specifically, she has been a part of Miller Dwan and the Essentia Health system for 20 years and works at Amberwing Center for Youth and Family Well Being assisting in creating and implementing care plans for youth.

Most recently, her job entails teaching Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills and assisting in skill coaching clients when they are managing distressing situations. Additionally, she educates clients on co-occurring disorders, mental health disorders in combination with substance abuse; assists in assessing using the Rule 25 instrument to determine the appropriate level of care of clients with substance abuse issues.

Lori is active in the Men as Peacemakers Restorative Justice program for girls and has been involved with the implementation of direct services for sex trafficking victims in Duluth and the surrounding area.

 Lori says "My degree in sociology from UMD prepared me in many ways for the line of work I have graciously been allowed to do. First and foremost, I felt valued as a student within the sociology department. The availability of the professors was very important for me and I found them to be genuinely interested in what concerns or questions I had. The courses that prepared me most for my job were the Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods courses. Those courses taught me to analyze data and effectively interpret it for trends and patterns in society when it comes to substance abuse.   

The course in Social Psychology also made a huge impact on my readiness for this line of work. Learning about human development, factors that lead to human behaviors, actions and feelings, and how these influence interactions within the environment has been critical in helping me achieve success in my career. I am constantly aware of these connections when dealing with each individual and am able to implement meaningful relationships and care plans with clients and their families.

In addition, I also found the variety of options for field placement/internships to be exceptionally beneficial when exploring a career path. I was able to complete an internship in a setting that prepared me well for my specific career, working with adolescents who are struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse. "